Lurtsema's Reaction: Different Decisions

The Vikings had a number of critical decisions that could have made the difference in their 27-20 loss to the Giants, from personnel changes to play selection near the goal line.

Before I get into my true reaction on the content of the game, on behalf of the Vikings alumni I would like to thank Red McCombs for creating the Ring of Honor to recognize those alumni who played so well for the Minnesota Vikings of the past. In all the years I played with Carl Eller, who was inducted into the Ring at halftime of the Giants game, I know I've never seen him happier, and his huge smile and contagious laugh made it awfully fun for the 60 or so alumni who attended the brunch before the game and participated in the halftime ceremony. NFL teammates bond in different ways and some of this bonding occurs during losing seasons. The cream truly comes to the top and that's when you find out who has the passion for the game and who is in it for the money or some other unknown reason. Those on the field at halftime today all had the passion for the great game of football. And for that reunion, thank you, Red.

As for the game today, I think I better start believing in voodoo or witchcraft because it sure seems that week after week the Minnesota Vikings find a new way to lose, from unusual officiating, like a holding call on a punt return before the ball was kicked, to having a poor snap that set up an easy touchdown for the Giants.

Hindsight comes into play with every game, and when you lose a game in which you were leading with less than five minutes to go, you can pick a dozen different calls or situations that would change the outcome. There were some things that happened on the field that I might have changed. On third down before the Vikings' first field goal, Daunte Culpepper threw to Randy Moss in the left corner of the end zone when the strength all year has been to give the ball to Moe Williams at the goal line. The previous play was only a 1-yard gain by Williams because of a blown assignment by an offensive lineman. But on third down and less than 2 yards to go for a TD, trailing 7-0 with a 2-6 record, why not run it twice since that has been the one consistently successful area for the offense this year? You know the offensive personnel will not make that same mistake twice.

And about No. 1 draft choice Bryant McKinnie getting his first action this season, I didn't think he should have been in the game during the Vikings' last series after Todd Bouman had previously rallied the troops for two quick touchdowns. As it turned out, the offense's last play on the field was a 20-yard sack of Todd Bouman that came when McKinnie was beaten by defensive end Kenny Holmes. As an ex-defensive lineman, I can tell you that in the last five minutes of a game that means so much to the New York Football Giants' season, the defensive linemen's ears are set back to tee off and the adrenaline and emotion are never higher than they are at this point of the game. McKinnie is going to be good, but this was his first game in the National Football League, and it wasn't the first preseason game when rookie mistakes can be tolerated. Instead, it was the first game of the second half of the Giants' season, a game that means a lot to those defensive linemen.

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