The Minnesota Vikings got through the regular season, in the eyes of many people, on the back of a lot of luck. The team’s point differential more closely resembled a team with a record hovering around the .500 mark, not one that went 13-4 and ran away with the NFC North divisional title.
Throughout the regular season, the Vikings played close game after close game. They had only one victory all season that was decided by more than one possession and it came in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers.
Minnesota went 10-0 in the regular season in one-score games, as Kirk Cousins was incredible in the fourth quarter. He helped lead them to a lot of those wins, but in the playoffs against the New York Giants, that late-game magic ran out.
The Vikings lost 31-24 to the Giants on Super Wild Card Weekend, which has them going down in history. They became the first team to go undefeated in one-score games during the regular season only to lose in the Wild Card round by one score.
Offensively, there wasn’t much that the Vikings could have done differently to change the outcome of that game. Giants’ defensive coordinator Wink Martindale did an excellent job of scheming Justin Jefferson out of the game following the first drive. Adoree’ Jackson deserves a lot of credit as he shadowed Jefferson for nearly the entire game.
Cousins completed 31-of-39 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns. He took care of the ball and the offensive line was up to par, not allowing a single sack in the game.
During the Super Bowl era, 47 teams had completed at least 80 percent of their passes, surrendering zero sacks and not turning the ball over. Those teams went 47-0, making the Vikings the first team ever to reach those plateaus and lose the game.
You can be sure that defense will be the main focus of the Vikings this off-season. They were ripped to shreds by Daniel Jones, who threw for 301 yards and rushed for 78 as a one-man wrecking crew.
Their inability to stop a wide receiver group of Darius Slayton, Isaiah Hodgins and Richie James Jr., who also torched them on Christmas Eve in Week 16, shows just how much help they need to find in the secondary this offseason.