Do you have a comment or question? Send it to the Vikings.com Mailbag! Every Monday we'll post several comments and/or questions as part of the Vikings.com Monday Morning Mailbag. Although we can't post every comment or question, we will reply to every question submitted.
A brief congratulations to Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell on becoming the fastest Vikings coach to 10 victories. While that likely isn't a goal he set out to do, it's still worth noting as an accomplishment.
Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune noted this is just the ninth time in franchise history the Vikings have opened a season 10-2. He also noted the playoff heartbreaks that have followed such strong starts.
The Vikings are 9-0 this season in one-score games.
The latest installment was sealed with an interception by Camryn Bynum, capping a day of red zone success by Minnesota’s defense (and offense), as well as one key touchdown drive capped by Justin Jefferson.
I've seen some opinions online and in the mailbox about being frustrated by this team. Everyone can have an opinion, and I try to share plenty here that I might not agree with, but I've worked for a team since 2010 (Titans, 2010-13; Vikings, 2014-since) and this is only the third time in those 13 seasons that a team has gotten to 10 wins in a season.
View postgame celebration photos of the Vikings following their 27-22 win over the Jets at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Lastly, sorry we never circled back to round out last week's Mailbag. An illness set in Sunday night, so I was struggling a bit and needed to direct what I had toward finishing the Playbook for the Jets game, which brings me to my final point of my intro and this quote from Harrison Smith, who was featured on the cover and snagged another interception Sunday.
"It's tough to always have really good years. This is a year that we need to take advantage of," Smith said. "You get somebody like K.O. coming in and building a really tight team and positive culture that guys feed off of. It's a lot of fun to be around. I'm glad that I'm still a part of that and able to experience this season with the players and coaches and enjoy what we've got going on."
On to the questions (as a reminder, we'll update with more Monday).
First game at the Bank. Arrived early and enjoyed highly entertaining pregame, halftime and postgame productions. Doing my first SKOL Chant! Booing the visiting team … But it's about the game, isn't it?*I'm a SF Giants fan. In 2010, the Giants played excruciating games, losing leads and then coming clutch at the end to get an improbable and only for-the-strong-of-heart win. Great players and coaching. I'm seeing the same chemistry and team grit with this year's Vikings that I saw with the 2010 SF 'Torture' slogan Giants. It's not perfect and it's rarely pretty. But those W's matter more than the rest of it.
This is special. Savor… Savor… Savor…
— Jeff from Sacramento (currently in Minneapolis)
So glad you were finally able to make the trip to U.S. Bank Stadium. It's always great to hear that the first experience went smoothly and memorable. The crowd again helped will the Vikings to victory down the stretch. Opponents have to play the Vikings and the venue when trying to mount a comeback, and so far, the Vikings have held serve six times in seven games with a couple more on the way.
While there's much to be said about winning handily, I also believe in the value of being battle tested.
The Vikings went 4-0 against the AFC East, a division that's a combined 30-18 so far this season.
Are they, the Vikings, trying to kill me? ... Tis the time of year to be charitable to others, but must they do it to the detriment of their fans? ... We had difficulty moving the ball on offense in the second half, why? And more difficulty stopping the Jets on defense. ... That being said, kudos to our D for their goal-line stands and holding the Jets to 5 field goals. ... They need to reverse this trend. ... But how?
The old saying of, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, applies here except it ain't broke, just breaking.
Who wants to back into the playoffs and lose?
— Nicholas Balkou
Certainly not for the faint of heart, but the Vikings went 6-8 in one-score games last season and have somehow gone 9-0 in such contests so far this season.
There were times in the third and fourth quarter where I thought this was going to be a classic case of not putting a team away. A few more offensive plays in the third quarter perhaps would have kept the Jets offense from finding their rhythm.
I also believe, if you catch any comments from O'Connell and players, that they still believe they have much to fix as this team continues to develop.
Why can't the Vikings score in the third quarter???
— Thomas Manders
This is a perplexing development, with the Vikings having been outscored 86 to 34 in third quarters this season. Minnesota has been able to reverse that with a 100 to 53 edge in fourth quarters.
I don't know if other teams have been able to make better defensive adjustments to curtail what the Vikings want to do, or what, but the discrepancy in the third quarter is puzzling. Although it was just 6-0 Sunday, it was 115-10 yardage-wise in the third quarter.
