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Here's How The Minnesota Vikings Can Win In Week 18

It's been a rough road for the Minnesota Vikings since the BYE week in early December. The team has only won one game since their break (the not-so-exciting 3--0 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders). 

Since that Vegas game, the Vikings have dropped three straight, including a very disappointing loss on New Year's Eve to the Green Bay Packers

Now -- the road to the playoffs is a difficult one for Minnesota. We'll get into the specifics later, but the number one job? Beat the Detroit Lions. Here are three keys to a Vikings victory in Week 18.

Before we get into the article, make sure to check out NFL Shop! has all of the best Minnesota Vikings fan gear!

A Solid Starting Quarterback Outing

Since Kirk Cousins went down with his injury, Minnesota has struggled to find stability in their starting quarterback. Josh Dobbs looked like the answer for a couple of weeks but seemingly fell apart in the game against the Raiders. Then it was Nick Mullens turn to lead the offense, but he couldn't stop turning the ball over. Finally, it came time for the rookie, Jaren Hall, to make a start. However, that didn't last long, as he was benched after one half.

So where do the Vikings go now? At the time of publishing, Kevin O'Connell has mentioned he knows who will be starting at quarterback this Sunday but has declined to make the information public. 

Regardless of who starts behind center for the Vikings, they need to limit their turnovers, hit wide-open receivers and just give the team a chance to win near the end. 

Defense Needs To Step Up

There was a time earlier this season when the Minnesota Vikings were fielding one of the league's top defensive units. That's not the case as we enter Week 18. The Vikings have allowed 90 points in their last three games. That's not really a recipe for success. 

Sure, you can blame injuries. It seems a new player is added to the injured reserve every week, but that's something the entire league has to deal with. 

If Minnesota wants a shot at the final playoff spot (and the chances are pretty slim), they'll need their defense to hold up against the Lions. Maybe even force a turnover or two.

Next Man-Up Mentality

As mentioned above, the Vikings have a lot of players dealing with injuries. They're already without starting QB Kirk Cousins and several defensive starters, including Dean Lowry, Marcus Davenport, D.J. Wonnum, and Troy Dye. 

But one could argue the player they missed the most last week was tight end T.J. Hockenson. Hockenson leads the team in receiving years with 960 and is key on a lot of need-to-have-it downs. While Johnny Mundt was OK in the role he played in Week 17. But Minnesota will need a bigger outing from him and Josh Oliver this weekend.

It's been 'next man up' for Minnesota all season long, and it's even more important to have that mentality entering Week 18.

How The Vikings Can Make The Playoffs

If the Vikings are going to make the postseason, here is what needs to happen on Sunday:

  1. The Vikings need to win over Detroit

  2. AND Arizona wins over Seattle

  3. AND Chicago wins at Green Bay

  4. AND either Atlanta wins at New Orleans OR Carolina wins at Tampa Bay

That's a lot that needs to go their way, but if they fail to beat the NFC North Champions, none of it will matter.

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