Lurtsema's Reaction: The Little Things

Mike Tice's attention to detail surfaced in Friday night's game and gave the Vikings a strength they haven't had in a number of years.

Win number one for new head coach Mike Tice — one of a hundred to come. But just a preseason win? I think not.

This entire training camp, the basic approach has been to see what the players can do, both mentally and physically and then watch for improvement. Well, it's the same for the coaches, because during training camp the players are getting a feel for the coach's attitude and approach to games. The players will end up as a reflection of the coach's personality, and together they both hope to get a winning end result.

The Vikings are doing it this year by working on the little things, just going step by step and not starting training camp in a full sprint. They truly want to just mature from within the organization — working diligently on little things, even clock management.

I love the way Coach Tice worked the clock in the last two minutes of this game. He used his time outs correctly, maxed out the play clock, even taking a 5-yard penalty for delay of game and then with only three seconds to go in the game had punter Nick Murphy take a safety as time expired.

The Minnesota Vikings in the past two years have handled the last five minutes of each half poorly. But then the players should be as aware of the situation as Tice was. As a player, you cannot make a big play and then go into a dance routine (which I am now starting to enjoy, at least when the player deserves it). Players must be aware of the little things — like down and distance, time remaining in the game and time outs remaining. Before each and every snap, they should have a plan on what to do at the end of each play depending on what the circumstance calls for. It's not that difficult, and the coaches must instill this thought process in the players, which Tice did last week.

Some fans may think this isn't that big of a deal, but to me it is HUGE. For those who don't agree with me, let me take you back to the 1998 season against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game. In the last five minutes of the game, the clock stops when a player goes out of bounds and will not restart until the ball is snapped. In that particular game, on several occasions Vikings players went out of bounds, stopping the clock in the last five minutes of regulation. Had these players stayed in bounds on those particular plays, the Atlanta Falcons would not have had an opportunity to kick the game-tying field goal. Of course, you know the rest of that painful history.

This Minnesota Vikings offense will be one of the most explosive in the National Football League this year. With the deep threat of D'Wayne Bates, Randy Moss and running back Michael Bennett going down the sidelines, it is going to create some tremendous excitement. If the defense continues to make as much improvement as they did last week, Mike Tice might just reach that 100-victory mark a lot quicker than people think.

Viking Update Top Stories