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Lions vs. Vikings preview podcast: Can Detroit rattle Nick Mullens?

The Detroit Lions have struggled to defend the pass, but facing their first backup QB of the season, can they take advantage?

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest weakness for the Detroit Lions all season has been their pass defense. They currently rank 18th in passing yards allowed and 24th in passer rating allowed.

This week, against the Minnesota Vikings, they face an interesting challenge. While the Vikings offense boasts three extremely potent weapons in Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson, the starting quarterback will be Nick Mullens, who has 18 career starts in six years. He boats a career passer rating of 88.6 with 29 touchdowns and 26 interceptions.

But last week was an interesting datapoint. Mullen was highly efficient, completing over 78 percent of his passes for an impressive 9.2 yards per attempt. That said, he also threw two critical interceptions and would have had a third—a pick-six, no less—had it not been negated by an offsides penalty.

So how concerned should the Lions be of this pass offense this week? We chatted with Vikings writer Arif (pronounced “ah-REEF”) Hasan to provide some clarity.

“I don’t know that (Vikings coach) Kevin O’Connell is calling plays any differently for Mullens than he would for, say, Kirk Cousins. I think he’s basically calling the exact same offense,” Hasan told us. “But I think that Mullens doesn’t have the same armory of throws available to him. So you’re not going to see as many throws to the outside deep, because I don’t think he has the arm strength, necessarily.”

There’s also the issue of those mistakes

“Mullens put the ball in danger like a lot,” Hasan said.

Check out what Hasan had to say about the rest of the Vikings offense—including a breakout game from running back Ty Chandler—and just how confusing and unique Minnesota’s defense is.

You can listen to the entire preview podcast episode below, and don’t forget to follow Arif Hasan on Twitter (@ArifHasanNFL) and check out his substack.

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