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Lunchbreak: Analyzing Vikings Loss to Lions at Detroit

Records were set by the Vikings Sunday in Detroit, both in good ways and bad ones.

Wide receiver Justin Jefferson hauled in 11 catches for a career-high 223 yards, breaking a franchise regular-season record for receiving yards in a game. The previous benchmark was 210 yards by Sammy White in 1976.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins became the first NFL player in five seasons to complete at least 75 percent of his pass attempts, throw for 400 yards, have no interceptions and not come out victorious, according to ESPN.

Defensively, Minnesota allowed more than 400 yards for the fifth consecutive game, which is also a franchise record.

The Vikings suffered their third loss of the season, a 34-23 defeat to the Lions in a game where a victory for Minnesota would have meant clinching the NFC North division.

Matthew Coller of Purple Insider broke down Minnesota's loss and found several takeaways.

Coller said despite the Vikings getting starting cornerback Cameron Dantzler, Sr., back from Injured Reserve, the secondary struggled to contain the Lions receivers.

From the outset, it was bound to be a long day for the Vikings secondary. On the second drive, [Lions quarterback Jared] Goff threw a 41-yard touchdown to rookie Jameson Williams, who was running wide open in the Vikings defensive backfield.

The Lions attack wasn't just made up of a long Williams touchdown and a 48-yard TD to DJ Chark. They ended the day with eight receivers that had at least one catch of 10-plus yards.

"We need to take a look at what we can do to potentially help our guys be in a position to make more plays, be a little bit more aggressive possibly, but ultimately I think we need to generate more rush however we do it," Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell said. "Then just try to limit explosives. And what that looks like, it's a variety of things, but I think if we're doing our jobs effectively, we've got to take a look at it to try to improve our football team."

Coller added the Vikings defensive front could have dialed up the blitz against Goff, who averaged only 5.8 yards per pass attempt under pressure prior to Sunday, according to Pro Football Focus. Instead, Goff didn't get sacked and was hit just three times. He finished with a passer rating of 120.7.

Offensively, the Vikings weren't able to get much going in the ground game. Running back Dalvin Cook had 15 carries for just 23 yards, a touchdown and a fumble inside the Detroit 5-yard line. Alexander Mattison recorded just two attempts and lost a yard.

"We've tried to be consistent with it and have been able to grind out some 25, 27, 28-plus carry type of games that [result in] 4 or 5 [yards] a carry," O'Connell said. "It's one thing to not really have those explosives, but it's another thing to have the negatives. I think we had five today, so first and foremost, we've got to eliminate the negatives in the run game."

Coller noted a positive for Minnesota's offense was its ability to spread things out. He wrote:

Sunday's game was hardly the first time Jefferson has dominated, but it was the Vikings best all-around game with tight end T.J. Hockenson picking up 77 yards on six receptions, Adam Thielen gaining 65 yards and scoring a touchdown and K.J. Osborn getting into the mix with a touchdown as well.

"I think we're at our best when we can kind of get all of those guys contributing," O'Connell said. "We'll look to continue to do that in the weeks ahead."

CBS Sports Gives Out Grades for Week 14

After sweeping their division opponents at home earlier in the season, the Vikings dropped their first road contest in the NFC North Sunday.

John Breech of CBS Sports analyzed every game from Week 14 and provided grades for each team. Breech gave the Vikings a 'D' for their game. He wrote:

The Vikings defense has been having some serious issues over the past few weeks, and those issues continued in Detroit. For one, the defense surrendered more than 400 yards for the fifth straight game and the unit got crushed by big plays, including two TD passes of more than 40 yards.

Justin Jefferson, who finished with 11 catches for a franchise-record 223 yards, tried to carry the Vikings offense, but he got zero help from anyone else. The Vikings (10-3) have now lost three games this season, and all three of those have been by double-digits, which doesn't exactly give you much confidence about this team's chance of winning games come playoff time.