Minnesota Vikings vs Detroit Lions: Week 9 game review

The Minnesota Vikings lost to the Detroit Lions in week 9, but what were the good, bad, and interesting things about the exciting overtime matchup?

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these game reviews. With many of the changes that were being put in place on The Viking Age, it seemed like efforts would be better used in other ways. However, for at least one week only, the Minnesota Vikings are going to get the good, bad, and interesting treatment.

This week, the Detroit Lions came to Minnesota in hopes of keeping the Vikings losing streak alive. Having lost to the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears in the last two weeks, the boys in purple needed this game in order to get the team back on track.

But that wouldn’t be an easy, as the Lions have a new look offense and a defense that can make big plays.

Sadly, the Vikings ended up on the losing end of this game, suffering their third loss in a row However, the Lions needed overtime and some huge plays to put the Minnesota Vikings away 16-22.

Let’s talk about the good stuff, bad things, and interesting occurrences from the week 9 game, starting with the good stuff!

Nov 6, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford (8) is pressured by Detroit Lions defensive end Devin Taylor (98) during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Good Stuff

  1. A quicker offense. It looks like the Vikings stressed being faster in all phases of the offense. In particular, the internal clock of Sam Bradford seemed to be moving faster and the plays were designed to have earlier dump-off options in case of pressure. Good stuff!
  2. The crowd was really loud! Even through the TV, it was easy to hear the fans getting insanely loud during the game, particularly on third downs with the Lions on offense. They did a fantastic job and should continue to do so in order to build home field advantage at U.S. Bank Stadium.
  3. Better offensive line protection. The Lions are no slouch when it comes to getting pressure on quarterbacks. Still, with the faster tempo, some chipping, and possibly some chips on their shoulders, the offensive line look to be a somewhat revitalized unit.
  4. Getting Treadwell involved. For a rookie wide receiver, there should be a shorter learning curve, especially for a guy who was a first round pick who has the potential to be a game-changer. But everyone starts somewhere, and his first NFL catch is a good milestone.
  5. Adam Thielen is a machine. What can’t this kid do? He’s amazing on special teams. He’s a been a very good wide receiver. He makes MASSIVE plays when needed. He’s the kind of guy you wish your favorite team had a roster full of.

Nov 6, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh (3) kicks a field goal during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Bad Things

  1. No offensive line push. The Vikings aren’t going to be able to run the ball until they can create holes. It looks like center Joe Berger can get some movement, but otherwise, the line collapses and the gap is gone. You can’t run in situations like that.
  2. Run defense when showing blitz. It’s hard to pick at the Vikings defense, but they’ve given up big plays in back-to-back games when crowding the line. I’m all for confusing the opposing offense, but making sure the team doesn’t get burnt up the gut needs to be in the back of their minds as well.
  3. Penalties. When you get the ball with only 19 yards to go until the end zone, it isn’t good when you end up punting. False start, block in the back, and other penalties were drive killers this game, and defensive penalties like hands to the face hurt in a big way too.
  4. Depleted by injuries. As if the current crop of injuries and players lost for the season weren’t bad enough, losing THREE defensive backs during this game was a real kick in the naughty bits. The Vikings depth was tested in a big way during the game, but it is never quite the same as when the starters are available.
  5. The kicking game. It’s been a while since I’ve dogged on Blair Walsh, but his consistency in recent history has been rough. The hope is that it is just a slump, but he’s missed too many extra points and field goals (and had one blocked this game) to not worry about it.

Nov 6, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway (52) tackles Detroit Lions running back Theo Riddick (25) on a run in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Interesting Occurrences

  1. Having Theo Riddick on my fantasy team. After how the Bears were able to use running backs to find success and with Kendricks being out for the game, I had to play him. But it is very bittersweet getting fantasy points when it hurts the Vikings.
  2. Sam Bradford’s 5 yard catch. It’s always funny when a ball is batted back to a quarterback and they catch it. Bradford knew he could outrun the big defensive lineman and actually ran the ball to the outside and picked up some yardage on the broken play.
  3. Ed Hochuli is just getting silly now. That is the most tight-fitting ref jersey that I’ve ever seen and flexing when gesturing has moved past being amusing. It’s great that he’s in amazing shape and loves to show it off, but wow…
  4. U.S. Bank Stadium is still amazing. Seeing the camera cut to all the cool things in the facility is always amusing. There are so many different displays and interesting features in the building that there always seems to be something new and interesting to look at, and it’s great FOX wants to take advantage of that.
  5. 23 seconds. Get a deep play off, get all the players down the field, set up, and spike the ball. That’s incredible that the Lions were able to do all of that in the span of time. It’s hard to be mad about something like that when you’re so impressed by their execution in the situation.

Nov 6, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate (15) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr (55) during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Overall Impression

This game might have been more heartbreaking than any other Minnesota Vikings game this season. Having the win dangled in front of the team only to have it pulled away is sometimes worse than feeling like there is no chance.

Many fans will put this game on kicker Blair Walsh. The missed extra point, off-target block, and decision to go for it instead of kick the field goal left quite a few possible points on the field for the Vikings. However, there were other opportunities as well that were major contributing factors in the loss.

What hurts the most is likely that Minnesota now knows what it is like to lose in U.S. Bank Stadium, and doing so to a division rival makes it even more painful. And having that happen in overtime in such a heartbreaking way makes it even worse!

Still, there are a lot of positive things to take out of this game. Cordarrelle Patterson and Laquon Treadwell are getting more involved. Sam Bradford is getting rid of the ball quicker. The offensive line is getting help and doing a better job in protection. And the Vikings scored a running touchdown!

It’s hard to find joy in a loss, but it’s obvious that there were definite improvements in the gameplan and execution coming into the game. So yes, this loss will sting, but there could be some much better stuff on the horizon.

Up next, the Minnesota Vikings will be travelling to the nation’s capital to take on the Washington Redskins. This will be another huge challenge for the struggling NFC North team, as they have now dropped 3 games in a row and the division is slipping through the cracks in their fingers.

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