Give this Minnesota Vikings team an A-plus for character this season, as they are definitely taking on the personality of first-year head coach Mike Tice. The Vikings spotted the Detroit Lions 14 points just 5:21 into the game, having just come off a two-week layoff after losing in Seattle while giving up 28 points in the span of 1:47. Looking back at having lost two or three winnable games in the first four of the season and dealing with off-field distractions as well, the Vikings could have looked at those negatives and starting packing it in the rest of the season. But not this young group of up and coming players.
When the Vikings defense stopped the Lions with 4:12 left in the fourth quarter and the score locked at 24 apiece, it was very refreshing to see Randy Moss on the sidelines pumping his fist as he picked up his helmet, realizing that the offense now had an opportunity to win this game outright. You could tell that the players were picking up the personality of Tice, and even though it sounds like I like our new head coach, I do have to disagree with Tice on one of his postgame quotes.
When the score was 14-10 with 4:21 to go until halftime, Tice decided to go for it on fourth-and-1. Tice's postgame quote was: "Looking back on it, we should have kicked a field goal." And then he stated, "but the defense rose up to the occasion."
For a head coach to make a decision like this, the overall effects far exceed just pleasing the home crowd. It totally fires up the entire team, especially the defensive unit because they know that he believes in their effort and execution even though their rankings are in the bottom half of the National Football League. Detroit coach Marty Mornhinweg had the same decision late in the fourth quarter on the Vikings 40-yard line — and he decided to punt. That poor decision made by Mornhinweg (and believe me, in his short career he'll be making a lot more) once again sent his team confusing signals and set them back one more step in this young season.
This game is played with emotion, and such emotion creates a roller-coaster ride each and every week. When a coach believes in a team, allows them to execute what they do best and fosters tremendous work ethic, that will always be met with success. And that's why Tice will be around long enough to continue building a winning program and Mornhinweg won't.
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