Confounding Purple Pulls out a Win Over the Lions

Vikings Territory Breakdown Podcast

Another Vikings game on Sunday and another head-scratcher for the Purple faithful. In Week 1, the Vikings outplayed the Green Bay Packers in every aspect of the game, and they followed that in Week 2 with an egg of epic proportion last Monday Night in Philadelphia. Both were quite unexpected given what we had known. And now, in Week 3, they confounded us again with an underwhelming win at home against the Detroit Lions. The Vikings came back from two double-digit leads in the game to ultimately beat the hapless Lions 28-24 on a last-minute touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to K.J. Osborn.

Watch: Confounding Purple Pulls out a Win Over the Lions

The Purple didn’t exactly deserve the win. Sure, they did some things we have talked about them doing for years of the Cousins era—namely, put together a last-minute drive for the win. (Kirk got it done.) They kept their opponent off the scoreboard in the fourth quarter (and right before half, for that matter) and the defense has now given up zero 4th quarter points this season. But they were still outplayed by the Lions for much of the game and only a frantic, late-game rally and some questionable moves by Lions’ head coach Dan Campbell changed their expected fortunes.

Cousins had another up and down game (more like down early and up late); Justin Jefferson was hard for Kirk to find open (three catches on six targets for 14 yards) as the Lions doubled him, leaving Cousins to find Osborn and Adam Thielen for the big plays. Dalvin Cook ran well and scored a touchdown, but then left the game with a shoulder injury before reaching the 100-yard rushing mark. And Irv Smith had another untimely drop this week while the two backup tight ends were making hay—more confusion.

The defense was gashed by the run for the second-straight week, and the secondary had trouble catching up to receivers in Ed Donatell’s “shell” coverage scheme. And speaking of schemes, the vaunted 3-4 defense that is new to Minnesota this season has left us wanting more. Edge rushers Danielle Hunter and Z’Darius Smith had three tackles apiece in the game and none of them included a sack of pocket passer Jared Goff. Hopefully, these are just growing pains with the system that will be remedied soon, as it is always getting late in an NFL season.

There are many questions to ask about this 2022 Minnesota Vikings team (such as why have we seen more of Josh Metellus with 11 tackles and a game-ending pick) than his first-round draft pick counterpart Lewis Cine. These questions and more will be asked of the Star Tribune’s Mark Craig by VT’s own Joe Oberle on this week’s Vikings Territory Breakdown podcast. The Vikings are heading to London next week to take on the New Orleans Saints and they will need to get things squared away before heading across the pond. Tune into the VT Breakdown and check out what we think might happen in that one.

Listen To: Confounding Purple Pulls out a Win Over the Lions