Vikings going back to QB Nick Mullens for must-win game against Lions

The Vikings need to win and need help to clinch a playoff spot

The Minnesota Vikings will be going back to Nick Mullens for their must-win Week 18 game against the Detroit Lions.

"Nick has been very effective moving the team. We've been very explosive as an offense when he's been in there," head coach Kevin O'Connell said Wednesday. "Nick knows that the one area that we must focus on is the possession of the football and not giving the football away."

After the Green Bay Packers built a 23-3 halftime lead on Sunday, Mullens replaced Jaren Hall at quarterback and went 13-for-22 for 113 yards and a touchdown in the 33-10 loss.

This will be Mullens' third start for the Vikings this season. His last one led O'Connell to turn to Hall for Week 17. The Christmas Eve game against the Lions ended with Mullens throwing for 411 yards but also four interceptions in a 30-24 defeat.

Week 18 playoff picture.
Week 18 playoff picture.

This is the fifth quarterback change O'Connell has made since Kirk Cousins tore his Achilles tendon in late October.

While Sunday's regular-season finale is must-win, a victory wouldn't guarantee the Vikings a playoff spot. They will also need plenty of help for the two scenarios in which the postseason is a possibility.

The Vikings need to win and hope for losses by the Packers, Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers or win and hope the Packers, Seahawks and New Orleans Saints lose. If neither happens, it will be the third time in four seasons that they will have missed the playoffs.