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When Run Teams Go Pass

The Vikings had this one. They had it like Minnesota has lakes. It was simple really. Run the ball, run down the clock, punch it in for six with too little time left for the Steelers to retaliate and game over, 7-0 here we come.

And, that’s when it happened. You could almost feel the paradigm shifting.

Somewhere between Adrian Peterson bulldozing Mr. Gay, and the phantom tripping call, our beloved Vikings turned their back on being a running team. Somehow, somewhere, someone decided the best way to run down the clock was to… here it comes… pass the ball.


The team itself deserves an “A” for effort. Minus Antoine Winfield, the defense managed to hold the league’s best passer to only 175 yards through the air. Yes, the same D that gave up more than that to Joe Flacco in the fourth quarter manned up and rolled the London fog out on Big Ben.

Sydney Rice continued to do his best impersonation of Larry Fitzgerald, Brett Favre continued to look as if he was twenty-five instead of forty and Jared Allen brought the heat, even through Pittsburgh’s highly vaunted o-line.

But, apparently that wasn’t good enough.

For a coaching staff that spends far too much time being criticized for conservative play calling to suddenly throw caution, and the ball, to the wind in a moment where conservation is key boggles the mind.

And, in the blink of an eye, despite Percy Harvin’s best efforts to the contrary, the Vikings were dealt their first loss.

However, there are quite a few positives to take away from this game.

A lot of Minnesota’s critics have called them soft, said they beat teams that anyone can beat, then struggled when it came time to do the same against the stout Raven’s defense.

However, if one play… ONE PLAY had been called differently from the sidelines into Favre’s helmet, Peterson and company most likely would have scored again, preserving the win streak and showing those critics that Minnesota is for real.

Even in light of that singularly disastrous play, the critics don’t have much food for fodder anymore. Unless, that is, they want to question why a power run team thinks pass in obvious running situations.

-Mike Bullock

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