Why Vikings Fans Should Even Bother Watching against DET

kevin o'connell hints more
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Do you need motivation for Sunday? You’re in the right spot.

The Minnesota Vikings (7-9) will travel to Ford Field for an end-of-season date at the Detroit Lions (11-5) this weekend. Detroit has the NFC’s No. 3 seed wholly sewn up, while Minnesota has a minuscule chance of shuffling into the postseason.

Why Vikings Fans Should Even Bother Watching against DET

Kevin O’Connell’s team once owned a fancy 6-4 record — that feels like eons ago — but has finished the season on a 1-5 skid, all but canceling most playoff hopes.

There are still a handful of reasons to tune in this weekend, though, and these are those.

The Faint Playoff Hope

Should Even Bother
Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer-USA TODAY Sports.

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

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

The Vikings play in the early afternoon window on Sunday, and while they’re squaring off against Detroit, the NFC South games coincide. If Tampa Bay or Atlanta win (plus a Vikings win), Minnesota will watch the late afternoon docket, rooting for Chicago and Arizona.

So, yes — there is a path to the postseason if you believe in miracles.

Starters from Both Teams Will Play

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The Vikings’ coaching staff will convince players that the postseason is still within reach — that’s its job — so Minnesota will play all starters. Meanwhile, a rather Campbellian mindset is present in Detroit: Despite owning the No. 3 seed no matter what, the Lions will reportedly play all starters.

Campbell recently said, “When we’re done with the season, they’re gonna rest.”

Barring a last-minute change of heart, it’ll be the Vikings’ starters versus the Lions’ starters, for better or worse.

The Draft Pick

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Welcome, tankers. Have a seat.

If there were ever a time for Minnesota to “do itself a favor” and lose, that is now. Depending on the outcome of other games around the NFL, if the Vikings lose in Detroit — which feels likely — they will pick in Round 1 of April’s draft between 9th and 12th.

Beating Detroit would nudge the pick somewhere between 13th and infinity if the Vikings somehow reach the playoffs.

Watch to learn the fate of the Vikings’ fancy 1st-Round draft pick. For those purposes, a loss is “better,” believe it or not.

Final Game for a Few?

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Various Vikings will play their final game in purple this weekend; that’s just how the sport works.

But none is more cherished than Harrison Smith, who could retire after this season. He’s played 12 seasons and would be 35 if he returns to the Vikings or another team in 2024. This could be the end of the road for Smith, and for that reason alone, Lions-Vikings is must-see television for longtime Vikings fans. Loyalty.

Others who could exit stage left this offseason? Danielle Hunter, K.J. Osborn, Alexander Mattison, and Greg Joseph, for example.

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.