8 Reactions to the Vikings’ Devastating Loss vs. the Packers

Dec 31, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) looks on before the game against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

2023 ended about as poorly as it started for the Minnesota Vikings: with a blowout loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Both Green Bay and Minnesota came in needing a win to improve their hopes of making the playoffs, and ultimately, it would be Green Bay who rolled to a 33-10 victory over the Vikings. Here are 8 reactions to what was likely a season-ending loss for Minnesota.

1. At Least We Know with Jaren Hall

8 Reactions
Dec 31, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall (16) throws a pass as Green Bay Packers linebacker Preston Smith (91) pursues during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings were hoping rookie QB Jaren Hall would be able to provide a spark for the offense, but that simply did not happen on Sunday night. After falling down by a score of 23-3, Minnesota made the change back to Nick Mullens. While the loss is ugly, at least we know that the Vikings absolutely need to make a move for a young QB in the draft.

2. Defense Is in Shambles

Dec 31, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jayden Reed (11) scores a touchdown as Minnesota Vikings safety Josh Metellus and safety Camryn Bynum (24) attempt to make the tackle during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings came into this game without a number of starters on the defensive side of the ball, including OLB D.J. Wonnum, who was placed on IR following Week 16. Minnesota had absolutely no answers for Green Bay’s offense on Sunday. The defensive backs couldn’t keep up with the young wide receivers, and when Brian Flores sent pressure, the Packers did a great job of stifling the pass-rush.

3. The First Blowout Loss of the Season

Dec 31, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) and guard Jon Runyan (76) react after a touchdown by Love against the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into Sunday night, 14 of Minnesota’s first 15 games had been decided by one possession. Their only game that wasn’t close, ironically, was their first game against the Packers back in Week 8 when they won 24-10. After looking completely outmatched by better teams in 2022, the Vikings had done a great job of hanging in games throughout 2023 even if some of them resulted in losses. Sunday was a reversion back to those old blowout loss ways.

4. NaJee Thompson Provides a Spark

Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback NaJee Thompson (11) warms up before a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

No one could have told NaJee Thompson to stop trying even when the game was 30-3 in the second half. The special teams ace continued to compete and made a couple big plays in punt coverage, including a forced fumble to set up the Vikings with a red zone opportunity.

5. Cornerback Is an Offseason Need

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Dec 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on before the game against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The last couple weeks have proven that Minnesota needs more help at the cornerback position. Without Murphy, Akayleb Evans could not hold up in coverage, and Camryn Bynum was forced to take snaps at the position with no one else providing any production. Once again, the Vikings need to look for a playmaking CB this offseason.

6. Turnovers Change the Game Yet Again

Dec 31, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall (16) passes against the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

If we could sum up the 2023 Minnesota Vikings in one word, it would be turnovers. Yet again, an early turnover forced the Vikings to play catch-up throughout the game and allowed the Packers to take risks that they likely wouldn’t have if it had been a closer contest.

7. Packers Shut Down Jefferson

Dec 31, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) catches a pass against the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Jefferson had some major struggles getting open in Minnesota’s Week 17 blowout loss to the Packers in 2022, and it was a very similar story in 2023. He was held to a very modest output, catching just five passes for 59 yards.

8. Playoff Hopes Are Just About Dead

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Dec 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell celebrates after Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandlers (32) touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings technically aren’t eliminated from postseason contention yet, but they need a ton of help in Week 18 to make the tournament. Even if they somehow make the dance, it’s hard to believe that this team is built for a run. It’s time to start looking to 2024.

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.

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