Lions Win—and the Vikes Head to the Draft

Vikings Territory Breakdown

The last two NFC North champions—the Vikings in 2022 and the Detroit Lions in 2023—faced off at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday and only one team came out of it with another game to play this season. The Lions beat the Vikings 30-20 and moved on to the Wild Card round of the playoffs, while the Vikings, beset by injuries and mistakes all season, head to the NFL Draft. (And for some fans, that was the best news they could have heard after the game).

The Vikings came into the game with the slimmest of playoff chances (3 percent) and the loss ended any hope for the postseason. Instead, the Vikings will pick 11th in the upcoming draft and likely have their eyes on moving up to grab a signal caller in this reportedly QB-rich draft.

The quarterback in this game, Nick Mullens (the fourth QB starting for the Vikings this season), played his heart out trying to win (and likely for his future in the league), but he and the personnel-depleted Purple secondary did not have enough to get them across the finish line.

The game was not without its excitement however. Mullens had two long TD passes and 396 yards passing (plus two picks), Justin Jefferson surpassed 1000 yards despite missing seven games this season and Danielle Hunter surpassed 16 sacks this year. But it was all tempered by the season-ending loss.

Thus begins the offseason of questions—tough questions to be answered in Year 3 of the Kwesi-KOC regime. Will the team draft a QB in the first round? Will they resign Kirk Cousins and Hunter? How much will they pay Jefferson? Will Brian Flores return? How many CBs will the team need to draft? Those questions only scratch the surface of the Vikings off-season to-do list.

And the Vikings Territory Breakdown podcast dudes (Joe Oberle, senior writer at vikingsterritory and purplePTSD and Mark Craig, NFL and Vikings writer for the Star Tribune and are on hand to ask them all. Tune into the podcast and check it out.

Listen to Vikings Territory Breakdown here or on your favorite podcast network.