Vikings should think of Lions as rivals, not house cats

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Matthew Stafford
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Matthew Stafford /

With a resounding win over the Dolphins last week, the Minnesota Vikings appear to be making a run to the playoffs. But with a date with the Lions on Sunday, the Vikings need to be prepared to play with serious focus.

Let’s face it, the Minnesota Vikings have been a massive disappointment this 2018 season.

At 7-6-1, the Vikings may not be the leaders of the “bust” class headed by the annually anointed Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers, Carson Wentz and his champion Philadelphia Eagles (or even the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, Carolina Panthers or Denver Broncos), but they are in the the group picture.

Minnesota hasn’t really beaten any team that qualifies as a 2018 success and they have lost several games that have surprised even a cynical Vikings fan this year.

The one performance that is a glaring failure (and still hasn’t really been understood) is a Week 3 disaster in front of the home folks at U.S. Bank Stadium against the Buffalo Bills. The Vikings played one of most ridiculous games of football in the history of their franchise and lost to the now 5-9 Bills, currently ranked 31st in total NFL offense.

I called that matchup with then 0-2 Buffalo as a “Lobster Trap” game.  It came just after Minnesota’s dramatic tie against Green Bay and just before the Vikings would go on the road for big matchups with the Eagles and the Los Angeles Rams.

Minnesota was a 16.5 point favorite over the Bills that Sunday.  Against Detroit this week, the Vikings are currently favored by six points according to oddsmakers.

An unexpected loss wouldn’t be so shocking by Minnesota on Sunday, but it would significantly decrease their chances to make the 2018 playoffs.

It would also make it clear that the Vikings don’t deserve to be in the postseason.

Back On Track?

Here’s the problem. Minnesota has been so woefully inconsistent this year, it boggles the mind.

After just losing a Week 7 debacle to the New Orleans Saints (a game in which the offense and defense played brilliantly for almost a full half before falling apart like a flaming house of match-sticks), the Vikings then responded with a solid beat-down of the Lions in a game where they blended run, pass, and pass rush (10 sacks) to the tune of a 24-9 win.

Minnesota was then 5-3-1, steppin’ up, and on to the bye week!  Rolling, right?

Wrong. Two weeks later, the Vikings stunk up the Chicago lakeshore with a chocolate turnover mess against the Bears, falling a game and a half behind them in the NFC North.

So there’s no need to examine how Minnesota matches up against the Lions in Detroit this Sunday. The Vikings match up as well as they did in Week 8 when they took them apart.

But Minnesota matched up just as well (if not better) with that Buffalo Bills team that caused a sundry of turnovers and embarrassed them in front of thousands of unhappy fans.

To date, the Vikings have indeed faced some trials this season.

Minnesota lost their beloved offensive line coach, they’ve had a few significant injuries, several perplexing losses, and seen disjointed play by the quarterback they hired to lead the way to the Lombardi trophy.

Recently, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer fired the offensive coordinator that was toted as the “Big Brain” of modern aerial football and replaced him with a journeyman coach who has been ordered to run the rock.

Absolutely none of that matters on Sunday at 12 p.m. CT.  At that time it’s just the Minnesota Vikings against the Detroit Lions.  Like the Vikings, the Lions are a professional football team that will be just trying to win the contest.

If it helps–they whipped Tom Brady and the New England Patriots earlier in the year.

dark. Next. 4 Bold Predictions - Vikings vs. Lions

The Vikings lead this all-time rivalry 73-39-2.  Let’s hope Minnesota doesn’t give Detroit win number 40 because they aren’t taking them as serious as a season-ending loss would be.