With all the focus on the Vikings offense in recent weeks, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the once-vaunted Minnesota defense suddenly stinks.
After holding the Lions to 13 points through 59 minutes and 37 seconds, the Vikings defense surrendered a field goal and a touchdown on back-to-back drives — the former with 23 seconds left in regulation and the rest on the first drive of overtime.
Long gone are the days of a suffocating pass rush, stout pass defense, and reliable tackling. The Vikings allowed the Lions to work their way down the field, converting third down after third down and ultimately surrendering on third and eight a 28-yard catch and run from receiver Golden Tate, which featured an uninspiring attempt by safety Harrison Smith to bring Tate to the ground or to knock him out bounds before he dove into the end zone for the win.
The Vikings have now lost three in a row after starting the season 5-0. A win by the Packers over the Colts will knot the rivals at 5-3 atop the NFC North, with the 5-4 Lions looming.
The Lions and Vikings continue their rivalry in 18 days, with a Thanksgiving contest at Ford Field. Between now and then, the Vikings have opportunities to win (or lose) at Washington and at home against the Cardinals.