Before each game, our Vikings coverage team makes predictions graded on a 1-10 scale of difficulty. Leader at the end of the season covers the Christmas Eve game in Green Bay … and so does the loser.
With all due respect to our experts … all six picked the Vikings to beat the Bears. Having learned their lesson, they all picked the Vikings to beat the Lions. How creative they got with their picks is in the eye of the beholder:
The longest run for the Vikings this season has been a 29-yarder by Matt Asiata a couple of games ago. Jerick McKinnon, who expects to return to the lineup against the Lions, is due for a big one. Look for McKinnon to pop a run of 50 yards or more and also become the first Vikings back in 10 games to rush for triple digits.
Degree of difficulty: 4. A Viking runs for more than 100 yards in a game? Cubs win World Series? 70 degrees in November? This is one crazy month.
If the Vikings win, we’ll spend next week calling Pat Shurmur a genius. If the Vikings lose, we’ll spend next week calling Pat Shurmur an idiot. Vikings give up 12 sacks but win 4-2 in overtime. See, Norv was the problem, after all.
Degree of difficulty: 8. There are 1,275 possible scores to an NFL game (if teams score 50 or fewer points) and only once has a team scored four points in a game. I did all the research on that myself, by the way, and if Google says otherwise IT’S BECAUSE OF WIDESPREAD VOTER FRAUD.
Linebacker Chad Greenway starts for the injured Eric Kendricks. The vet allows a touchdown grab to Lions running back Theo Riddick in the first half before sealing a close game on a fourth-quarter interception.
Degree of difficulty: 5. You can tell Andrew put a lot of thought into the specific scenarios of this, which makes me wonder if he should be fired.
Pat Shurmur does what Norv refused to do — help his tackles and keep defenses off-balance — and the Vikings throw the ball effectively and win, 29-18.
Degree of difficulty: 6 … If that prediction means Blair Walsh will kick five field goals. 3 if it means Walsh kicks three field goals and misses an extra point. 9 if it means Walsh kicks nine field goals and the Vikings get a safety.
The Vikings can change coordinators but the same offensive line remains — minus Alex Boone this week. Norv Turner’s departure doesn’t fix that. Expect Pat Shurmur to call more quick-hitting pass plays to mitigate his line deficiencies. The offense will struggle to score points but the Detroit Lions are the Detroit Lions so look for the Vikings to end their losing streak.
Degree of difficulty: 1. If you followed Chipper on Twitter during Saturday’s Gophers-Purdue game, you saw a combination of outrage, disgust, analysis, exasperation and demands for a Congressional investigation into targeting. All in the first five minutes.
Everyone expects the Vikings to come out with a short, rhythm passing game in the wake of the change at offensive coordinator. But it will be deep passes and a 100-yard rushing day for Jerick McKinnon that end up saving the day for Sam Bradford and the Vikings.
Degree of difficulty: 5. If you follow Randball on Twitter, you know he started off on a five-mile jog in Saturday’s incredible weather and ended up running 13 miles “by mistake” — which made the four beers he threw down upon return to his house “OK” considering the “incredible amount of barley depletion” he suffered. Not sure if Mrs. Randball, due to deliver Baby Randball No. 2 any moment now, approved of the “three-hour power nap” that followed, though.