Minnesota’s defense might actually be decent
Watching the Lions basically do whatever they wanted during their first few offensive drives of the game certainly wasn’t enjoyable. It definitely felt like the Vikings were heading towards a repeat performance of their Week 2 disaster against the Philadelphia Eagles.
But then Minnesota did something that they didn’t really do last week. They made adjustments on defense and it resulted in Detroit being less productive on offense.
Detroit scored a touchdown on two of their first three offensive drives of the afternoon. After their second touchdown though, they only found the end zone one more time on their next nine drives.
The Lions also averaged 6.3 yards per play in the first two quarters on Sunday. In the second half, the Vikings’ defensive adjustments resulted in Detroit only gaining 4.8 yards per play.
On third downs, Minnesota looked like a defense from the prime Mike Zimmer era as they held the Lions to an 18.8 percent conversion rate (3-for-16). This probably would have made a bigger difference on Sunday, but Detroit decided to go for it on fourth down six times on Sunday, and they gained a first down on four of these attempts.
So far this season, the Vikings rank 21st in the NFL in points allowed in the first half. However, Minnesota ranks sixth in the league in second-half points allowed. This shows that the Vikings are making the proper adjustments at the half and it’s resulting in better results during the final two quarters of each game.
If Minnesota can just figure out how to get their defense to perform better in the first half, then they would be able to compete with pretty much any team in the league.