8 Reactions to the Vikings’ Brutal Overtime Loss in Cincinnati

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens (12) changes the play at the line of scrimmage prior to a snap in the first quarter of a Week 15 NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Cincinnati Bengals, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati.

The Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals met at Paycor Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The two teams came into the weekend at 7-6 and in need of wins in order to improve their playoff odds. Unfortunately for Minnesota, it was the Bengals who were able to grab the overtime win by a score of 27-24. Here are 8 reactions to the Vikings’ loss in Cincinnati.

1. Ty Chandler Grabs the Reins in the Backfield

8 Reactions
Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler (32) eyes the goal line on a touchdown run in the first quarter of a Week 15 NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Cincinnati Bengals, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati.

One of the big positives of the day for Minnesota was Ty Chandler’s career game. The second-year RB took over the starting duties with Alexander Mattison out due to an ankle injury. Chandler came in and put up an explosive game, totaling 23 carries for 132 yards and his second rushing TD of the season. Minnesota’s rushing offense has been much more efficient in recent weeks, and they will need to rely on that group moving into the final three games of the season.

2. Jordan Addison Grabs Another TD

Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) shown on the field prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Addison has been a bit quiet in recent weeks, but that all changed on Saturday. Addison totaled over 100 receiving yards for the second time in his NFL career, and he caught his 8th TD pass of the season on Minnesota’s first drive in the second half. Then, he followed it up with a 9th TD catch later in the second half.

3. Danielle Hunter Gets Paid (Again)

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Nov 27, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) warms up before the game against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Danielle Hunter fulfilled the final bonus of his contract for the 2023 season by recording a pair of sacks on Saturday. Hunter is now up to 15.5 sacks on the season, which is a new career high for the Pro Bowler. He has three more games to improve on the total.

4. Tee Higgins Was Unstoppable

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) makes a 13-yard touchdown in the 4th quarter over Minnesota Vikings at Paycor Stadium Saturday, December 16, 2023.

Tee Higgins was proof that the Vikings need just a bit more size in their secondary. After a quiet first three quarters, the wide receiver proved to be the X-factor for Cincinnati down the stretch by catching a pair of touchdown passes, including a ridiculous grab over Akayleb Evans to tie the game. It was reminiscent of Courtland Sutton’s game-winning catch back in Week 11.

5. Questionable QB Sneaks

Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell reacts during the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

QB sneak may have been the right call for the Vikings on both third and fourth down in overtime, but they were simply unable to get it done. One strange phenomena on both plays was the fact that the Vikings had Brandon Powell go into the backfield rather than fullback C.J. Ham. One has to wonder if that was the correct personnel from O’Connell.

6. Justin Jefferson’s True Return

Dec 16, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) runs with the ball against Cincinnati Bengals safety Jordan Battle (27) in the first half at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since Week 4, Justin Jefferson made it through an entire football game. Facing off against old collegiate teammate, Ja’Marr Chase, Jefferson was able to total 7 catches for 84 yards on the day, but it wasn’t enough for Minnesota to grab the victory.

7. Mullens Lives Up to the Gunslinger Reputation

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens (12) throws under pressure fro Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard (94) in the first quarter of a Week 15 NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Cincinnati Bengals, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati.

Nick Mullens has earned the reputation of a gunslinger during his first few NFL seasons, and he certainly lived up to it on Saturday. There was some good from the Vikings’ fourth starting QB, but there was also plenty of bad. He finished his day with 303 yards, a pair of TDs, and a pair of INTs. The fact that both interceptions came on Cincinnati’s side of the field only rubs salt in the wound for this loss.

8. All Eyes Turn to Detroit

Nov 12, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) throws a pass against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

As the Vikings fall to 7-7, all eyes will turn to Detroit on Saturday night as the Lions play host to the Denver Broncos. Denver comes into the weekend having won six of their past seven games, and Minnesota needs another win from this Broncos team if they want to continue controlling their own destiny for an NFC North title. Should Denver win tonight, Minnesota needs to simply win their final three games in order to win the division for the second consecutive season.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.