Even a week after the Minnesota Vikings’ loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the team’s final offensive play call is still a hot topic.
On Wednesday, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was asked about his thoughts regarding a play called for multiple receivers being asked to cross the field to reach the sidelines with only 13 seconds remaining in the game. He said it was a play that they run all the time in practice and the hope is to get a man running open across the middle of the field, or against man coverage, and to get them out of bounds.
The Cardinals defended it well and head coach Mike Zimmer said that they brought more rushers than the Vikings were expecting. But even if Bridgewater saw all this and did not like his team’s chances, there was no opportunity for him to call something else.
“It’s not a play that I could have checked out of,” Bridgewater said.
Looking back on it, the quarterback realized he probably should have just thrown the ball over running back Adrian Peterson’s head and out of bounds to stop the clock, but you can’t blame him for wanting to gain a few extra yards for kicker Blair Walsh.
If the ball stayed where it was, it would have been a 49-yard attempt for the kicker, which is doable but by no means an easy kick.
Zimmer also looked back on the final play of the game and had a different thought than his quarterback. On Monday, the head coach said that he probably would have changed it up if he got a chance to do it over.
“Yeah, you know, if I knew that was going to happen I probably would have done something different,” he said. “I thought about kicking the field goal with the 13 seconds left on the clock. If we missed the field goal, I’m wrong, we should have got closer. I did the best that I thought we could at that particular time.
“In retrospect, probably could have called something else or we could have kicked the field goal or whatever.”
The one person on the Vikings team that seems to be standing by that final play call is the man who called it, offensive coordinator Norv Turner. He was asked about the play on Thursday and why Bridgewater didn’t have the option to check out of it if he did not like what he saw.
“It’s a good play,” Turner said. “There’s no reason to check out of it.”
He explained himself a little before that statement, saying that it is a play they work on a lot in practice. The team was comfortable running that play and has shown the ability to have success running it.
“First of all, we’ve got a lot of sideline plays,” Turner explained. “This is one that’s worked for us last year; it’s worked for us in the past. We never have a sideline play where we don’t have a quick outlet. Adrian was the quick outlet. The way they defended the play, if we had it to do over again we would have thrown the ball over Adrian’s head and kicked the field goal. They defended the play real well. Obviously, we’re getting ready for the Bears. My only thing I’d say, I think everyone will learn from that play.”
Even if there is some disagreement on the play call, the one thing that is clear is everyone in the Vikings organization is ready to move on from it.