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Monday Morning Mailbag: Win as a Team, Lose as a Team

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What I take away from that game is Seattle was a little bit more opportunistic and got the turnovers they needed, but overall as a team the Vikings were the better team. So you can say the better team lost. -- Kris Arndt

Both the Vikings and Seahawks are good teams and I will not be surprised to see Seattle advance to and win the Super Bowl again this year. They are a great team, they are well-coached and their players do a good job of playing fast and putting a lot of pressure on the opposition. I feel the Vikings outplayed Seattle for much of the game, but Kris is right that Seattle was the more opportunistic team and sometimes that's what it takes to win a game. Being unable to punch it in while in the red zone while allowing the opponent to score in the red zone was a factor, Adrian Peterson's lost fumble was a factor, and of course the missed field goal was a factor. Plays going in favor of Seattle in those big moments are what made the difference.

Is Blair Walsh back next season do you think? His season wasn't that bad. -- Mike Shanor @Realmikeshanor

I don't see any reason he wouldn't be back. He signed a contract extension during training camp of this season and, after a rough preseason, he turned things around in the regular season and wound up making more field goals than any other kicker in the NFL during the regular season. He was also a big reason the Vikings were in position to win Sunday's game against Seattle in the first place with three made field goals from 22, 43 and 47 yards. The missed field goal to win the game stings and it's something that will linger for a long time, but to me it doesn't mar the season Walsh had, particularly when you factor in what he overcame during the preseason.

Heck of a defensive effort on Sunday! I know Walsh is probably getting ripped apart, but I think real Vikings fans should be proud of the way we played. I've read a lot of commentary complaining about not scoring touchdowns and criticizing our offensive effort, but considering what the Seahawks defense did to the best offense in the Super Bowl a few years ago, I say we did pretty well. Looking forward to next year and hopefully we can protect Teddy Bridgewater better! -- Kevin Z.

 Vikings fans certainly have a lot to be proud of with the way their team played, I agree. I would also agree that improvements can be made on offense – particularly in passing game with protection and explosive plays. The good news is there were several games where Bridgewater and Co. showed flashes of being able to move the ball and score points, so a foundation is there for Norv Turner and the offensive staff. Zimmer and the defense were humming at the end of the season, and I look forward to them picking up right where they left off this spring and starting to build it back up to start the 2016 season.

We all know Blair Walsh likes his kicks from the right hash marks, so why did we set it up on the left? Was it poor planning or simply a mistake? Did we just accept he would make it from 27 yards? -- Chris Glasgow, Scotland

I'm guessing it's one of three things: Walsh wanted it on the left hash, Adrian Peterson didn't get it to the proper spot because he was fighting for extra yardage on the 3rd down run, or Walsh didn't have a preference in that particular situation.

An unfortunate trend I noticed this season was the inability to close out the game, especially in critical moments. Examples: at Broncos - Teddy sack/fumble; at Cardinals - Teddy sack/fumble end of game; and vs. Seahawks - Walsh missed chip shot to win the game and progress through the playoffs. How do you coach to something like that – to close out the game with a win when all the chips are on the table? -- Aaron Elsmore

I don't agree the Vikings had a trend of being unable to close out games they should've won. Games coming down to the wire and hinging on one play is commonplace in the NFL. While the Vikings did lose those three games with pivotal plays that went the wrong way, they also won a bunch of close games with big plays at the end of the game. Wins against Kanas City, St. Louis, at Chicago and at Green Bay with the division title on the line all came by seven points or less.

I just wanted to give a shoutout to Blair Walsh. Still love ya man! Heck of an effort by the Vikings yesterday. I'm very excited and hopeful for this offseason and next year! -- Matt Edwards Neptune City, NJ

For every vitriolic email I received from a fan who is frustrated and heart-broken about the loss and whom are blaming one player or another for it, I received 10 more like this. And I think that's great. I appreciate the sentiment of Matt and of the many fans who appreciated the ride in 2015, feel Zimmer has the team heading in the right direction and are looking forward to 2016. The Vikings truly do have the greatest fans in the NFL. Thanks to all of you for your support!

Congratulations to the Vikings for a remarkable season. I know a lot of fans are reactionary and want to blame one player, but it is a team loss. Big props to Blair Walsh for owning up to his miss and handling it like a true professional. -- Josh Mack

Agreed. You win as a team and lose as a team. I can tell you for certain there were a handful of players who sat in the locker room immediately after the game and wondered what could've been if they had done something different or if they hadn't made a particular mistake. That is the nature of playing in a team sport, especially in the NFL and in the playoffs. Being taught life lessons about accountability, resilience, sportsmanship and teamwork is also part of the nature of playing team sports, and that was on display yesterday, too.

I can't really get down on Blair Walsh, he's young and he'll overcome this. I think as Vikings fans we can be proud of what they have accomplished we have an awesome coach a young team headed in the right direction and gave us fans something to cheer for. I'm already looking forward to next year. I think next year we're going to have a No. 1 defense and offense, not to mention our new stadium where we'll set decibel records. I'm proud to be a Vikings fan. Thanks for the great year. I think coach Zimmer should definitely be a candidate for coach of the year. Thank you, Vikings organization! -- David Derby

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