The Vikings have lost two games in a row but Sunday's game against Detroit will mark one month since the last time anyone has seen them play playoff-caliber football. The last time that happened was Oct. 9 at Houston.
Back-to-back duds against the Eagles and Bears followed by Norv Turner up and leaving has left a sour taste, but like Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times says: "For a franchise that has beaten the odds so far, what’s one more surprise?"
Farmer might be right. The Vikings went 5-0 without Teddy Bridgewater, Adrian Peterson and starting tackles Matt Kalil and Andre Smith. And Cameron DaSilva of Fox Sports believes the Vikings' 31st-ranked rushing attack and 29th-ranked passing game will only improve now that Turner's "outdated" offense is gone.
"I’d expect the Vikings’ offense to take a step forward without Turner and his old-school style of offense. Shurmur is much more suited to the Vikings’ situation, with a depleted offensive line and lack of an every-down back. He’ll elevate the play of Bradford, who’s better when he gets rid of the ball quickly rather than taking shots downfield."
But adding injury to insult is left guard Alex Boone, who has been ruled out for the game, putting more pressure on an already struggling offensive line.
For The Win argues that the Vikings were never as good as a 5-0 record indicated, citing Minnesota's reliance on the defense: "In simple terms, when the defense doesn’t play out-of-its-mind good, the team is in trouble."
The Vikings' next four games include home games against Detroit (4-4) and Arizona (3-4-1) and road games against Washington (4-3-1) and Detroit. All of them are winnable, but equally losable.
A loss Sunday to Detroit will likely mean a tie atop the NFC North because Green Bay (4-3) is a heavy favorite at Lambeau Field against the lowly Colts (3-5).