After the Los Angeles Rams lost to the San Francisco 49’ers on Saturday evening, it guaranteed a spot in the playoffs for our Minnesota Vikings. After a Seattle Seahawks loss, Minnesota did still have something to play for this past Monday night.
A home matchup with the Green Bay Packers meant a few things locally. A chance at a division championship. A chance to retain bragging rights. A chance at the 5th, 3rd or even 2nd seed. A chance to head into the playoffs playing some good football. A chance for positive momentum.
Well, as I’m sure you well know, literally none of those things happened Monday night in a 23-10 loss.
The Vikings offense looked awful from the start of the game. The defense attempted to do their part, causing three turnovers and constantly giving the offense a short field to work with. However, the offense looked like they had just come from another planet and had never played football before.
The Vikings finished with 139 total yards. By total, I mean for the entirety of the game. In 2019, where the New York Jets are the worst team in the NFL in yards per game averaging 273.1, the Vikings were able to muster an embarrassing measly 139 yards.
Without Dalvin Cook or Alexander Mattison, we were told that we wouldn’t miss a beat with Mike Boone in the starting role. The Vikings finished with 57 rushing yards total. The Vikings had 7 first downs, only crossed the 50 yard line on a drive once and threw an interception on the next play of that drive.
The Vikings were out-smarted, out-gained, out-muscled and simply out-played in all facets of the game.
So what does this mean going forward? Minnesota is locked into the 6th seed and will likely be travelling to either Seattle or New Orleans for a road playoff game.
If this week is any sign of foreshadowing, we might as well throw our TV’s through the window now.
The Vikings will probably rest anyone in week 17 against the Chicago Bears who is banged up in an attempt to get healthy for the playoffs. Players like Dalvin Cook, Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Adam Thielen and many others can use the week off to hopefully right their bodies and turn this thing around.
The last thing I want to touch on is Kirk Cousins. He got a lot of blame for his performance on Monday (16-31, 122 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT). While that isn’t anything to write home about, the Vikings certainly need to get back to playing in a way to give him a chance to succeed.
The Vikings rely on a steady running game, an effective play-action game as well as screens, bootlegs and roll-outs to get Kirk comfortable. None of these things happened against the Packers.
The Vikings will finish with double-digit wins and a playoff berth, not a bad place to be at all, especially considering their 8-7-1 record last year. However, they need to right the ship quickly as a tough playoff matchup is approaching. They need to prove they can win a big game. If they can’t, this offseason might get very, very interesting.