Okay, so the Minnesota Vikings are 1-0-1, fun!
Nobody likes a tie, even when there was good to be seen and the comeback was great, there's still a lot of room for this team to grow.
Each week, after we post about some of the great things we saw, after we get our "The Morning After" post written and up on the website, we'll take a different look at the game, a bit of a more analytical look. Not because I want to be negative, I hate being negative. More so because I want to be real. We're all sitting here thinking about these things and some of the ways the team needs to improve if they want to go deep into the postseason this year. We're just here to highlight some of them, you know in hopes that Mike Zimmer reads this has some sort of an epiphany and then credits us with a Super Bowl ring for righting the wrongs throughout the season. It's that simple...
So here we go.
When do we start looking closer at Mike Priefer?
I'll get this out of the way, I like Mike Priefer. He's always been really kind to me, friendly to me and for the most part he's been good at his job. All of that said, he can't figure out this kicker situation. We've gone through multiple troubled kickers now and while I'm not sure how much of that really falls on the kicker compared to the coordinator, it cannot be ignored. One step further, the Vikings special teams had issues in the preseason, they didn't get better. Now that we are in the regular season seeing these issues continue (bad coverage, poor blocking leading to blocked punt) those things become concerning. I don't think that you cut bait with him two games in like people are calling to do with Carlson and Treadwell, but there needs to be some accountability and more importantly, there needs to be some improvement.
This isn't the first time that time management has been an issue...
Remember early on in the coaching career of Mike Zimmer when Rick Spielman pulled him aside and the pair ran through some role playing scenarios when it comes to clock management, ya know since Zimmer was a first time head coach and clock management was a new responsibility that he would have to do. That road was a little rocky early on with Zimmer. We saw some questionable decisions to close out halves and closeout games when it came to clock management. That popped up again this weekend at the end of the overtime session. While I wouldn't say that you should assume that an NFL kicker is going to miss from 35-yards, having missed two kicks on the day and struggeld through the preseason, your mentality should be to give Carlson as good of a chance as you possibly can. That means getting it to the middle of the field AND getting it as close as humanly possible to the goal line. If you score a touchdown along the way, so be it you can win that way too. The Vikings and Mike Zimmer made the decision to run the clock out at the end of the game with a timeout still in their pocket. Here's how the clock management went down after the two minute warning in OT.
- 2:00 - 3rd and 3 at the GB 36: 6 yard pass to Diggs (clock runs)
- 1:17 - 1st and 10 at the GB 32: Murray 9-year run (clock runs)
- :32 - 2nd and 1 at the GB 21: Murray 4 yard run to center the ball (clock runs)
- :04 - TIMEOUT MN
I can understand running the clock after that first play. Then, assuming that each play takes 7-10 seconds of active play, the Vikings wasted almost a minute of game time in which they could have gotten closer or scored a touchdown. Devil's advocate could say that you risk a turnover in that situation, so I ask you this. Would you trust veteran Latavius Murray when he knows he has to have two hands on the ball more than you would the rookie kicker who was 0-2 on the day? I got Murray all day long, get a few more yards, take the timeout then and *hopefully* win the game. But nothing is guaranteed.
Why is Mackensie Alexander on the field?
For real, there must be an answer that I don't see. I know the coaches see these players on a daily basis. I'm aware that these coaches have forgotten more about football than I could ever know. That's why I'm asking, I NEED someone to explain it to me? I've seen more of the back of his jersey than any player on roster...because he's always chasing the play, always turned around and always out of position. I'm sure Mike Hughes didn't play perfectly in week number 1, but it wasn't horrible and I for one would rather have Hughes learning on the fly than Alexander getting torched just because "he's a veteran".
Why isn't Iloka on the field?
Andrew Sendejo went all Andrew Sendejo on yesterday's game and stunk up the joint. Credit where credit is due, Sendejo had a good season last year, after many of us doubted him in that starting role. Then yesterday he went back to his risk taking, try to take someone's head off mode and cost the Vikings on multiple occasions. He got a penalty on one, whiffed on some others all because he was going for the big hit, trying to be too aggressive for the situation and seemingly not staying in his lanes. Iloka is in the fold. Iloka knows Zimmer's defense. Sitll he's only played on special teams through the first two weekend's on the season...what gives?
What to do with Laquon Treadwell?
Okay, I've last this long not uttering the name Laquon Treadwell...now it's time to go. We're done with this guy right? I mean he's only on the field because Jarius Wright is in Carolina and he has had the most experience of the remaining group fighting for WR3. There's no way you can convince me that he's the best wide receiver out of himself, Coley, Zylstra and Beebe? The dude can't catch, you can't rely on him, but man he must be a good run blocker because for some reason he's still on the field. That should change after this week with four drops, one leading to a tide shifting interception. Demote him, cut him, do whatever you want but it's time to admit that the wrong decision was made and move on rather than continue to 'struggle bus' with #11 and cost this team games.