Minnesota Vikings Players Have Begun Criticizing The Play Calling
By Joseph Gunther
Several players voiced their displeasure with the play calling the final minutes of the Minnesota Vikings 27-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium after the game on Sunday.
The defense let some steam out about defensive coordinator Alan Williams’ decision to rush only three linemen and drop one into coverage nearly half the plays on the game-winning Cowboys drive.
Head coach Leslie Frazier would not have those comments made public and remain in the locker room.
“I understand the frustration,” he said. “We were all frustrated at the end of that ballgame. But there are so many positive things that occurred before that two-minute drive. But we’ll definitely talk through that situation as a team and just where we are and what we have to dod to move forward.”
Defensive end Brian Robison has no regrets about what he said about the calls to back off after getting pressure on Tony Romo throughout the game.
“I don’t take back anything I said,” he said. “I’m probably going to get griped at for it. In my honest opinion, I don’t think I said anything out of line. I don’t think I necessarily threw anybody under the bus. I didn’t say anything that I shouldn’t have said. We’ve always prided ourselves on holding each other accountable.”
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave was not immune from the criticism, either. The players voiced their opinion about his decision to call a following A.J. Jefferson’s interception with just under four and a half minutes remaining in the game. Frazier defended the decision saying that the team wanted to remain aggressive.
“In that situation, we knew exactly what they were going to be in on defense,” Frazier said Tuesday. “We had the perfect call, we had the perfect formation to identify what they were doing and then it’s just a matter of our being able to execute our assignment. But we have confidence that Christian (Ponder) can make those plays. We have confidence that our offensive line can get guys blocked up and that our receivers can get open.”
The Vikings have just three days to get over the loss and prepare for the Washington Redskins on Thursday.
“The frustration grows with each loss with everyone involved,” Frazier said. “That’s human nature. We need to put some wins together starting this Thursday night.”
Military appreciation on Thursday
Minnesota will host its annual “Salute to Service” military appreciation game on Thursday against the Redskins at Mall of America Field.
“The Vikings strongly believe in showing our utmost respect for all of the men and women who currently serve – or have served – our country,” Vikings Vice President of Sales and Marketing/Chief Marketing Officer Steve LaCroix said. “Many of our players, coaches and staff have a direct connection to military personnel. The military appreciation game is an opportunity to pull the multiple elements together to allow the team and our fans to show our appreciation for the selfless individuals in every branch of service.”
Along with military-themed gear, the team will host several pre-game, in-game and halftime events to honor the branches of service, specifically the Minnesotans that serve. The team is encouraging fans to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to kickoff so that everyone in attendance can participate in a card stunt that will be performed during the singing of the National Anthem.
For more Vikings news and updates, visit Vikings Central.
Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.