Sure the Vikings made at least SIX other egregious mistakes, but the missed kick is the one that “lost” the game

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately, it’s is a tale as old as time for Minnesota Vikings fans. The art of passing blame for a Vikings loss has all but become a right of passage that we teach our young here in the state of 10,000 lakes. It’s what we do here, and we’re doing it again after Sunday’s 34-33 loss to the Cardinals on the road.

It sounds something like this…

“Yeah Greg Joseph missed the field goal at the end, but there were *INSERT NUMBER HERE* other mistakes that cost the them the game as well.”

Fans do it, coaches do it, players do it too.

And it’s time to stop it.

Yes, the argument is there. Let’s rattle some off just off the top of our heads…

  • The missed extra point, don’t get me started.
  • The coaching decisions to not go for 4th and 1 after Cook left with injury. You were inside two minutes in the first half. Or more glaringly in the third quarter another 4th and one, this time with Dalvin back in there, and they punted. It’s playing not-lose rather than playing to win.
  • The busted coverage that led to the Rondale Moore 77-yard touchdown
  • The decision not to go for a two-point conversion after the Nick Vigil pick-six to go up by 7 points.
  • Dede Westbrook fielding the punt inside at the 6-yard line only to lose 4 yards and set the Vikings up at their own two yard line protecting a 2-point lead.
  • The decision to squib kick the ball at the end of the first half?
  • The 4th and 5 conversion from Kyler
  • The pooch 32-yard punt at the end.

Is that more than six, I lost count…

All of those situations factored in to the Vikings loss yes, but all of them could have been erased, poof and gone, if Greg Joseph makes a kick that has an 88% conversion rate throughout the league. It’s just a few yards back from an extra point.

Maybe the bigger issue that rises from this loss is the acceptance that this team needs to play perfect football, or have more aggressive decision making if they don’t want to have to rely on the kicker going forward. For a guy that seemingly doesn’t really like field goal kickers, Mike Zimmer sure plays to put the ball in their hand, or on their foot, at the end of the game pretty often.

In five of Zimmer’s seven seasons as head coach the Vikings have boasted a below average FG conversion rate, and some of those years were WAY below average. Worse yet, one of the two “good seasons” ended on a missed kick in 2015 from Blair Walsh in the playoffs.

If you can’t rely on the kickers