This Sunday is likely the most important game for the remainder of the Minnesota Vikings’ season. Sure, it may only be a consolation win if the Vikings beat the Green Bay Packers, but that’s about as good as it gets with Minnesota’s season all but finished.
Best to try and disassociate from your feelings now that the Vikings have an 11% chance of making the playoffs and Kirk Cousins is out with COVID. Conversely, it feels hollow hoping to just put a dent in the Packers’ impressive record if they somehow pull off the upset.
That being said, screw the Packers. I’m going to get petty. Here are two dreams and one nightmare of Sunday’s divisional game.
Justin Jefferson continues his tear
This week will at best be full of moral victories, since that’s about all that’s left. One shining star on the roster right now is obviously Justin Jefferson. Jefferson already has the most yards in NFL history in his first two seasons, but can he keep it going?
It’ll be a little bit tougher with a backup quarterback throwing to him.
Jefferson has a few Vikings records that he could still eclipse this season, and the more damage he does, the more he puts the Stefon Diggs trade arguments to rest. Even Sammy White thinks Jefferson will soon break his single-game receiving yards record of 210 yards.
Jefferson will probably pass Randy Moss’ career-high 1,632 receiving yards set in 2003. He is only 181 yards behind the record, with two games left. Jefferson has an extra game to do it now, but he’s stayed healthy and productive all year, so he deserves every ounce of credit he gets if he goes on to break it this year.
It’s a small victory in the big scheme of things, but Minnesota’s front office knows Jefferson is their best player. No matter what happens in the offseason, they need to build around him and the young offense before it’s too late for a playoff run.
The Vikings expose the Packers
Remember how Zimmer “fell off” when the Philadelphia Eagles destroyed the Vikings in the NFC Championship in 2018? The story was really that the Eagles figured out Zimmer’s defense. This is kind of an extreme example, but what if Zimmer was able to do the same to the Packers heading into the playoffs?
At this point in the season, every small victory matters. It would be a great New Year’s gift to fans if the Vikings sweep the Packers this season. The best thing the Vikings can do to impact the playoffs down the stretch is show other teams how to beat the Packers, and they’ve done it once already.
If the Vikings create a blueprint to beat the Packers without Aaron Rodgers having a flukey bad game, it would ensure they aren’t hands down the strongest team heading into the playoffs. Right now, Green Bay has the best record in the NFL. It also helps that Zimmer has a pretty good track record against the Packers.
Minnesota’s players give up on the front office
Anthony Barr said that US Bank Stadium was a bit dead last week against the Los Angeles Rams. There wasn’t that buzz that’s usually there, which could be a sign of things to come. If the Vikings come out flat on Sunday, it will tell us that this front office and perhaps many key players will be elsewhere next season.
The only way a season is truly disappointing is when there is a lack of a buzz heading into the next one. Obviously, I’ve never seen a Lombardi Trophy come to town. But usually there’s hope for the next season, and typically it starts with the star players.
For people who want Zimmer canned, I can see why you might be excited. But his players love playing for him, and it won’t be an easy transition next year because it rarely is after a change in the front office.
The matchup with Green Bay is the last meaningful game this year. The Vikings need to make a statement to close out this season to have any hopes of contending next year.