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Monday Morning Mailbag: Unfreaking Believable

Posted Jan 14, 2018

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Unfreaking believable! I thought I was going to cry there for a second. Off to Philly now. Skol!
-- Tory Hansen

Don’t feel weird about crying or almost crying after that one. Sunday’s game was an emotional rollercoaster and anyone who is as invested as Vikings fans could easily be brought to tears after an ending like that. This is a special team playing a special game, and emotions are a part of it!

What do you see as our biggest obstacle to winning in Philadelphia? Is it our pass rush not being as dominant as it seemed earlier in the year?
-- Paul P.
Seattle, WA

No, definitely not the pass rush. I understand they had just two sacks of Drew Brees on 40 dropbacks, but remember that Brees is about as good as there is at getting rid of the ball quickly. A big challenge on Sunday is going to be handling the Eagles talented and stout defensive line, which features one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL in Fletcher Cox as well as great depth at defensive end with four players who can impact the game – starters Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham and backups Derek Barnett and Chris Long. Philadelphia led the NFL in rushing defense, allowing only 79.2 yards per game on the ground.

I really wanted us to take the ball to begin the second half, march down the field and put some points on the board. New Orleans had other plans. What can we do to make that happen?
-- Gerald Goblirsch

Get rid of or at least reduce negative plays. The Vikings were driving the ball well to open the 3rd quarter and had the ball 2nd and 3 from the New Orleans 29 before negative plays on consecutive snaps stalled the drive. The first negative play was a one-yard loss by Murray that made it 3rd and 4 from the New Orleans 30 and then Case Keenum took a terrible sack for a 10-yard loss that pushed the Vikings out of field goal range. Those kind of mistakes cost you a chance at getting points and that particular series can be pointed to as a turning point in the game because the Saints scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive as well as on their drive after that one to pull to within three points after trailing by 17 points at halftime.

I'm still in shock, but in a very good way! Definitely will go down as one of the most incredible plays in Vikings history! I'm 56 and have been a Vikings fan since I was a little kid, so I've been through all the heartache. I will never forget this victory as long as I live. Late in the 4th quarter when we were driving, before we kicked the field goal to go ahead at that point, why weren't we running the ball to take more time off the clock? Instead, we were passing and the incompletions were leaving too much time on the clock for Brees.
-- Dave Fraley
Temperance, MI

I understand this train of thought. At the same time, if you don’t gain yardage with those runs, it doesn’t do you any good to take time off the clock because you wouldn’t be getting into field goal range. The Vikings eventually got into field goal range because of pass plays – a 24-yard gain to Adam Thielen and then a five-yard toss to Kyle Rudolph. I think the philosophy of head coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur favored advancing the ball down the field more than it did taking time off the clock.

Still in shock over that win! I was definitely pacing my living room the final few minutes! Next week is going to be tough! SKOL VIKINGS! Need to #BringItHome!
-- Kyle Alexander
Texas

I understand the feeling of shock. Vikings fans feel like those types of outcomes have always gone against them in the past, so to have it go your way this time is an odd feeling. But soak it up! Cherish it. And then quickly move on because it doesn’t get any easier on the road at Lincoln Financial Field next Sunday night.