20 Brief & Essential Facts: Vikings-Colts

20 Brief & Essential Facts: Vikings-Colts

Each week, VikingsTerritory details 20 statistical or interesting facts about the upcoming Minnesota Vikings game. This week’s edition involves the Indianapolis Colts, who are four-point underdogs facing the Vikings in Week 15.

The game is on December 17th, 2022, at noon pm CST at U.S. Bank Stadium.

20 Brief & Essential Facts: Vikings-Colts

20 Brief & Essential Facts: Vikings-Colts
Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson rushes Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. © Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK.

1. The Colts rank 9th in defensive EPA/Play and 31st in offensive EPA/Play. They’re a one-sided group.

2. When Sunday’s game kicks off against the Colts, Danielle Hunter will have played more games (98) as a member of the Vikings than Robert Smith (98). Well, assuming Hunter plays — he’s questionable on the final injury report with a neck injury.

3. The Vikings defense plummeted at the beginning of the loss to the Dallas Cowboys and hasn’t really recovered:

Vikings Defense,
Per EPA/Play,
NFL Ranking:

Up until DAL Game = 13th
DAL Game and After = 26th

4. Through 13 games, the Vikings offensive line ranks 13th-best leaguewide per Pro Football Focus. The group fell three spots in PFF‘s rankings this week.

5. The Vikings can clinch the NFC North for the first time since 2017. And the achievement would mark Minnesota’s 21st division crown.

6. The Vikings have lost their last six games to the Colts and haven’t beaten them since Kevin O’Connell was in 6th grade.

7. In the last two meetings between MIN and IND, the Vikings decided to fire up their absolute worst game of the season (2016, 2020).

Nov 13, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Indianapolis Colts interim Head Coach Jeff Saturday. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.

8. Justin Jefferson is on pace for 1,962 receiving yards and 9 total touchdowns.

9. Minnesota has a > 99% chance of reaching the playoffs, per FiveThirtyEight. The Colts are at 3%.

10. If the playoffs started today, the Vikings would host the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium in the wildcard round. Tunneling down the stretch of the 2022 season, Minnesota will very likely face the Commanders, Giants, Lions, or Seahawks in Round 1 of the postseason — assuming the Vikings maintain hold of the No. 2 or 3 seed. The Vikings also play the Giants on Christmas Eve (in the regular season).

11. The Vikings winless streak against the Colts is the franchise’s [active] longest. Minnesota hasn’t defeated Indianapolis since 1997, and the next closest winless streak is against the Kansas City Chiefs, who the Vikings last beat in 2015.

12. The Vikings 403.6 yards per game allowed is the 20th-most by any team through 13 games played of a season in NFL history.

13. Per Power Ranking Gurus, the Vikings have the NFL’s second-easiest remaining schedule. Only the Kansas City Chiefs have an easier Week 15-18 docket.

14. While the Vikings defense has struggled mightily in the last month, these defensive statistical metrics have kept the group afloat in 2022:

🏈 6th in Fewest Penalties
🏈 7th in 4th Quarter Defensive EPA/Play
🏈 8th in Takeaways
🏈 10th in 4th Quarter Pts Allowed
🏈 15th in 3rd Down Conv %

The Vikings Have a 3-and-Out Problem
Sep 30, 2022; Thundridge, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

15. According to Pro Football Focus, the Vikings best player at the moment is Justin Jefferson, with a 90.5 grade. Until this week, the top dog was Christian Darrisaw.

16. Two former Vikings players are on the Colts active roster — Yannick Ngakoue and Ifeadi Odengibo.

17. Jeff Saturday played on nine Saturdays in his NFL career, and Saturday coaches this Saturday in Minneapolis. Saturday’s teams are 3-6 on Saturdays, and Saturday hasn’t been a part of a Saturday game since 2013. For Saturday, the drought ends Saturday. And, yes, we’re sorry for this one.

18. Opponents have collectively outscored the Vikings by one point through 14 weeks. The 2011 Giants are the only team in NFL history to have an upside-down point differential (-25) through 14 weeks and go on to win a Super Bowl in the same season.

19. The Colts own the NFL’s third-best defense per passing yards allowed.

20. The Vikings officially haven’t beaten a team by 17+ points in three years. The last time Minnesota notched a victory by more than 16 points was on December 15th, 2019, at the Los Angeles Chargers. The dearth is mind-boggling.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).