View game action photos from the Week 13 matchup between the Vikings and the Jets at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Just another Sunday. Whew! I'll take 10-2 all day, but we need to improve on defense if we expect to win in the playoffs. Great first half and yet another horrible third quarter. We need to make better adjustments. Really got lucky after letting them back in the game. We may be the first 10-2 team ever with the league's worst defense. Again, I'll take the wins all day, but can we please blow someone out!?! And not make every QB look like a Hall of Famer?
I understand it's a new defense and we're still learning, but we're 12 games in now. Our D line needs to apply more pressure.
Let me add that all the pundits were saying, "We'll learn a lot about the Vikes over the next four weeks." That was before the Bills game. 3-1 over that span shows who we are.
— J.B. in Keller, Texas
There have been some highly established quarterbacks during this stretch of the schedule, with Josh Allen in MVP talks and Dak Prescott perpetually underappreciated. Mac Jones is a first-round pick, and while Mike White doesn't have the experience level, he has shown the ability in the past two weeks to connect with some talented weapons.
I know White finished with 369 yards, but that's on 31 of 57 passing and with two interceptions (passer rating of 59.8), which is considerable improvement of lowering quarterbacks' success in the previous two games at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Once again, our defense kept us in a tight game, which could have gone either way. After playing practically the whole third quarter, a worn-out Viking defense stopped the Jets with the goal-line stand to help us win this game. Cook once again showed us he could run [when] given a hole. We have the best receivers in football, and only a poor quarterback performance is keeping us from having blowout games.
— Jerry LaFreniere in Side Lake, Minnesota
There were a few plays that Cousins wanted back, including the overthrow to T.J. Hockenson in the third quarter. That completion would have been huge (and helped the defense). When Cousins absolutely had to make a throw Sunday, he put it in the perfect spot to Justin Jefferson for the 10-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. That Jets front tormented Josh Allen a couple of weeks ago, and Cousins showed a lot of toughness. He definitely missed more than we normally see, but he did play tough.
I was watching the game today and I was wondering if Coach O'Connell, who seems to be doing a good job and I personally like him a lot, but if he continues to perform as a coach as well as he has been for multiple years with this team, do you start to think of him as overall a better coach than Zimmer at any point and maybe even one of the better Vikings coaches of all-time?
— Connor in Minnesota
I guess the easiest answer is it's way too early for that kind of conversation. I did bring up that he was the fastest to 10 wins, but that was not to throw shade at previous coaches — just to point out the historical significance of getting to 10 wins. O'Connell definitely inherited a team more ready to win than Norm Van Brocklin or Bud Grant, and I think Coach Zimmer should get some credit for that, as well as all the previous coaches who gave what they had to lead the franchise the best ways they knew.
I have watched the Vikes since a little kid, with them having their training camp in Bemidji where I grew up. Just a few observations on the game against the Jets. Terrible overthrows and behind throws from Cousins. Would have made it a blowout from us, which I guess we never get. The worst tackling I've seen over many years. Too many long yardage big plays to allow the Jets to stay or get back in the game. Now for the positives: our kicker and punter were our MVP's this game! Our defense in the red zone, just Crazy! Love 10-2, maybe this is a team of destiny, close wins versus last year, who knows? P.S. Maybe time to get back to the 4-3 defense!
— Jeffrey Wizner
I love seeing those pictures from the Bemidji training camps — can't wait to make it up there eventually.
Part of the yardage for the Jets was some after catches and contact that really could be harmful. One of the most underrated plays was Camryn Bynum hustling to force Garrett Wilson out of bounds at the Minnesota 11 and prevent a touchdown. Although the play went for 60 yards, New York settled for a field goal to make it 20-15 instead of a touchdown.
Has Camryn Bynum played as a cornerback for the Vikings? At what point would the Vikings use him in the cornerback role?
— Craig in Boston, Massachusetts
This question actually came in last week but I was unable to get to it.
I think the Vikings like what Bynum is offering at safety, and Sunday's game reinforced that.
I suppose you never say never, especially if health at cornerback takes more hits.
Why aren't we using Ty Chandler? Ty Chandler was explosive in preseason, and I haven't seen him none this season. What is going on? I would like for him to get some NFL experience please.
— Corey Alexander in Richmond, Virginia
Can understand the interest, given what Ty did in the preseason, but he is actually on Injured Reserve right now. He was placed there in October after getting injured while playing on special teams. He's been in and around the building during his rehab process.
The questions and answers below were added after the Dec. 5 Mailbag was initially published.
Welcome to the update (posting Tuesday). I'd first like to congratulate Adam Thielen on being named the Vikings Community Man of the Year and the team's nominee for the NFL Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, which was announced Tuesday morning by the team and NFL.
