by Mike Marek
The Vikings came into Monday’s game with everything in front of them. A win would skyrocket them to an anchor hold for the top wild-card spot in the NFC. A loss was sure to send them back with the rest of the also-rans in the conference. Of course, disaster struck, and the Vikings are left sitting here thinking, “what if?”
What we saw out of the Vikings’ offense on Monday night was nothing short of abysmal. They couldn’t get anything going. Realistically, they would have had a better chance of starting a fire in a Seattle downpour than finding their rhythm in this game.
When looking at the problem objectively it is easy to look at the maligned relationship between offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and head coach Mike Zimmer as the leading cause for the Vikings’ woes. Since Zimmer publicly commented a few weeks ago about Defilippo’s abandonment of the running game, the offense has been as flat as a tire left out in a Minnesota winter. My suggestion is that they either lock themselves in a room to settle their differences, attend marriage counseling, or bring in the Dalai Lama to moderate, because what they are doing now is not working.
Beyond the offensive issues, the Vikings’ defense continued to impress, which has left me with hope that this team may yet turn it around before it’s too late.
Danielle Hunter is the real deal, showing us again that he is among the league’s best pass rushers. Anthony Barr has finally realized he is in a contract year. All of the cornerbacks showed up and played great. As a combined unit they limited the Seahawks’ offense to less than 100 yards passing. These are great things, however, if things are going to progress the team needs the defense to continue to perform. They also need to find a different solution on special teams.
Going into the last three games of the season, I would like to set some ground rules for special teams unit. Rule number one, no more bringing the ball out of the end-zone. At best we get slightly past the 25-yard line, at worst we are stuck at the 15-yard line. From this day forth no more returns. The last thing the Vikings’ offense needs is worse field position. Rule number two, no more field goals. I know this sounds unreasonable, but each time we line up for a field goal, I now expect something to go wrong, and I am often proven right. Rule number three, it’s time to let Mike Priefer walk. I realize this isn’t a rule, but I think it might solve a large portion of the issues we have seen from the unit this year.
So, all the Vikings need to do is fix the special teams unit, give the offense a shot in the arm, and to continue to let the defense roll. If they manage to accomplish those three things the Vikings should be OK.
They host the Dolphins next week, head off to Detroit after, and close out with Chicago at home. Win out, and the playoffs await. Lose, and it’s going to be a long winter in Minneapolis. I am rooting for the former. That’s all, for now…