Akayleb Evans’ Terrible Game Gets Him Benched, Costs Vikings in Loss

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings lost to the Detroit Lions 30-24 on Christmas Eve Sunday, giving the Lions their first division title in 30 years, and there’s plenty of blame to go around.

Obviously, the first slice of blame pie goes to Nick Mullens and it’s well deserved. Throwing four interceptions in a game makes it really difficult for your team to win. He’s now thrown six INTs in just two starts.

CB Akayleb Evans rides struggle bus vs Lions

But one player on defense who struggled vs the Lions was 2nd year cornerback, Akayleb Evans. Minnesota’s secondary was vulnerable all day, and part of that has to do with injuries.

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The Vikings lack proven talent in their cornerback room, when healthy. So when your CB1, Byron Murphy Jr is ruled out, it didn’t take a fortune-teller to see possible issues in pass defense.

For Evans, however, mistakes went beyond his coverage ability and leaked into his tackling. It started when Detroit running back, Jhamir Gibbs stole his soul on this juke move in the 3rd quarter and only got worse from there…

I mean, how can you be made at Akayleb Evans for what happened there? Embarrassed would be the more logical emotion. He has to deal and think about this play forever. It looks like someone hit him with a taser.

It would get worse for Evans, though. By the end of the 4th quarter, he would find himself on the sideline standing next to defensive coordinator Brian Flores like a pouting child being punished for not being able to play nicely on the playground.

Evans benched after horrendous tackle “attempt”

Why was Akayleb Evans benched? We can’t know for sure yet. But… I’d imagine it has something to do with this tackle “attempt” on Amon-Ra St. Brown.

I mean, what even happened here? Is this how you tackle after having your soul stolen by Jahmir Gibbs on your previous attempt? I’m not sure, but either way, his absence hurt.

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Because Evans was so bad, Jaylin Williams — who was just activated off the practice squad for this game — was forced into action. On the final drive of the game Jared Goff picked on Williams multiple times, taking full advantage of a practice squad talent trying to play with the big boys.

Minnesota Vikings defense pays for Evans benching

Jaylin also committed a crucial illegal contact penalty on a 4th quarter 3rd down that would’ve gotten the Vikings defense off the field.

So I’m not sure what the hell happened to Akayleb Evans on Sunday but, with Byron Muphy Jr out in the biggest game of the season, he picked the worst possible time to lose his mental edge and wind up on the sidelines next to Flores.

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