Sunday, January 2, 2011
Wrap-up: Lions 20, Vikings 13
By Kevin Seifert
A few thoughts from the regular-season finale at Ford Field:
What it means: On the final day of the season, the Detroit Lions escaped last place in the NFC North. For what it's worth, their victory Sunday gave them the tiebreaker necessary to be considered the third-place team. The Vikings finished in last place after a tumultuous season that started with three players begging quarterback Brett Favre to return and ended with the team hiring Leslie Frazier as its permanent head coach. Frazier went 3-3 in this tenure.
FavreWatch: As expected, Favre (concussion) was inactive and didn't play. He looked spry sprinting off the field at the end of the game, but by all appearances, his 20-year career is over. We should provide the usual caveat -- unless Favre changes his mind -- but age caught up with Favre in a hurry this season. The question now becomes whether a team would want him next season, not if he wants to play.
Lions pride: The Lions finished the year on a four-game winning streak, their longest since 1999. This will only raise expectations for next season, as it should. I don't think the Lions played substantially better in December than they did at other parts of the season. They were playing better than their 2-10 record showed, and finally a few breaks started going their way. This is a team that should expect to compete for a playoff spot in 2011.
WebbWatch: Vikings rookie quarterback Joe Webb came back to earth a bit, throwing a bad red-zone interception to Lions safety Amari Spievey and missing a wide-open Lorenzo Booker for what would have been a touchdown. If nothing else, Webb proved that he has more potential as a quarterback than originally contemplated. But I don't think anyone considers him a candidate to start for the Vikings in 2011.
What's next: The Lions head into the offseason with every bit of momentum imaginable. The Vikings, with nearly two dozen players nearing the expiration of their contracts, will have to reorganize quickly under Frazier.