Now back to some more questions/comments, and I know just where to start.
To all Vikings,
This was my oldest son Braden's 1st Vikings game. He is 11 years old, and we have had a rough few years because my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2019, fought for a year, and unfortunately lost his battle March 2020. Braden and his dad connected with sports, football especially. So going to this game was particularly special because Braden knew his dad was right there with us! We were sitting in Section 105, the 10th row, and being able to watch so many amazing plays right in front of us was beyond anything we could have asked for.
I wanted to thank you all for your hard work and dedication to your passion of football that gave us an immeasurable experience that we will forever be proud of!!
— Kayla Roelike
Kayla, I'm so sorry for the loss of your husband. It's tremendous that Braden was able to connect with his father through Vikings football and that you are helping continue that bond.
I'm so glad the game was such a wonderful experience for you and Braden, and we appreciate your roles in helping create another incredible atmosphere at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Vikings D shut down the Jets running game, but it also gave up more big plays? Was it just the really bad tackling at times? Or was there a scheme change?
— Mike Haugse (sent via Twitter)
Unless the Vikings solve their issues of playing touch defensive football, they will not be playing more than one game in the playoffs.
— Douglas Smithson
Grouping these since they both question tackling.
Getting outflanked, then failing to team tackle go a long way. The Jets were able to get 48 of Zonovan Knight's 90 rushing yards (and the team's 120 on 24 carries) on their first play after Minnesota took a 27-15 lead in the fourth quarter.
New York pulled center Connor McGovern around the left, and he timed his block of Eric Kendricks well as Knight rounded the corner and picked up a pair of blocks from receivers, creating just enough space between Duke Shelley and Chandon Sullivan. Camryn Bynum had come to the inside of Sullivan, leaving no outside contain after Knight made it through the narrow gap at the 34-yard line. Instead of a run for about 9 or 10, Knight was able to tack on the yards before Jordan Hicks and Patrick Peterson caught up to him.
Next Gen Stats calculated it should have been a gain of 11 for Knight instead of 48. His 37 above expected on the play was third-best among Week 13 rushers.
I also want to make a mention of New York's yards after the catch. Jets players totaled 369 yards through the air, and according to Next Gen Stats, 231.7 were after catches.
Wilson's 48 yards after the catch on his 60-yard reception exceeded expectations by 44 yards (third-most for any player in Week 13). Corey Davis' 12 yards over expected on his 31-yard reception ranked 13th.
I'm a Vikings fan dating back to the 1960s and share season tickets with an original Met Stadium bond holder. I attended the Hail Mary game in 1975, and sure wish that offensive pass interference was officiated back then like it is today!
My question is related to the video reversal that resulted in the Jets QB sneak touchdown. With all the great video cameras and angles available in the NFL stadiums, why in the world is that "overhead goal line" camera seemingly located above the 5-yard line?? None of the camera angles at ground level showed the football, and thus that goal-line stop should not have been overturned. The announcers all made it seem like an easy reversal, but I beg to differ. How did you see that play and various video angles?
— Tom in Arlington, Texas
PS: Everyone in the Dallas Metroplex is convinced the Cowboys are Super Bowl-bound. I sure hope we get another chance to prove that previous blowout was a one-off occurrence!
If someone could explain to me how they could give the Jets a touchdown on that quarterback sneak, please do. The camera angle that goes right down the goal line, we could not see the ball. That is the only angle that should be used. Instead, they use skycam, which is positioned at about the 6 yard line shooting at an angle toward the goal line where who knows where the goal line exactly is. Now if skycam was directly over the goal line, I could see using that, but this was not an accurate decision on where the ball was.
— Monte from Bloomer
Tom, that's awesome you've got such a cool connection throughout the team's lineage, even if it's included some rough losses like the 1975 Hail Mary game. You, Monte and probably some others are in agreement about that reversal.
Full disclosure, I was not at Sunday's game. I didn't like missing a home game, but based on the desire to make sure I didn't unintentionally make one of my VEN teammates sick, I worked the game from home. The only views I saw during the game were what were shown on the TV broadcast, which brings up an interesting point in the fact that there are different numbers of cameras, depending on the level of broadcast (national games get more camera resources). I understand that the sport's speed is to the point where video replay has become part of the game, but I've long held there should be some type of consistency applied regarding the number of cameras.
Pylon cams or slightly elevated, mounted cameras that look down the goal lines, end lines and side lines would be a nice way of trying to assure more consistent amounts of video evidence.
