For a general follower of the NFL, it would have appeared that the Minnesota Vikings put together a strong performance in the final minutes of Week 5 to come away with a last-second win over the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday afternoon.
The Vikings, who fell behind by one with less than a minute remaining, marched down the field in a little over 30 seconds to set up a field goal as time expired to take down the Lions 19-17 to move to 2-3 overall on the season and avoid devastation of blowing a late lead against a struggling and winless divisional opponent. Even with the late win, Minnesota’s fan base and many who follow the team feel though the victory was anything but that, but rather feels more like a loss than a win.
Minnesota Vikings Week 5 Victory Feels More Like a Loss Than a Win
Minnesota’s Showing Against Detroit
In the Vikings win over the Lions last Sunday in Minneapolis, Minnesota was able to get out to a 13-3 lead in the first half, which was an expected and encouraging sign for the purple and gold to take care of business at home. In the fourth quarter, however, the Vikings let up that late lead and made things much closer than it needed to be against a struggling Detroit squad still looking for its first win of the season.
What was even more concerning about Minnesota’s performance outside of letting up that lead was the way of which the team performed, mainly on the offensive side of the ball. The Vikings offense didn’t look like it had much flow to it during the game and the play-calling by the coaching staff was something of question throughout the contest.
With the firepower such as Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook — although he did not play in Week 5 — the Vikings must utilize that talent and take shots down the field to put points on the board. Minnesota did not do that, and part of that is on the coaching staff. That’s one aspect that made this win almost feel more like the opposite outcome by the end of the day.
Team Performance This Season
Not only was the Week 5 performance one that was concerning even with the outcome of a win, the lackluster performance was yet another addition to the growing list of questionable performance by the team as a whole to start the 2021 season.
Even with the season entering the sixth week of the regular season schedule, the Vikings have not impressed by any means in five games to this point, falling in games they could have easily won and perhaps should have won. From mental errors taking place to not taking advantage of opportunities to put games away when they present themselves, Minnesota could easily be a team that has just one or two losses rather than a record of 2-3 overall.
As a whole, from the player performance to the calls made by the coaching staff, the performance of the team in totality hasn’t been impressive or what we expected out of a team trying to get back to the playoffs and take advantage of a roster that is filled with talent. The Week 5 win, which was not pretty by any means, just added to that growing level of concern for Minnesota.
Questions at Head Coach?
Coming out of Week 5, one of the biggest questions that has increasingly grown larger is the uncertainty at the Vikings head coaching position and notably if Mike Zimmer’s time in Minnesota could ultimately be coming to an end sometime soon. Over the last few weeks, Zimmer has been on the hot seat and the performance against Detroit made that seat hotter before the halfway mark in the season.
If the Vikings would have lost to the Lions at home, it would not have been that surprising to find out that Zimmer and the Vikings would part ways and Minnesota would try and start with a new voice leading the team on the sidelines. But the game ultimate resulted in a win for Minnesota, which has resulted in Zimmer holding onto his job for at least the moment.
It’s not that Zimmer has lost the locker room or there are any off-the-field issues that would result in him losing his job, but rather the fact that the Vikings have underwhelmed most recently over the last few seasons with a talented roster has been one of the biggest concerns. That, along with Zimmer having more of an old-school approach to how he likes to manage the team and call plays, has the Vikings fan base growing restless while some are calling for a change as soon as possible.
Even if Zimmer remains as Minnesota’s head coach for the rest of the year, whether or not the Vikings improve before the regular season concludes and if they reach the postseason or not could make or break the veteran coach’s tenure with the purple and gold.