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The Vikings are facing their most important opponent thus far on Sunday in the 2-1 Detroit Lions (Who were about a half an inch away from being 3-0 last Sunday). The Vikings went 0-2 against the Lions last year (in some SUPER close games) and definitely need to start their division play on the right foot Sunday by beating a pretty good Lions team. According to MyBookie.Ag, the Vikings are yet again about 3 point favorites against a home opponent. That’s great news considering, as you all know, the Vikings are without their starting quarterback yet again. On the purpleJOURNAL Podcast we have an ongoing contest where we predict the score(s) of that week’s game and whoever comes closest, wins. We discussed how difficult it is to predict how the Vikings will play because of the uncertainty at the quarterback position and the fact that Case Keenum is (historically) an all or nothing quarterback. It looks like Vegas is just as confused as we are as the 2.5 point spread essentially means the game is a toss-up (considering the home team gets spotted 3-points… Which could mean that they’re thinking the Lions might win?). That’s actually a pretty good sign considering how highly the national media thinks of Detroit and the status of the Vikings quarterback situation.

Either way, the Vikings really need to get a win Sunday to show the league that they’re (A For real and B) The class of the NFC North. I haven’t been watching a ton of NFL coverage on television (aka ESPN/NFL Network) but I figure they’re not covering the Vikings much. I just checked ESPN’s Week 4 power rankings and came across the following that actually sort of surprised me:

I find it surprising that the justifications for both the “Number Four” Packers and “Number Eight” Lions talk about an upcoming game against the Vikings. Think about that, this is Vikings team that has a backup quarterback and played terrible against the Steelers but still has the number two and three receiver(s) in the league in terms of yards in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. That’s amazing. That backup, Case Keenum, is coming off of the BEST GAME of any quarterback this season and that’s actually got the league on notice (again, see the write-ups for the Lions and Pack), the … Opposite of a silver lining (an aluminum lining?) is that Keenum does this. He’s a boom or bust sort of guy and while that is something you want from your backup (As he’ll lose the tough games, badly, but win the other games, amazingly (as opposed to a mediocre backup that’d lose both games in a respectful fashion)). Those are the words of purplePTSD Writer and purpleJOURNAL Podcast writer Luke Braun, who essentially made be a lot more nervous about Sunday’s game than I otherwise would’ve been.

This is a Vikings team, remember, so hopefully Keenum can build off of last week and continue playing the best football of his career but the odds are that he’ll fall back to earth now that the Lions have tape on him and the fact that he doesn’t really know the entire playbook (so offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur limited the playbook and gave him a simple audible option that any defensive coordinator should be able to pick up on now). However, he does have the BEST (Yeah, I said it) wide receiver duo in the league and the best rookie running back snagging 30 touches a game. With this defense and its familiarity with the Lions/Stafford/Tate IIXVII and an offense that has surprised everyone (except me), they do have a good chance of winning this game. The Lions aren’t as good as their record shows as they’ve been winning games really just by luck and chance (missed interceptions, weird bounces, etc.) and that’s not something that is sustainable. It’s a lot like how the Vikings started in 2016 and hopefully, the 2017 Vikings can help bring this Lions team back to reality by stomping them at home and beginning their division play on that right foot.