The overhead or "Spidercam" is suspended on wires and remotely operated. Some games don't have those, but I agree that the perspective can play tricks when from an angle.
I'm not sure what was shown on the videoboard, but I've looked at sideline, end zone and broadcast, and I believe White BARELY got the ball where it needed to get since it only had to cross the first bit of white paint (not the purple end zone).
I know there are a lot of people waiting for the shoe to drop, but there is an old saying that seems to be crystal clear with this team: "Winners find a way to win, and losers find a way to lose."
— Tim Weske in Missoula, Montana (originally Barnum, Minnesota)
I was feeling pretty good at half-time on Sunday. But then I thought about our third-quarter woes in previous games and figured it was going to go down to the fourth quarter again. As long as this team is within eight points, they have a chance. Actually better than just a chance.
Winning all these tight games this year as compared to last year with the same personnel, I give all the credit to the coaching staff. Somehow they have convinced the players that they can (and should) win every game. And the players just go out a figure out a way to do it!!
— Curt Fahsholz in Valdosta, Georgia
I've seen a lot of mentions of luck and worries that the charmed existence Minnesota has enjoyed for much of the season not being able to last forever, but I do believe a little bit in a team's ability to make some of its breaks and create an identity and belief in its ability to come through in the clutch.
Minnesota's best break of the season was the botched snap by Buffalo that Eric Kendricks recovered for a touchdown. Minnesota's worst break of the season was Bynum getting walloped by the back judge in Washington on what would have been an interception instead of a touchdown.
One could argue in the Monday Night Football game that the Saints found a way to lose after and the Buccaneers found a way to win after New Orleans led 16-3 in the fourth quarter.
Has anyone asked the coaching staff about trying to get Kene Nwangwu involved in the offensive game plan? He clearly has the speed to cause problems for a defense, but unless teams choose to kick the ball short, he's not able to impact the game. I'd love to see him with the ball in his hands a few more times during the game.
— Chad Kalland
The Jets didn't seem to want any part of Nwangwu a week after his 97-yard kickoff return touchdown against the Patriots for his third career score.
Nwangwu is behind Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison, who are complete running backs, keeping the entire offense on the table when either is in the game. That's not to say Kene couldn't do that, as well, it's just to say the Vikings are stocked well at the position and are able to give Cook a breather on offense while playing Mattison for a series at a time — and still yield results.
Why was the game so ugly?
— Dave White
Wins are tough to come by, even at home, but the Vikings have managed their way to 10 in 12 chances. The Jets are having a good season, too, have been tough on the road (4-2) and can create some tough matchups.
The Vikings were the first team to score 27 against New York since Cincinnati in Week 3, and only Cleveland in Week 2 (30 points) has scored more against the Jets this season.
Cousins was admittedly off the mark, and there are a few factors that can affect a quarterback's accuracy. The Jets should get some credit, but there were some throws he normally hits with his eyes closed.
When we are in a clutch [situation], I never get worried, I just wonder who's going to get the interception!!! Skol!!!!
— Jen Guertin
Hey Jen, can you bottle and distribute some of that confidence? Asking for friends.
Jokes aside, there is something to be said for the way that veterans and younger players on defense have developed a confidence in each other and have made winning plays in pressure-packed situations. There's been times like Sunday where back-to-back series have required big plays.
This has been a surprising season so far, and the outcome in close games is amazing. This past weekend was again a roller-coaster ride. It looked like we were on the verge of blowing out the Jets only to have them completely dominate the second half. I look at the stats at the end of the game just to check things out, total yards shocked me: Jets 486, Vikings 287. I know the only stat that matters is the scoreboard, and we yet again came down to not one but two defensive stands. It sure would be nice if the Vikings defensive stand was forcing a three- or four-and-out at midfield instead of the goal line.
I know we had some untimely injuries and we survived them pretty well. It was really good to have Tomlinson back and next week we get Dantzler back and hopefully Darrisaw back.
— Roger in Cottage Grove, Minnesota
I think one more prolonged offensive drive in the second half makes that game look dramatically different, especially on the total yards part of the stat sheet. The Vikings did so well with ball control against the Patriots and did the same in the first half against the Jets. It's a reminder to try to put games away when there's an opportunity to do so.
O'Connell provided injury updates Monday, going ahead and ruling out Evans for the Detroit game, but he said the Vikings were optimistic that Cam Dantzler, Sr., would be able to practice fully as early as Wednesday and see how he responds. Darrisaw is making progress, but the Vikings will be cautious with him and continue to follow all protocols.
