E Point Perfect

Vikings May Have Blown Chance for Postseason Run


Vikings May Have Blown Chance for Postseason Run
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) scores a touchdown against Minnesota Vikings linebacker Brian Asamoah II. Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

The Vikings lost to the Packers in a true beatdown. Vikings fans had to endure a hard game to watch, as Green Bay ran away with the game early and, despite two late touchdowns in garbage time, one by Kirk Cousins and one by Nick Mullens, the scoreboard showed a 41-17 for the home team.

Kevin O’Connell’s operation played an unusually sloppy game, and the team was all around bad. The offense and the defense didn’t do their jobs, and the special teams unit was just as deficient and allowed a return touchdown in addition to two missed field goals. The Vikings may have blown their chance for a postseason run in two separate areas.

Losing the 2 Seed

The loss is why the Vikings fumbled the number two seed, a spot they held for most of the season. Early on Sunday, the Eagles lost against the New Orleans Saints, so the door for the top seed in the NFC was still open for the purple team.

Vikings May Have Blown
January 1, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports.

However, the 49ers were waiting for their chance to grab the Vikings spot in the playoff picture. San Francisco was one win behind and held the better conference record, so the Vikings had to win as many games as the 49ers in the final two weeks. While the result in the early window helped the Vikings, the results in the afternoon window did not.

The Vikings lost to Green Bay, and San Francisco survived overtime against the Raiders. Both results affected the playoff standings, and the Vikings lost their spot and dropped to three.

Vikings May Have Blown Chance for Postseason Run

For Minnesota, that is a catastrophic thing. The team has been viewed as overachievers for a while, a fair evaluation to some extent. Crazy comebacks, terrible statistics, and analytical numbers show that success is unlikely to be sustainable. Throughout the season, the Vikings have been outscored by 19 points, an unheard scenario for a 12-4 team.

The Immediate Fallout from Vikings First Loss of 2022
Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Quez Watkins (16) makes a touchdown catch in front of Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports.

Because of losing the number two seed, the Vikings must travel to San Francisco and Philadelphia to reach the Super Bowl. Of course, they must win the wild card game first, which is not a given. The problem with traveling in the playoffs is, of course, that the homefield advantage goes to the other team.

The Vikings are viewed as inferior to those two teams, and matching up with them on the road won’t help. It’s possible that the Vikings can pull off an upset, but two upsets in consecutive games are unlikely. The story would definitely be different if the purple team could host one of the two NFC juggernauts.

Offensive Line Problems

Vikings offensive line coach Chris Kuper had to watch two players leave with significant injuries in the first quarter. Austin Schlottmann got hurt near the goal line. He reportedly fractured his fibula, a season-ending injury. Schlottmann is the backup for Garrett Bradbury, who is dealing with a back injury. Bradbury reaggravated his back injury after the game against the Colts in a car crash. It’s unclear when he will be able to return.

Explained: State of the Vikings thru 4 Games
Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Brian O’Neill. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Brian O’Neill, the top right tackle, hurt his calf on an interception return. The team did not release a diagnosis, but head coach O’Connell suggested that he will miss time, possibly even the remainder of the season. Backup tackle Oli Udoh will replace O’Neill.

Blake Brandel is lost for the season. Udoh was a tackle in college and the pros, but the Vikings moved him to guard in 2021. That move was a disaster, but he is playing much better as a tackle. However, he will not be able to replace one of the top linemen in the league without a huge dropoff.

Revived Packers Next + Christmas Thrill
Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings place kicker Greg Joseph (1) celebrates his game-winning field goal with guard Austin Schlottmann. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Chris Reed will likely replace Schlottmann until Bradbury is ready to return. The veteran guard is solid at his position but a liability at center. He was the reason for multiple false start penalties and struggled with snaps against the Packers. Maybe that can improve in practice, but it’s unlikely to be entirely fixed by next week.

The depth will be tested. In the playoffs, most opponents have strong, some even elite, defensive lines. A game that reminds fans of the matchup with the 49ers in the 2019 playoffs is a real possibility. Three years ago, the Vikings were destroyed and eventually eliminated by the defensive line of the 49ers. Minnesota has, like always, struggled up front in 2022. The defensive lines of Dallas and Philadelphia completely dominated a then-healthy Vikings line. Matchups with the 49ers, Cowboys, and Eagles will be brutal for the Vikings in the trenches.

The playoffs are single elimination, so anything is possible but losing the number two seed and a star offensive lineman didn’t help to achieve the ultimate goal.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt


Source link

Related posts

Wyatt Davis Found a New Home

Good News: Vikings Aren’t Mayfield’s New Home

A Vikings Upcoming Camp Battle Listed among NFL’s Most Fascinating

The Vikings Are Undefeated Against Super Bowl QBs in 2022

Bleacher Report Has Apropos Suggestion for Vikings

Vikings Cornerback Got His Swagger Back