Quality win last night. Regardless of the opponent it is hard to win three games in a row in the NFL, let alone three divisional games.
If you read the blog you know that I will raise my hand and highlight where I went wrong. It’s part of the process. On the flip side, when I am right, I will gloat. Yesterday, I wrote this:
According to SI.com, “Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is 0-for-9 on Monday Night Football and 0-for-3 against the Chicago Bears since he came to Minnesota…”.
Curses are meant to be broken, and tonight is the night! Kirk is going to have a good game, not mistake free, but a good game. This game, as well as every other game for the rest of this season, is a make or break game for the Vikings, when it comes to their playoff lives. They are matching up against a Bears defense that is ruthless up front and is going to force Kirk to beat them to get his first win on Monday night… Maybe I am a gluten for punishment and pain, but I think the Vikings are going to win by a touchdown and hit the over 43.5. Stats don’t matter tonight, it’s going to be a wild ride.
So I didn’t hit the over… fine. Although, I stick by the pick because both teams had missed opportunities late that would have covered, so I don’t regret the pick. Betting and picking aside, here are my thoughts on the Vikings as a critical fan. I have broken them down to three categories.
- Offensive consistency
- Defensive pressure
If I were Mike Zimmer, those would be the three main areas of focus leading into week 11. The offense needs to be consistent in their production. Receivers need to complete catches when the ball is thrown well, and they need to hold on to the ball. There also needs to be a level of accountability on holding calls which take away big plays, stop momentum and put them in long down and distance situations. I think these things are easy to take care of, they just take continued discipline and paying attention to details.
I thought the Vikings did a great job dialing up pressure when situations called for it. My only critique / concern is when we get a lead, those pressures are sometimes swapped out for passive zone looks. I would prefer to see this team step on the throat when they get a lead and bury the opposition. Don’t stop bringing pressure and don’t change the game plan that got you the lead. The Vikings have historically done this and it’s increasingly frustrating. I get not wanting to give up a big play, but don’t play scared and give them half of the field in dink and dunk passes before you decide to dial up some pressure.
Details should be a huge focus. Kick return for a touchdown, bad snaps, poor clock management; these are all things that occur that make some of these games closer than they have to be. Some of this is on Zimmer, some may be on the other coaches, but they need to all get on the same page. At the end of the game when we are leading, we need to be able to get that last first down to ice the game. Teams with better QBs are going to be able to do something with a minute left and no time outs. I’d prefer the Vikes put some focus on finishing the win, rather than surviving the win.
Once I see that happening, I will really be excited.
Thanks again for reading!
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