Two years ago, the Vikings needed only a 27-yard field goal from Blair Walsh with time expiring to defeat the two-time defending NFC champions. If you haven’t heard, Walsh missed.
And so at a time when many are pointing out that the Vikings have limited playoff experience, it’s that experience from early 2016 that’s still motivating them.
“I think there’s a lot of us in this locker room that have a sour taste from a couple years ago,” receiver Adam Thielen said during a recent visit to PFT Live, “when we thought we had the chance to win in the first round in the playoffs and move onto the next round and who knows what happens after that. There’s a lot of guys who were on that team and I think are going to bring that intensity to come out into that next round.”
One concern about the Minnesota offense relates to the relative disappearance of a downfield passing game.
“I think there’s definitely areas we could improve on the offensive side of the ball,” Thielen said. “But at the same time I think that’s a great problem to have when you’re winning games. Obviously, we probably didn’t hit the shots that we could’ve or we missed some opportunities whether that be receivers maybe running a bad route or maybe just a missed throw or maybe just not coming down with the ball. . . . There’s definitely things we can work on but that’s all right. . . . That’s what we’re all working on and we know as an offense we’ve got to put up points and we’ve got to be explosive to win games in the playoffs.”
It all starts later today, with a visit from a Saints team that has a coach and a quarterback who knows a thing or two about winning playoff games.