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Lions’ Dan Campbell: These Vikings are better than 13-win team

The 2022 Vikings had major flaws on defense.
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The 7-7 Vikings of 2023 are better than the 2022 Vikings that went 13-4?

That's what Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell thinks... 

"I do think this is a better team than we faced last year," Campbell said this week. "I get it, they don't have [Kirk Cousins]. But they ask the quarterback to do what they do well, manage the game, get the ball to your playmakers and this defense is much better."

Cousins was playing at an MVP-caliber pace when he ruptured his Achilles at Lambeau Field two days before Halloween. Since then the Vikings have started Jaren Hall once, Josh Dobbs four times and Nick Mullens will get his second start Sunday against Detroit. 

Despite the chaos, which includes losing star receiver Justin Jefferson for eight games and edge rusher Marcus Davenport for all but four games, the Vikings have found ways to stay in the hunt. Entering Sunday, Minnesota sits seventh in the NFC playoff race and has a chance to move back up to sixth with a win over the Lions. A win would also keep them in the hunt for the NFC North crown, though to win the division title they'll need to win out and have the Lions fall in Dallas next week. 

"It's not going to be easy," Campbell said of playing in Minneapolis. "On the road, and I think more than anything, we gotta keep everything simple and just function at a high level. Efficient. We cannot make mistakes. We do that, then we will come home with [the division title]."

Dan Campbell

Dec 3, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell looks on during warmups before the game against the New Orleans Saints at Caesars Superdome.