By Austin Payne
In an end of the year classic division rivalry game, the Lions will play the Vikings this Sunday for their second and final matchup of the season. This game will have zero playoff implications for the injury ridden and uh…directionless Detroit Lions, while it will remain very much important to a Minnesota Vikings team coming off a Monday Night Football loss in Seattle.
The Vike’s have a great roster in place as they have for the last several seasons, and yet here we are still questioning their legitimacy due to inconsistency and concerns about Kirk Cousins. Remember when they had the best, if not one of the best, defenses in the league in just 2017 before falling off drastically last season? Remember when Cousins was the top tier game manager sort of QB that was exactly what an otherwise fully loaded team needed to get over the hump? Neither of those former expectations hold much water right now, as Minnesota continuous to be a team seen as an underachiever.
There is little to no reason they shouldn’t be able to handle a Lions team that will lack both Matthew Stafford and their young running back Kerryon Johnson, who are both out due to injury. In their stead will be David Blough and Bo Scarbrough, two late round and undrafted first and second year players. Not to be dismissed though was Blough’s surprisingly good debut against a competent Bears defense, who rank 9th overall against opponents in passing yards allowed per game. (Thanks teamrankings.com)
Bo has also had three decent games in his time as the starter in Detroit, and isn’t exactly a player who’s size or pedigree should be overlooked.
Despite the brownie points we allow these young players for having competent performances in the toughest sports league on the planet, that doesn’t erase the fact that there won’t be any excuses tolerated for Minnesota losing this game to them. The Vikings desperately need to continue winning in order to hold off the LA Rams for the last wildcard spot, because it is almost certain either Seattle or San Fran will be locking up the first one.
Detroit currently sits at…30th against the pass, and 23rd against the run. With Cousins experience and Dalvin Cook (twitter.com) telling us he’s good despite exiting Monday’s game, there’s no reason the Vikings can’t exploit this reeling defense.
The most fun outcome however, will obviously be the one where Minnesota shockingly manages to lose this game, and then we all talk about Kirk Cousins on Monday morning while he trends on twitter and trade rumors swirl. Negativity isn’t fun, but controversy and potential moves always are in sports, so that’s what we root for sometimes. In spite of my dystopian wishes upon the NFL’s expectations, let’s be real, Minnesota should put this team away.