Now Presenting, Your No. 32 Ranked Vikings Defense

It’s never a positive to have an NFL team ranking dead last in any category, and it certainly isn’t good to have the No. 32 ranked defense in terms of total yards allowed.

Well, unfortunately, that is precisely where your 2022 Minnesota Vikings find themselves after a shellacking put on by Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions. Following their double-digit loss, fans are left staring at a No. 32 ranked Vikings defense in terms of yards allowed.

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The Vikings allowed the Lions to put up 464 yards on Sunday which, somehow, is only the fourth-highest total that Minnesota has given up this season. They allowed 486 yards three separate times prior to this game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, and New York Jets.

After their seventh performance this season that has ended in 400+ yards allowed, the Vikings have now given up 5248 total yards of offense to opponents, narrowly edging out their Week 14 opponent Detroit Lions, who have allowed 5242 yards.

A Look at the Jets in Week 13
Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

On average, the Vikings are now allowing 403.7 yards per game on defense, which may end up being a recipe for disaster moving forward. Only three teams in NFL history, four if you include the now 10-3 Vikings, have allowed 400 yards per game and finished the season with a winning record, per Stathead:

  • 2011 Green Bay Packers (15-1)
  • 2011 New England Patriots (13-3)
  • 2018 Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)

None of these teams went on to win a Super Bowl, with only the Tom Brady-led 2011 Patriots making it to the big game. The 2018 Kansas City Chiefs fell in the AFC Championship Game while the 2011 Green Bay Packers couldn’t make it out of the divisional round.

Dec 9, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

While the 2022 Vikings wouldn’t entirely be an anomaly by allowing this many yards and finishing with a winning record, they are an anomaly when combining this defense with what they’ve done on offense. Each of the Packers, Patriots, and Chiefs scored more than 30 points per game on their way to a winning record.

Green Bay averaged 35 points per game, New England averaged 32.1 points per game, and Kansas City averaged 35.3 points per game. Currently, the 2022 Minnesota Vikings have scored 312 total points, averaging 24 points per game.

The Minnesota Vikings are giving up yards at historic rates (only 18 teams in NFL history have had defenses allow 400 yards per game), and yet they are finding ways to win games without an overpowering offensive attack.

Their 24 points per game ranks 10th in the NFL this year. It’s a respectable total, to be sure, but they are averaging more than 8 fewer points per game than the only other teams that find themselves in the same universe as the Vikings.

Once again, these Minnesota Vikings seem to find themselves in unprecedented territory, which is where they have resided for much of the past few years. It will be fascinating to see how this group finishes this season out. Do they have what it takes to make a Super Bowl? Or are they destined for a playoff disappointment?

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.

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