Dead or Alive: 3 Reasons to Watch the Vikings This Weekend

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Although the odds of the Detroit Lions moving into the 2nd seed in the NFC is slim, it would be silly to assume Dan Campbell would be sitting his hungry squad in the season finale. 

As for the Vikings, we would need the Seahawks, Packers and EITHER the Buccaneers or Saints to lose. So, to say we are playing for nothing would be ignorant. However, if you’re not as optimistic as I am, here are 3 reasons to watch the Vikings in their season finale against the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon at Ford Field.

1. An Alexander Mattison Milestone

3 reasons
Nov 19, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) before the game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Alexander Mattison needs 94 rushing yards on Sunday to notch 750 yards on the year, which would earn him a $250k incentive bonus. Despite his decreased productively in the previous few weeks, I expect a heavier dosage of him on Sunday.

Now, do I think he will hit 94 yards on the game? The simple answer to that is no. But, as I stated earlier, a healthier, more motivated Mattison might see an uptick in production.

2. Nick Mullens’ Attempt to End on a High Note

Dec 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens (12) looks to pass against the Detroit Lions during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Mullens leaving the fans a positive image of the Vikings as we ascend into the darkness of the offseason. With the quarterback position up for question this offseason, I think it is safe to assume Mullens won’t be at the helm.

However, under contract for another year, Mullens will be looking to solidify himself as the bonafide backup in 2024. If my hypothesis comes true, Kirk will be back on a team friendly extension, we might have a first or second day QB drafted as well as Jaren Hall going into his second year.

If this is true, the QB room will be full and all will, besides Kirk, will be viably playing for their job. I think Mullens balls out on Sunday and slings the rock for 290 yards and a win.

3. Harrison Smith’s Final Game?

NFL: Minnesota Vikings Training Camp
Aug 5, 2023; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) during training camp at Twin Cities Orthopedic Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

An ode to our king and his potential last game in purple. Playing in his 175th start as a Minnesota Viking, Harrison Smith might be suiting up for his final time. Now, as much as it pains me to write this, Harrison’s $19.2 million cap hit in 2024 does not seem reasonable for a 35-year-old legend. 

Harrison Smith could of course agree to new terms if he wanted to stay, which I am positive all fans would accept with open arms. But the reality of it is, would Harrison want to do that? I’d like to think optimistically and say yes.

With a vastly improved defense and a possibility of bringing Brian Flores back next year, I would hope this isn’t the end for 22 in purple. But the reality is that it might be. Either way, he’s surely played himself into the Vikings ring of Honor and potentially a Gold jacket at the end of the day. So, when you flick on the T.V. Sunday, make sure to fully appreciate Harry the Hitman and all he’s done for us in the past 12 years.