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Additional Minnesota Viking Commentary

2-Point Conversion  
There may have been numerous turning points in the game played versus the Lions yesterday that lost this Vikings franchise the game, however there are key decisions that must be made by coaches, at the end of games, that would have significantly influence the outcome of this game and numerous other games.  

Take for example the end of the Colts contest yesterday.  If it were the Vikings, it would be in their history to run the ball to kill the clock.  Well they might have been a running team in the past but how often did we look at a 2nd & 9 or a 2nd & 8 after getting stacked up at the line with Adrian Peterson.  Yesterday  the Colts provided a blue print to close out the game that was unstoppable.  It is a mistake to think that you have to run the ball for the sole purpose of keeping the clock running.  In fact it is this thought alone that tends to blind coaching a coaching staff to what should be the overall objective.  The only overall objective is to secure a first down or to secure successive first downs.  If a ball is caught in bounds, and the receiver is tackled in bounds, the clock runs.  Today coaches are paralyzed with fear that they cannot pass to kill the clock because one of their highly paid players might drop the ball refusing to understand that if they do ... that receiver is going to end up on the bench.  

Why was the Colts blueprint of passing to kill the clock so effective?  Well it is for numerous reason.  First, the defense is pre-occupied & pre-disposed with filling gaps first & foremost ... falling for play action ... which opens up passing lanes,  In short the blueprint attacks weaknesses & ignores the objections of the press that we must lose with dignity.  It is also because you have three passing opportunities to secure that first down.  Imagine the-heart-stab-to-the-defense after securing a 2nd & 3 or 2nd & 4 after passing the ball on first down.  To be direct, there is no difference between three completed passes that fail to secure a 1st down & 3 stacked up runs, however the odds of securing the 1st down are much greater if you pass the ball in this situation.  So, what it comes down to is ... did you execute or didn't you.  On the other hand, if you have three straight incomplete passes, the press is going to eat that coach alive, which is their job, as there are 31 other franchises that deserve the title in the minds of these ravaging dogs they call the press,  Somehow, our coaches have to get past this fear & paralysis.  One other point to consider is I'd rather learn of the shortcomings of a receiver or my quarterback failing to execute in a regular season game rather than in the playoffs or in the worlds biggest game.   

So there's 23 seconds on the clock.  Blair Walsh missed an extra point & had a field goal blocked.  Really ... these failures were in fact gifts handed to Mike Zimmer.  With these two obvious failures he could have called on his offense for a 2-point conversion ... but he didn't.  He allowed this obvious opportunity to pass him by like a thief in the night.  Instead, he enabled his kicker, to get him back on track instead of sending a message to everyone on this squad.  If my kicker cannot be relied upon then we'll have to have everyone else pick up the slack to get the job done.  This is exactly what they teach you in basic training which sends a clear message that everyone has to do their part and if they can't then someone else is going to have to do double duty.  The mistake Zimmer made had nothing to do with Blair Walsh having to face the press.  Blair Walsh had to face his peers unprotected, for his inability to execute, which in allot of ways is worse than missing any kick.  In Walsh's mind he must be made to think, "These guys had to cover for me".  There's a distinct difference here.  

So what if Zimmer's offense didn't convert the 2 point conversion.  We'll there is one thing for certain, with only a 2-point lead with 23 seconds left, there is no question that Zimmer would have to rely on what got his team where it was at that moment.  His defense wouldn't be playing a prevent 3-man line defense but would in fact be playing the best hand that it had.  PRESSURE DEFENSE.  There was almost an entire decade of football played where the Prevent Defense was used where the only thing that it did is prevent your team from winning.  On the other hand, with 23 seconds left, if the Vikings had converted the 2-point conversion, it would have taken nothing short of a miracle to lose the game with a 4 point lead with Detroit having no time outs.  

Did Coach Zimmer make a mistake not going for the 2-point conversion?  Well in my opinion only ... he did, because he failed to make a key influential decision rather than doing what he thinks everyone else would do.  What I understand, without question, is that Mike is still new at being a head coach where the experience of this loss will teach him that when you have the opportunity of breaking the knife off, in someone's belly, YOU DO IT.  Instead he nursed a 3-point lead, against a very capable quarterback, with numerous receiving threats, knowing that the opposing team had a kicker that hold the NFL record for the longest field goal in history.  Personally, I like when a coach takes responsibility for losing because it is usually followed by, "but I'll never make that mistake again".  In short, "We aren't going to die like everyone wants us to ... how everyone expects us to.  We are going to die on our terms ... not yours".  

Charles Johnson is probably the nicest kid in the world but there are several notes of interest.  You snatched him off the practice squad of Cleveland and more importantly he'd not producing on the field.  It's time to give our number 1 pick his opportunity.  There is one axiom that applies here ... you never know unless you give it a try.  -

The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: November 7, 2016