The Vikings made five trips inside the red zone Sunday afternoon.
Minnesota turned just two of those occurrences into touchdowns, one of them being a 2-yard score set up perfectly by Anthony Barr's second interception of the day. The linebacker's first pick also put the Vikings in the red zone, but they failed to fully capitalize.
The Vikings second touchdown was a 6-yard pass to K.J. Osborn midway through the fourth quarter. Osborn's grab followed a 10-yard completion to Tyler Conklin and 1-yard run by Kene Nwangwu, respectively.
The other three trips inside the Rams 20-yard line played out as follows:
First-and-goal from L.A. 8
Alexander Mattison rush for -1
Mattison rush for 1
Kirk Cousins' pass intended for Osborn intercepted by Travin Howard
First-and-10 from L.A. 11 (following Barr's first interception)
Cousins sacked by Greg Gaines for -7
Cousins completion to Justin Jefferson for 5
Cousins completion to Adam Thielen catch for 9 (Thielen is injured on the play.)
23-yard field goal by Greg Joseph
Second-and-5 from L.A. 18
Cousins completion to C.J. Ham for 9
Cousins completion to Osborn for 5
Kene Nwangwu rush for -2
Incomplete pass by Cousins to Mattison
24-yard field goal by Joseph
That's one target of Jefferson on 10 offensive plays (three runs, seven pass plays) during those three series in the red zone.
Jefferson was asked following Sunday's 30-20 loss to the Rams about Minnesota's 40-percent success rate in red-zone situations.
"I think we should be more aggressive when we get down there, as soon as we get down there," Jefferson said. "But I'm not the one calling the plays. I'm just here to do my job and do what's told to me."
Mattison, who totaled 41 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries in Dalvin Cook's absence, reiterated the importance of controlling what he's able to in his role.
"That's out of our hands as players. We just have to execute and home in on the details of each and every play call that we get down there, whether we agree with it or not," Mattison said. "So, that's up to the people that get paid to do that, to make those decisions, whether or not we need to be more aggressive or we are too aggressive or whatever it might be."
Cousins was asked after the game about the incompletion to Mattison on third-and-goal from the 6 that was well shy of the goal line.
"I felt like, if anything, I could've maybe worked Justin late," Cousins responded. "[Justin] was kind of getting held up and might've popped open in the back corner of the end zone late. That's what I was thinking. The throw, I think the ball went about where I wanted it to because the guy matched up, so I was just trying to put it in a safe spot."
View game action photos between the Vikings and Rams during the Week 16 matchup at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer spoke with Twin Cities media members via videoconference Monday and weighed in on Jefferson's comments and frustration, which Zimmer acknowledged is founded.
"Justin is a great kid. I'm sure he's just frustrated by not scoring touchdowns in the red zone," Zimmer said. "Each and every game is different down there in terms of what the opponent is trying to do. So, I don't worry too much about Justin. He's a great kid, great teammate. Does a lot of good things.
"Hey, we're all frustrated. When we don't win a game, we all get frustrated; we all say things 10 minutes after the game we wish we wouldn't have," Zimmer continued. "But, you know, every time I've talked to him when he's been frustrated, he's said, 'I've got you, Coach. We're good.' And 'Let's go.' "
Zimmer reiterated that Jefferson's focus is on one thing: winning.
"Part of that is he wants to get the ball if he can. I don't think he's calling out anybody; that's not the type of person that he is," Zimmer said. "He's a guy that wants to go out and play, and play his best every single week."