Vikings QB Choice for Season Finale Makes Sense

Vikings 2023 Super Bowl Odds
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NFL players and coaches don’t think like fans; the sooner fans realize that, the better.

Vikings QB Choice for Season Finale Makes Sense

Some — perhaps a large percentage — want the Minnesota Vikings to lose on Sunday at the Detroit Lions, hoping the team’s 2024 draft pick will improve, wins and losses be damned. If Minnesota loses to Detroit, its draft pick will land between 9th and 12th; a win would nudge the pick anywhere from 12th to 32nd.

But the Vikings are all-in Sunday, with the proof in the pudding at quarterback. The franchise announced Wednesday that quarterback Nick Mullens will get the start, his third of the season.

QB Choice for Season
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NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted, “The Vikings will start QB Nick Mullens against the Lions, per coach Kevin O’Connell.”

Mullens provides the Vikings with the best chance to win, and if Minnesota pulls off an unlikely victory at Ford Field, it has a slight chance of entering the playoffs. In fact, the Vikings have around the same probability of squirming into the postseason as the Jacksonville Jaguars winning the Super Bowl (about +3500 odds).

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The Vikings’ playoff probability once loomed around 80%, optimistic times when the club was 6-4 during Joshua Dobbs’ brief reign. But the team fired up a 1-5 record since defeating the New Orleans Saints and now owns a measly 3% chance to reach the playoff dance.

Here’s the Vikings’ only playoff scenario, a total longshot:

  • MIN over DET -and-
  • CHI over GB -and-
  • ARI over SEA -and-
  • CAR over TB -or- ATL over NO

So, Mullens will hope to guide the Vikings to an eighth win of the season and then kick back and pray the Packers lose, the Seahawks lose, and the Buccaneers or Saints lose. The Buccaneers and Saints play while the Vikings-Lions tryst unfolds in the early afternoon window.

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Somehow, Mullens is the NFL’s eighth-best quarterback per EPA+CPOE in 2023, a metric defining expected wins added. Here’s the NFL’s pecking order per EPA+CPOE after 17 weeks:

  1. Brock Purdy
  2. Dak Prescott
  3. Tua Tagovailoa
  4. Josh Allen
  5. Kirk Cousins
  6. Jalen Hurts
  7. Jake Browning
  8. Nick Mullens
  9. Lamar Jackson
  10. Patrick Mahomes

Mullens is a personal rollercoaster inside a rollercoaster Vikings season. Most drives involving the veteran seem to end in a touchdown pass or interception, the gunslinger to end all gunslingers if the noun were attached to backup quarterbacks only. The man can fling it.

QB for Cincinnati
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The Lions’ defense ranks 20th per EPA/Play in 2023, so Mullens’ tricks should be front and center. Expect oodles of passing yards, perhaps some touchdowns, and an interception, two, or three.

Detroit is favored by 3.5 points to formally end the Vikings season. Mullens has thrown for 5 touchdowns and 6 picks in 2023.

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