Vikings Live Chat: Extra Tidbits from NFC Championship Week

Posted Jan 20, 2018

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Our weekly Vikings Live Chat is a regular occurrence on Tuesday afternoons to give fans a chance to check the pulse of the team.

But with the Vikings one win away from Super Bowl LII, this week’s chat was off the charts.

There were certainly more questions than I could get to in the hour-long session.

But with the passion of Vikings fans swelling, we’re bringing you a special edition of chat leftovers from Tuesday’s NFC Championship game week session.

Here are the five best questions I couldn’t get to on Tuesday:

What are the chances the Vikings can run the [ball] effectively against the Eagles? – Brian H.

Something is going to have to give Sunday in Philadelphia. The Vikings enter with a tandem of Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon, both of whom scored in Minnesota’s playoff opener against the Saints. The Vikings ranked seventh with 122.3 rushing yards per game, and were 11-1 when rushing for 100-plus yards as a team in the regular season.

Philadelphia will counter with the NFL’s top rushing defense. The Eagles allowed just 79.2 yards per game. Philadelphia allowed 100 total rushing yards just five times in 2017, the same number of games it held opponents to 65 yards or less. 

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said earlier this week that he thinks whoever runs the ball better will win Sunday. For the Vikings to do that, they’ll need to be committed and just keep chipping away. Maybe they don’t break off any long runs, but a persistent effort could wear the Eagles down.

Do the Vikings have any double pass or trick plays in their repertoire? Will they use them? – Troy Woolridge

This is in reference to the trick play by New Orleans in the fourth quarter in which the Saints tried a pass from wide receiver Willie Snead to running back Alvin Kamara.

The answer is yes, of course, the Vikings have some sneaky plays at their disposal. Although it didn’t work, think back to the fake punt pass against the Steelers in Week 2. Or Adam Thielen’s run on the fake punt against the Packers at Lambeau Field in Week 17 of the 2015 season.

Zimmer and all of his coaches have some of these plays in their bag, but who knows if they’ll use them? If the Vikings can get out to a lead Sunday against the Eagles, there won’t be a need to try and fool the opposition.

Any idea what happened on that blocked punt? It looked to me that our personal protector was focused on getting downfield and didn’t stay committed to blocking long enough. – Brent

You may have seen Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer address the blocked punt Thursday in his weekly media availability, but in case you missed it, Priefer said:.

“We had a guy go the wrong way, to be honest with you. It’s never happened. It’s a pretty simple explanation. He just went the wrong way, and that can’t happen again. Obviously it’s something we worked on this week and will continue to work on.

“We’re not going to be overly concerned with it because it was a major mistake, but it was a mistake that he can easily correct,” Priefer added without specifically naming the player. “We are just going to move on from there.”

The blocked punt was a turning point in Sunday’s game. But luckily the Vikings were able to overcome it and get a win.

The Saints game took a lot of mental and emotional energy. Will that be a factor going into Philly? – DBJ

I don’t think it will be. Zimmer is one of the top coaches in the NFL, and I like to think he’ll have his players refocused and refreshed for the biggest game of the season to date.

I also addressed this topic in our weekly “Skinny Post.”

Do you recall how strength of schedule compared for the two teams this year? – jargonmcfargo

Yep, the numbers show the Vikings actually had a tougher schedule than the Eagles.

Minnesota’s opponents went 126-130 this season for a .492 winning percentage, while Philadelphia’s opponents went 118-138 for a .461 winning percentage.

As for common opponents, the Vikings and Eagles both played the Panthers, Rams, Redskins, Bears and Falcons.

Philadelphia went 6-0 against such teams, while Minnesota went 5-1.