12 Snap Reactions after Lions at Vikings
Each week, we offer a “snap reactions” piece detailing thoughts and analysis after the latest Minnesota Vikings game.
12 Snap Reactions after Lions at Vikings
This will be off-the-cuff, a wee bit random, and hopefully insightful.
The Vikings lost 30-24 at home on Sunday, a devastating loss to the Detroit Lions inside a topsy-turvy season. Minnesota is now 7-8 after starting 1-4, then getting to 6-4. It’s been a wild ride, especially after Kirk Cousins was lost for the season.
1 – The Vikings were probably eliminated from the postseason against the Lions. In theory, they could get hot and win the next two games, but which folks who watched Sunday’s game think they’ll suddenly get hot? It was a festival of turnovers.
2 – To reach the postseason as a Wildcard participant, Minnesota must win its next two games and have the Los Angeles Rams (at NYG, at SF) or Seattle Seahawks (vs. PIT, at ARI) lose one game. One of those teams must lose a single game while the Vikings beat the Packers and Lions.
3 – Once again, Minnesota couldn’t run the football and turned the ball over repeatedly. They should’ve lost by about 17+.
4 – T.J. Hockenson, Jordan Addison, D.J. Wonnum, and Mekhi Blackmon were injured on Sunday. When it rains, it pours. We shall see how long each man it out; those prognoses will be a big damn deal versus the Packers on New Year’s Eve.
5 – Nick Mullens’ offense has produced 27 and 24 points in back-to-back weeks, and the Vikings’ defense decided it wasn’t all that good — simultaneously. All season, when one side of the football produces, the other does not. Of course, Mullens delivers interceptions like Amazon packages, but at least the offense scored points, unlike the Joshua Dobbs-led brand. When Mullens felt like the right choice at QB1 after Dobbs’ benching, no one could’ve foreseen the defense would return to doldrums. Nothing good ever happens at the same time for the 2023 Vikings.
6 – Justin Jefferson’s outstanding final-drive reception will be forgotten because the Vikings lost, but it was magnificent, on par with his catch at the Buffalo Bills last year.
7 – Speaking of Jefferson, Minnesota is 2-6 with him in the lineup and 5-2 without him. And one of the wins occurred at the Las Vegas Raiders when Jefferson was knocked out of the game early. So bizarre.
8 – While it would not be ideal for the Vikings if Brian Flores accepts a head coaching job elsewhere, his defense has collapsed at the Denver Broncos, versus the Chicago Bears, at the Cincinnati Bengals, and most of the game versus Detroit. And that’s when folks realized it was a good, Top [insert your ranking here] defense. Perhaps it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he left?
9 – All spring and summer, NFL pundits explained the Lions would win the NFC North for the first time in 30 years. They were right; tip of the cap to them. Now, it remains to be seen how long they retain their grip.
10 – The Vikings’ season outlook changed the moment Kirk Cousins tore his Achilles. For better or worse, the club tricked us into believing Joshua Dobbs could effectuate a Case Keenum-like 2017 path to the postseason. Such adventures seldom occur, and 2023 was not a repeat. Losing QB1 is usually a death sentence, and the Vikings apparently were no exception.
11 – Inserting Jaren Hall into the lineup would be a sensible path if the objective is to learn his ceiling. But like Kellen Mond in 2021, only the coaching staff knows if he’s ready. Fans in 2021 hated that Mond couldn’t see the field late in the season, and it turned out he was awful and had no business on an NFL field. This was learned by everyone two years later. If Hall is ready, he’ll play. If he’s not, he won’t. It won’t be a big conspiracy like the masses suggested with Mike Zimmer and Mond. Zimmer was right about Mond. Kevin O’Connell will probably be right about Hall.
12 – The Vikings are 2-5 at home. Even with different backup quarterbacks, that record should probably be close to .500. Homefield advantage at U.S. Bank Stadium has died, at least for now.
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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).