Week 12 was not kind to the Vikings, who dropped below .500 and also fell out of a playoff spot.
Minnesota (5-6) will try to get back on track Sunday against Detroit (0-10-1).
Here's a look at where the Vikings rank heading into Week 13:
No. 14 (down 4 spots): Dan Hanzus – NFL.com
The Vikings have shown they can beat anyone in the NFL when they're on top of their game ... but consistency continues to elude Mike Zimmer's team. The Vikes jumped out to another seven-point lead on Sunday — they've done that in every game this season — but still found themselves on the wrong side of a one-score loss to the Niners, who now possess a potentially critical head-to-head tiebreaker in the race for a Wild Card bid in the NFC. The injury news is bad, as well: Dalvin Cook was carted off with a shoulder injury and listed by Head Coach Mike Zimmer as "day-to-day.". Alexander Mattison is a quality backup, but an extended absence on Cook's part will have a trickle-down effect on the entire operation.
Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Lions.
No. 16 (down 4 spots): Frank Schwab – Yahoo! Sports
Dalvin Cook … hasn't been ruled out for the rest of the season, but you have to assume he's only going to return if the Vikings are still in the playoff race when he's healthy. Even then it doesn't seem like a sure thing.
No. 20 (down 4 spots): Pete Prisco – CBS Sports
When Kirk Cousins needed to make plays against the 49ers, he couldn't make them. Now they can't afford anymore losses.
No. 16 (down 1 spot): NFL Staff – Bleacher Report
You had to know that the Minnesota Vikings would be involved in a close game in Week 12. Only one of their 11 games this season has been decided by double digits.
Unfortunately, as has been the case so many times in 2021, the Vikings came up just short, dropping back below .500 after allowing over 200 yards on the ground. That inability to stop the run was a killer in the opinion of Minnesota linebacker Eric Kendricks.
"They came with it," Kendricks told reporters afterward. "We knew that their run game was really good. Very complex, very confusing. They have a lot of people to block and open up for it. It was about eliminating that, and we didn't do it."
Thanks to a week in which the Vikings weren't the only fringe contender to take a loss, Minnesota is tied with Washington for the final playoff spot, although if the season ended today Minnesota would be watching the postseason from home.
But in addition to getting knocked from the postseason (albeit barely), the defeat could prove to be doubly costly. Star running back Dalvin Cook suffered a shoulder injury against San Francisco that leaves his status moving forward in doubt.
View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of Jan. 5, 2022.
No. 18 (down 5 spots): Albert Breer – Sports Illustrated
[All but one of Minnesota's] 11 games have been won or lost by a single possession. Maybe this week, in Detroit, that pattern will finally get broken.
No. 19 (down 5 spots): Vinnie Iyer – Sporting News
The Vikings lost another one-possession game to a strong team. In other news, Thanksgiving is in November and Christmas is in December. The Vikings defense is the big concern for Mike Zimmer as they try to maintain playoff status, giving Kirk Cousins and the offense little margin for error.
No. 14 (down 4 spots): Nate Davis – USA TODAY Sports
How long can they continue treading water without Pro Bowl RB Dalvin Cook? At least one week given Vikes next stop is Detroit.
No. 18 (down 2 spots): Courtney Cronin – ESPN.com
Note: ESPN looked at each team's current confidence rating compared to Week 6. ESPN Vikings reporter Courtney Cronin gave Minnesota a 5 out of 10 back then, and has the Vikings at a 6 right now.
Minnesota's 34-26 loss at San Francisco dropped its playoff chances from 78% to 40%, according to ESPN's FPI. My confidence rating in Week 12 is a point higher than it was in Week 6 because the Vikings have surpassed the hardest stretch of their schedule and are in good position for the No. 7 seed — with games left against the Lions, a downward-sliding Steelers team and two meetings with the Bears. But even with a manageable stretch to close out the schedule, nothing feels completely stable with a team whose narrative flip flops from playoff contender to a group in need of a complete overhaul with every win and loss, respectively.
No. 15 (down 2 spots): Mike Florio – Pro Football Talk
They'll possibly win just enough games to barely miss the playoffs.