Curious on your thoughts on something I haven't heard anyone talk about yet. Cousins, within reason, seems to play better after he gets hit hard for a sack. To me, he seems to release the ball a bit quicker, seems more decisive, and unless hit constantly (like in the Jets game), he is more accurate.
Maybe it is just my perception. What have you noticed?
This is an interesting take. I've heard of previous quarterbacks and players at other positions who have said the first hit in a game helps settle into a football rhythm.
I've honestly never asked Kirk directly about his thoughts on the matter.
We've seen him this season open a game with 17 consecutive completions (against Bears) and five straight incompletions (against Jets). The 17 set a Vikings record to start a game, and the five without a completion tied a personal low by Cousins.
I think the Jets disrupted Cousins' footwork and rhythm even on times when they didn't hit him, and I think he withstood multiple hits and got the ball into a position where Jalen Reagor could make a play on his 38-yard reception and put the pass on the money to Jefferson for the touchdown.
I also belief that so many factors can go into the timing of a play. Did the call get the look it wanted from the defense? Did the receiver win convincingly against man coverage or find the best spot to sit in a zone? Was the receiver jammed at the line, throwing off the timing of the play?
Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Jets.
Individually our defense, the line and backers minus the corners should make us a top-tier defense, but we're at the bottom of the pack in receiving yards and TDs allowed, and we all know defenses win championships. We need to use these last five games to work toward a championship defense and take the pressure off the offense to win games in the clutch all the time. Since J.J. is a stud at whatever position he plays, why not have him sub in at corner against their best receivers during obvious pass plays like third-and-long and create 50/50 situations or take their best receivers out of those plays and allow the younger corners to work against the less productive receivers.
— Dave Seims in Navarre, Florida
While I admire creative problem solving, and it seems at times that Jefferson's abilities on a football field are limitless, I'm not signing up for this one.
Maybe in a Hail Mary situation he'd be lined up on the goal line to take advantage of his ball skills, but asking a player to play corner in the NFL without having done so at all in college is unfair to the player, the rest of the defense and undercuts just how tough the position is.
First, I think Patrick Peterson has been pretty darn good throughout the season. On the other side, the Vikings have started Dantzler (eight games), Evans (two), Andrew Booth, Jr. (one), and Duke Shelley (one) because of injuries.
The players who have stepped in, the teammates who have helped during the carousel and the coaches deserve some credit for managing the revolving door.
Lastly, Jefferson has played 781 snaps already this season. That's a considerable amount of mileage. Adding legwork on defense might undercut his dominance on offense.
Every week I hear, "The Vikings are the worst 10-2 team ever." Lol. So evidently the old saying "good teams find ways to win" only applies to teams not named the Vikings. But yet, week after week, these Vikings keep defying them.
— Skol from Bud
There's a naysayer echo chamber that's been developed by the bad showings at Philadelphia and against Dallas in high-profile games, but 10 wins is 10 wins with a chance to add more. The best thing about the Vikings, in my opinion, is they don't think they've arrived and are still trying to find ways to be better.
Do you agree or disagree that the Vikes need to change up their defensive scheme? In my opinion, too many one-score games this year, and in the playoffs, I think we could be in for a rude awakening if we don't switch up our defensive strategy.
— Jackson Bais in Dyer, Indiana
I don't subscribe to massive overhauls, especially for a team that's 10-2 and has become the first to go 9-0 in one-score games in NFL history, but I think there are continued refinements that Minnesota is trying to identify.
The NFL and College Football Playoffs are unlike several other major sports that unfold in best-of series, so it's all about one matchup on a singular day. Matchups are an underrated component of football.
Nothing that happened in the regular season will affect a singular playoff matchup, but I do think there's value in having gone through numerous tough situations and emerged through multiple methods.
Should we as Vikings fans expect to see more of Jalen Reagor? I feel like every time he's on the field he's making plays!
— Brock Cunningham
The Vikings offense asks a lot of its receivers. Most players on the roster were able to benefit from the full install process of the offseason, but Reagor's acquisition just before the season left little time for that. He immediately shored up the punt returner spot, and it's nice to have confidence in him in that role.
Making plays in games usually leads to more opportunities, so I'd expect the Vikings to continue to find ways to involve Reagor. Here's what O'Connell said Monday afternoon when asked about Reagor:
"I'm proud of where Jalen's at. We've tried to start infusing him more and more in the offense. Every week, we're allowing him to grow and understanding that he didn't have the teaching progression that a lot of our players had within the confines of our whole offense. A few weeks back, I challenged Jalen. I said, 'Hey, the more and more comfortable you can get and feel like you can go out and execute all the different jobs that maybe even at multiple positions, the more opportunity I want you to get.'
