Purple Headlines of the Week: Vikings QB Change Marks Franchise History, Ivan Pace’s Big Honors, Multiple Huge Milestones in Week 14

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

The Minnesota Vikings captured a 3-0 victory last weekend against the Raiders behind a heroic performance from their defense.

Now, the Vikings are preparing for a Week 15 date with the Cincinnati Bengals, and yet again, Minnesota will be making a QB change by starting Nick Mullens. Before that game gets going, here is a look at all the purple headlines of this past week.

Vikings QB Saga Leads to Franchise History

Purple Headlines
Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens (12) celebrates after the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings are making yet another QB change in Week 15 as they prepare for Saturday’s game against the Bengals.

Head coach Kevin O’Connell announced earlier this week that they are going to start Nick Mullens, and this means that Minnesota will have a fourth different starter under center this year. It is the first time in franchise history that the Vikings will start four QBs in a single season.

Previously, the Vikings had started three separate QBs in 12 other seasons before 2023, and most recently, they started three QBs in 2014 (Teddy Bridgewater, Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder). It’s certainly been a long QB saga for the Vikings this season, and hopefully, Mullens can prove to be the answer in O’Connell’s offense.

Ivan Pace Wins DPOW for Week 14

Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. (40) celebrates after an interception against the Las Vegas Raiders in the second half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

During Minnesota’s Week 14 win over the Raiders, Ivan Pace loaded up the stat sheet by putting together 13 total tackles, a sack, and an interception that essentially sealed the game for the Vikings in the fourth quarter.

For his efforts, Pace was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week, and he has proven to be up to the challenge of replacing Jordan Hicks in the starting lineup. Over the past three games, the rookie has piled up 31 tackles, 2.0 sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception.

For an undrafted rookie, it has been an extremely impressive stretch, and it seems that the Vikings have a solid future at the linebacker position as long as Pace is around.

Huge Week 14 Milestones for the Vikings

Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) warms up before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Multiple Vikings came away from Week 14 with huge franchise milestones.

Firstly, Justin Jefferson’s return to the field may have been short-lived, but his pair of receptions for 27 yards were enough to pass Randy Moss for the most receiving yards through four seasons in franchise history. Jefferson now sits at 5423 yards through his first four seasons while Moss recorded 5396 yards in his first four seasons from 1998-2001.

T.J. Hockenson also set the franchise record for most receptions by a tight end in a single season. The tight end caught five passes on Sunday, moving him to 85 receptions on the season. He passed Kyle Rudolph, who recorded 83 receptions during the 2016 season, which at the time broke a 35-year-old record that was held by Joe Senser.

And finally, Kevin O’Connell earned his 20th victory of his head coaching stint. This victory tied the franchise record for most wins through two seasons, which Denny Green set from 1992-93. O’Connell’s Vikings won 13 games during 2022, and now, they are up to seven wins through 2023 with four games remaining.

In Case You Missed It…

Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell walks on the field before the start of a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

As usual, we have an extra list of reading material picked out for the especially studious Vikings fans. Happy reading!

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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