Monday Morning Mailbag: Can Vikings' Offense Stick To The Plan They Developed On Sunday?

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Seeing that we played great against the Dolphins, do you think offense will now continue to play smash mouth?
-- Corey Alexander
Richmond, VA

Yes, I believe the offense prefers to play a smash-mouth brand of football, no doubt. Having 40 runs compared to only 21 passes is a formula for success. With that being said, let’s also remember the Dolphins came into the game with one of the worst run defenses in the League. That isn’t to take away from what the Vikings did, it’s only to point out that the level of resistance will be greater in future weeks, including next week in Detroit. But yes, I do expect this performance against Miami to be a rallying point for the offense as they push toward the end of the regular season and toward the postseason.

The defense played like they were unafraid to hit the quarterback. Don’t get me wrong, the defense played very well last week. It just seemed like they were pulling up from hitting Russell Wilson.
-- Jess Bernstein
Milwaukee, WI

My sense is part of what is leading to that observation is the style of pass rush employed in each game. Wilson has incredible mobility, so there is an extra sense of caution used in putting together and executing a pass rush plan against him. Ryan Tannehill is athletic and can move, but he doesn’t pose the same kind of flight risk to a defensive line, so that means the pass rush can be a little more aggressive.

Can you give us the rundown on how we can clinch the playoffs and get the No. 5 seed?
-- @VikingsBound

It all starts with the Vikings winning their own games. I’m as into figuring out the details of scoreboard watching as anyone, but I’m also the first to point out that the priority is to win your own games and hopefully leave as little scoreboard watching to do as possible. In order to climb up to the No. 5 seed, the Vikings need to go 2-0 and have the Seattle Seahawks, who currently sit at No. 5, go 1-1 or 0-2. If the Seahawks go 0-2, the Vikings can also go 1-1 and still attain the No. 5 seed so long as the Philadelphia Eagles or Washington Redskins don’t go 2-0 to close the season or the Carolina Panthers, who play tonight, don’t go 3-0 to close the season.

Other than the pick six and the 75-yard touchdown run, the Vikings certainly served up a dominating performance. The offense looked much sharper. To get to the Super Bowl, first we have to get into the playoffs and this was a good step. I don’t see any reason now to think we can’t win the next two and enter the playoffs on a three-game winning streak. Just too bad there won’t be a home playoff game. Skol!
-- John Stephens

In the words of the great Lee Corso: Not so fast! There still could be a home playoff game, but that is putting the cart before the horse. Before we worry about getting to the Super Bowl or a home playoff game, let’s worry about beating the Lions this week! It’s amazing how much of a week-to-week league the NFL is, though. Last week the sky was falling after a second consecutive loss and now this week we have visions of a three-game winning streak as we enter the playoffs. This is a fun time of year!

I’m a big fan of all that the VEN does. You guys do a great job. I've seen some stories about how coach Zimmer is dealing with some people lashing out at him. I hope he knows that there are still a lot of true Vikings fans out here who understand how much he means to this organization and community as well as how great of a coach he is. I truly believe he's the best coach we've had since Bud Grant and I hope he remains as our head coach for years to come.
-- Ben Third
Alexandria, MN

Coach Zimmer does realize that. He has a great appreciation for the many Vikings fans around the world. He also realizes that taking the heat from the public after losses is part of the job, just as is taking credit from the public after all the wins. This is a bottom line business, and the bottom line right now is the Vikings are very close to qualifying for the playoffs this season, which would make it three trips to the postseason in the last four years, a run that includes two division titles and a run to the NFC Championship Game. That’s pretty good, if you ask me.

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