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Three Takeaways From Vikings Disappointing New Year's Eve Loss

It was a New Year's Eve to forget for Minnesota Vikings fans --with massive playoff implications on the line, the club seemingly failed to show up.

Minnesota started rookie quarterback Jaren Hall following a couple of rough outings by veteran play-caller Nick Mullens. However, the Jaren Hall hype quickly faded as the Vikings only put up three first-half points while the Packers scored 23. 

The loss doesn't eliminate the Vikings from postseason contention, but it makes their path more difficult. The first thing on their list? Beat the Detroit Lions in the regular-season finale.

So what can we take away from the butt-kicking the Packers laid on the Vikings in Week 17? Here are three highlights (or low-lights) to take into the final week of the NFL's regular season.

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Starting QB Misery

As has been the case since Kirk Cousins went down with an injury in Week Eight, the Vikings failed to find stability in their starting quarterback.

Hall completed five of his ten passing attempts in the first half for 67 yards and one interception. The 25-year-old was also sacked three times for a loss of 28 yards. 

The offensive woes didn't go away once Nick Mullens took over to start the second half. He did throw a touchdown, which was set up following a great special teams play by NaJee Thompson.

Missing A Star Offensive Weapon

When you lose one of the highest-paid tight ends in the NFL, it's probably not going to go well for your offense -- and you could tell the Vikings were missing T.J. Hockenson in this game.

Hockenson had 90 catches for 960 yards and five touchdowns in 15 games this season. He is also one of Minnesota's top targets in need-to-have-it situations.

Johnny Mundt was expected to receive a bigger role against the Packers, and he was OK all things considered. Mundt finished the game with four catches for 39 yards and a touchdown.

I'm not sure the Viking's offense would've moved any better with Hockenson in the lineup, but his absence was notable.

Struggling Defense

For a few weeks, this Vikings' defense looked like one of the best in the National Football League. But since their shutout performance in Las Vegas, the Brian Flores-led unit has allowed 90 points.

While you hate to point to injuries (Green Bay's defense was also struggling with injuries in their secondary), Minnesota was without Marcus Davenport (IR), Dean Lowry (IR), D.J. Wonnum (IR), Troy Dye (IR), and starting cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. 

Regardless, Green Bay scored on six of their ten drives. Starting QB Jordan Love threw for 256 yards and three touchdowns. If Minnesota wants a chance to win in Week 18 against Detroit, they'll need to try and find a way to get a stop.

Final Thoughts

It was ugly for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Plain and simple. This team was never going to win the Super Bowl with the mess of backup quarterbacks that have been in and out of the lineup. But making a playoff appearance was almost expected after the five-game winning streak earlier this season.

Now we look ahead to a regular-season finale against the NFC North Champion Detroit Lions. Minnesota lost by a 30-24 score to the Lions in Week 16. Detroit forced four turnovers in that game. The Lions will also be fighting for the second seed in the NFC. 

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