Matthew Coller: It’s cold in the Vikings

Matthew Coller is a published author and football writer who covers the Vikings. He also writes a weekly Vikings column for Bring Me The News, in addition to hosting a live broadcast on Bring Me The News YouTube and Facebook pages every Tuesday. You can find more of his work on Purple Insider.

Do you know that first cold breeze that you feel at the beginning of October and that lets you know that winter is approaching? Of course, there will be hot days and you can go out on the golf course several times, but you feel the end is near? This is kind of how it works with the changes being made in the NFL.

Only Minnesota Vikings fans haven’t felt the freezing winds of change in a long time. They were the snowbirds of the NFL. Whenever it feels like the Vikings might split up completely and make a seismic change in the organization, they find a way to get things back on track. The Minnesotans are going to Florida, the Vikings are playing Detroit.

In 2019, the season was saved by a series of abominable teams on the schedule that followed a loss to Chase Daniel on the road. In 2020, Carolina, Jacksonville and Detroit were their refuge after a 1-5 start. And the Vikings had a lot of plausible denial last year with games without fans and a roster that lost a number of ex-stars to age and expense.

This time around, there may not be a plane to Motor City to take them to safer grounds. After losing to never-before-played alternate quarterback Cooper Rush, the Vikings are set to play three games against three of the NFL’s top teams: Baltimore, Los Angeles and Green Bay.

Cold winds don’t just blow every now and then, they blow at full speed.

Mike Zimmer spoke to the media on Wednesday with a piece of paper in his pocket that contained a bunch of handpicked statistics.

“We’re eighth for rotational differential, 12th for points per game, number one for sacks, fifth for third tries, 13th for first try per game,” he said. “And so there are good things. “

Unfortunately for him, numbers like placing 12th in points allowed, eighth in this thing, seventh in that one, and 13th in everything else made a very different point clearer than the one Zimmer was trying to make. Ranking in the upper middle but far from the top is what defined this era. Do they put, “ranked 12th in some stuff” on the Lombardi Trophy?

It’s hard to say exactly what his point of view was, but everyone has spent the day on social media trying to navigate their digital maze to figure out his intention.

Maybe that’s a counterpoint to the folks who pitched stats like: Super Bowl Rings.

Or maybe it’s a plea for more time – a way of saying, “Look, the numbers say it will get better!” “

Of course, any honest analysis of the Vikings’ overall stats puts them in the same place they’ve been for a very long time: fighting for the final seed of the playoffs. Eighteenth in points for, 12th in points against. A game under .500. Yawn.

The only interesting thing about the statistics rambling is that this is how it goes when things fall apart. Vikings fans haven’t seen it for a long time, but everyone has seen enough major changes in local sports organizations to know that thrill when you feel it.

When the team is no longer provocative. When changes to the game plan do not change the results. When the sharks of the national media start circling around and making your team a talking point with “HOT SEAT” written at the bottom of the screen and the head coach has no other way to defend his team than to tell everyone that winter will not come this year. These are the signs.

When coaches start asking their teams to throw gas for mistakes or when they shout “PLAYOFFS? This usually means they can feel the wind blowing and they know exactly what’s on the schedule if things don’t change soon.

The question the Vikings face is not whether they can place 12th in points against or if they can remake the “In The Hunt” chart on TV this year, it’s whether they can do it again. can keep doing that same dance up and down year after year. It wasn’t shocking that they lost to Cooper Rush because they already did. It’s no surprise that the clock was mismanaged or that the team seemed too tight in a big game because… I was there and I was there.

The seasons in which the Cooper Rush-style L’s were taken numerous times and prime-time games ended in disappointment and they ended up in 10th place in November stack up. In the past, however, there was always something that appeared on the horizon that could be fixed and then they would get back on track. If only they could get a better play on guard! It’s the offensive coordinator’s fault! But the Vikings tried to mend the line and change the offense. Dammit, this is their third or fourth week in a row saying, ‘We need to look at some things’ or it’s time to do self-scouting.

Even Viking legend Cris Carter lamented on Twitter, “We’re so average and satisfied – it sucks. ”

Reaching 3-4 does not in any way mean that the season is completely lost or that they cannot reach the playoffs. Heck, they are able to beat Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Green Bay. But falling into the hands of the Cooper Rush Cowboys has called into question the possibility of altering DNA without winter coming.

They can’t convince anyone that it can be any different with a bunch of muddled statistics. They have to prove it by beating good teams, which they couldn’t do last week with a substitute quarterback, let alone Lamar Jackson or Justin Herbert.

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