6 biggest takeaways from the Vikings loss to the Rams in Week 16

Minnesota Vikings - Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Vikings - Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Justin Jefferson /

The third-down approach needs to change

The Rams’ defense is very good. They have multiple defenders who are regulars to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro nominations. They can disrupt things upfront while creating havoc in the secondary, leaving teams frustrated.

That said, the Minnesota Vikings often found themselves in third-and-long situations where they either had to throw and low-percentage pass or check down and take whatever the stingy Rams defense will give them.

Minnesota had 12 third-down attempts on the day and only converted two of them. Teams that shoot themselves in the foot on the first two drives and leave a majority of the yardage for third-down rarely have success on the day.

Of course, this offense looks different when they have a healthy Dalvin Cook in the backfield. That’s especially true when Alexander Mattison only manages to pick up 41 yards on the ground and 18 of those came on one play. But not adjusting the game plan for your personnel leads to terrible showings like this.

On a side note, it was fun to watch Justin Jefferson go up against Jalen Ramsay even if it meant picking up third downs was a bit more difficult.