12 Snap Reactions after Vikings at Raiders

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.

Each week, we offer a “snap reactions” piece detailing thoughts and analysis after the latest Minnesota Vikings game.

12 Snap Reactions after Vikings at Raiders

This will be off-the-cuff, a wee bit random, and hopefully insightful.

The Vikings won 3-0 — yes, you read that right — in Week 14 at the Las Vegas Raiders, a mind-bogglingly weird and anemic game for both franchises. Minnesota climbed to 7-6 and still has a firm chance to reach the postseason, thanks to the dub.

Vikings at Raiders
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1 – Via the lowest-scoring indoor game in NFL history, the Vikings prevailed, and when the dust settles, that’s really all that matters if the primary goal is to reach the postseason.

2 – Kevin O’Connell can probably be chided for not starting Nick Mullens in the first place, but his decision to bench Joshua Dobbs with the game on the line was phenomenal, and he won the Vikings their seventh game of the season. Indeed, he likely should’ve started Mullens to begin with, but tip of the cap for pulling the plug just in time.

3 – It’s okay to remember Dobbs favorably for his performances against the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints a month ago — while hoping he never starts for the Vikings again. Often, career-long backups spring up and dazzle for a game or two before plummeting back to earth. That’s what happened with Dobbs. Plain and simple. It happens all the time.

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.

4 – Injuries ravaged Minnesota on Sunday, losing Justin Jefferson (again), Alexander Mattison, Brian O’Neill, and Dalton Risner (for a bit). Those statuses will dominate all Vikings’ talkers for the next six days. All signs point to Minnesota proceeding gingerly with Jefferson like they did in November.

5 – The Vikings are only alive and in the playoff hunt because of Brian Flores. That cannot be overstated. He is 2023’s lifeblood and completely turned the defense around in one offseason. It’s incredible. Minnesota hadn’t shut an opponent out in six years before Week 14.

Brian Flores Weighs
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6 – Ivan Pace had 13 tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, a QB hit, and a game-ending interception. Still think he’s too short to play off-ball linebacker?

7 – It’s a crime that Alexander Mattison was injured during his best game of the season. He was personally rolling and providing what Vikings fans had asked for all season long — somebody who could chip off 4-5 yards per carry. Let’s hope his injury is minor. Minnesota needs that version of Mattison in the final four games.

8 – Every time one turns on a Raiders game, Maxx Crosby and Robert Spillane utterly tear up the other team. That duo is tremendous, rest assured. It’s just too bad so sad that Las Vegas’ offense was clownish.

9 – Greg Joseph did Greg Joseph things, missing an ordinary field goal in the middle of the game and then totally redeeming himself in the clutch. This is his modus operandi. Hopefully, the Vikings can eventually find a kicker who can do both: hit regular and clutch field goals.

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10 – Minnesota now has a 69% probability of reaching the playoffs. This win was vital, especially after the horror of losing at home to the Chicago Bears. If the Vikings make the playoffs, this game can be circled as the season saver.

11 – Aidan O’Connell was awful, and the Raiders are looking like a lock to draft a rookie quarterback in April’s loaded class.

12 – Give Nick Mullens a full week to run the offense, and let him cook in Cincinnati. What to remember about Mullens? He is essentially 70% of Kirk Cousins at all times.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.