"I think a play like [Sunday] comes to mind, where we have him in the game with a chance to get him down the field. Kirk gives him an opportunity and Kirk finds a way to make that a long completion right there," O'Connell added. "Whether we're getting him the ball as a phase of our run game or screen game or just having him in there as one of our 11 guys in the huddle, I think he brings a dimension to our offense that helps us. I think he's an explosive player — he's proven that as our punt returner, good with the ball in his hands — and I think he's really done a nice job of getting with [receivers coach] Keenan McCardell and [assistant receivers coach] Tony Sorrentino and just continued to play catchup on some time that he wasn't with us. In the hopes here that as games click off and we get into December and hopefully beyond, that he can be a factor for us. We'll continue to find ways to get him on the field. I think he's earned that opportunity, and I'm really proud of where Jalen's at and hopefully where he's headed."
First, I want to say how much I love this team and everything Kevin O'Connell is doing to bring them together as a team that never quits. Like many Vikings fans I live and die with the Vikings every Sunday. This year it's been closer to dying every Sunday, but somehow they have pulled it out. The defense played great [Sunday] and came up with big plays when we needed them, as they have been doing all season. However, there are a lot of questions and concerns about the "bend but don't break" defensive scheme. It seems to me that one of the main reasons we end up in these tight games is because we allow teams to move the ball down the field and get back in the game by not bringing any pressure, even when we KNOW they are going to pass, even when it's a BACKUP QB, even though we have highly talented pass rushers! White had all day to find receivers. What do you think of having Ed Donatell do a press conference to explain his philosophy and answer questions?
— Nancy from Maple Grove, Minnesota
A couple of missed tackles that we mentioned above certainly didn't help matters, but I thought the Vikings did a great job of pressuring White in the first half. The Jets made a change during the game at right tackle, and George Fant was able to stop some of the pressure that Minnesota was getting earlier in the game.
White was 14-of-26 for 121 yards in the first half, but he was 3-for-5 with 33 yards on New York's quick possession that got a 60-yard field goal just before halftime. If the Vikings had been able to get a stop on that drive, I think the game changes quite a bit.
Donatell and Minnesota's other coordinators have scheduled press conferences on Thursdays of weeks when we play on Sundays. He explained last week that he's less concerned about yards than other aspects. He'll be at the podium again this Thursday.
The stars have been aligned in the Vikings favor for most of this season. The old saying, "Better to be lucky than to be good," explains this season perfectly. Of course, there are signs of talent and hard work that have contributed. I encourage coaches to focus on these four aspects that I believe must be improved for any playoff success: (1) help Cousins read plays and deliver the ball quicker or use more timing routes to deliver the ball as the receiver breaks open rather than when the defender has recovered on the pattern; (2) encourage Cousins to throw the ball away rather than take sacks that are drive killers and to keep him focused on staying healthy; (3) tackling has to be better as top defenses demonstrate consistently sound tackling followed by attempts to create fumbles; (4) it matters how many yards the defense allows in the playoffs ... good teams will finish drives and there is not enough speed to constantly play so far off the line of scrimmage, given lack of tackling shown thus far.
— Rick Weitzel
I think we've seen some great plays by Cousins and the offense when they are able to stay within the rhythm and timing of the offense, which O'Connell has mentioned, and those factors are further helped when protection is there. Every once in a while, including a play against the Jets, a bootleg goes straight into a blitz. Cousins had no chance to get rid of that one, but he did make sure to secure the football. You aren't alone on the tackling lapses (as mentioned above). Part of playing off the line of scrimmage can be to deter the deep shots, but the tackling has to be on point for the plan to fully work.
I've been a Viking fan since attending and graduating from Mankato State in 1971, and it is not easy living in Milwaukee! I personally knew the Purple People Easters and often socialized with them during their summer training camps. I am not a fair-weather fan! Throughout the good, the bad and the ugly, I put Viking paraphernalia out every week on my front porch and do fireworks every time they score. You can't imagine the elation I am having this season! I can only hope they continue their "winning ways" this season!
— Jane in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Thanks for the support, especially across the Border. That would have been an incredible thing to see the Purple People Eaters in their heyday on campus. I consider myself so fortunate to have been able to interview and write about them. Their legacy is still so strong.