The story of today’s game in Minnesota was simple

Vikings brought a relentless pass rush on Matthew Stafford Cheap
Ziggy Ansah Jersey
, and the Lions had no answer.Stafford was
sacked a career-high 10 times, as the Lions’ offensive line struggled to give
him time and Stafford struggled to find anyone open when he did have time. The
Lions traded away their leading receiver, Golden Tate, last week, and Stafford
appeared to miss him. Detroit’s offense was never really in sync, and when
Stafford attempted to pitch the ball to Kerryon Johnson in the fourth quarter,
only to have the unsuspecting Johnson fail to corral it and the Vikings pick up
the fumble and score, that sealed Detroit’s loss.Vikings quarterback Kirk
Cousins was far from great, and he threw one very ugly interception, but he
didn’t have to do much on a day when the Lions’ offense couldn’t do anything.
The Vikings’ offense appeared to miss the injured wide receiver Stefon Diggs,
and Adam Thielen‘s streak of consecutive 100-yard receiving games came to an end
as he only had 22 receiving yards.Minnesota’s 24-9 win improves the Vikings’
record to 5-3-1, and they’re doing their best to keep pace with the Bears in the
NFC North race. The Lions fall to 3-5, and they appear to be heading toward last
place. To borrow a phrase from one of my colleagues:WHATJUSTHAPPENED?The Detroit
Lions traded away Golden Tate—a centerpiece of their offense for 4.5 years—for a
third-round pick.I’ll be honest, I didn’t take any of the trade rumors
seriously. These kind of things pop up every single year, and although the Lions
didn’t show any serious signs of re-signing the 30-year-old receiver, it didn’t
make all that much sense to me to ship him, especially after making an
aggressive move last week by adding Damon Harrison Sr. to the team. While I’m
being honest, it’s hard to get over the emotional loss here. Tate has been a joy
to watch on the field, and he’s been one of the most entertaining off it. He’s
one of the few members of the locker room that will stand by and talk openly for
all 45 minutes of the media session. No bullshit. No coach-speak. He’ll say
what’s on his mind and let you sit with it. Even if I wasn’t writing a story
about him ,
I’d often stand there next to him just to hear someone speak candidly for once.
But let’s put the emotions aside for a minute and offer my quick thoughts.Are
the Lions trying to contend this year or not?Tomorrow, Matt Patricia is expected
to talk to the media, as he does every Wednesday. He’ll almost certainly say
that this changes nothing about the 2018 season and that the team’s goals remain
the same: win the division, win a playoff game, win the championship. Detroit is
only a game behind the NFC North lead, and by trading for Damon Harrison Sr.—a
29-year-old defensive tackle—it looked like they were prepared to make a jump
towards contender.But this move suggests they’re more concerned about 2019 and
beyond. Golden Tate led all Lions receivers in targets, receptions, receiving
yards and plays of 20+ yards this season. He’s clearly developed a chemistry
with Matthew Stafford, and his loss will undoubtedly send shockwaves through
Detroit’s offense. There’s no doubt the team is worse off in 2018 now without
Tate, and coming off such a poor performance against the Seahawks, you have to
think Detroit could be headed for a long November and December.So what was that
“Snacks” trade all about?Well, I think we need to reevaluate what that trade was
about. And our friend Brian Phillips from Pats Pulpit put it nicely earlier on
Tuesday:The Lions had a need at nose tackle, and one that wasn’t going away any
time soon. Ricky Jean Francois wasn’t going to be the answer beyond 2018. So the
Lions saw a desperate Giants team, and a 350-pound fit that is locked up through
the 2020 season. This wasn’t a “we’re contenders now” move, it was just a solid
roster building piece for the next 2.5 seasons. So was it all worth it?Well, if
you ask our own Kyle Yost, he thinks this is a brain-over-heart move. If we’re
talking about plain value, a third-round pick for Golden Tate is a decent return
for an expiring contract and a player who has likely peaked. It was more than
the Broncos got for Demaryious Thomas, who is also 30 years old Matt
Prater Jersey
, but much less productive over the past few seasons.
But is a third-round pick worth essentially throwing the 2018 season? I’m just
not so sure. I wasn’t ready to give up on this team’s chances for the season, no
matter how poor their performance was last week. And as much as we all love
draft picks, you’ll be lucky to find a starter in the third round. But,
compensatory pick? Now, a lot of people—myself included—have rallied against
this move on the basis that Detroit could likely pull in at least a fourth-round
compensatory pick should they just let him go in free agency. However, that’s a
little misleading. The Lions are set to have a boatload of cap room next
offseason, meaning they’ll likely be quite active in the free agency process. If
that’s the case, the additions are quite likely to offset their losses, and they
may not get any compensatory picks despite losing Tate.All that being said, I’m
just not sure why everyone was so closed to the idea of extending Tate. Sure, he
would’ve required a boost in salary, but the Lions have all the aforementioned
salary cap room, Kenny Golladay is still on a rookie deal, and Tate’s efficiency
hasn’t slowed yet. Zac Snyder made a convincing argument for re-signing him
here. Not done yet?The only way I’d get behind this trade is if something else
is happening behind the scenes before the trade deadline. The trade creates
nearly $4 million in cap space, and the Lions also did something else to make
some more room: If there’s a big defensive player coming to Detroit, I’ll at
least understand this move better. If not, I’m left scratching my head.
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