Mike Zimmer: I’ll go for it again on fourth down the next time

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Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer had a big decision to make late in Sunday night’s game against the Seahawks.

His team was up five at the two minute warning and faced a fourth-and-one from Seattle’s 6-yard-line. A first down would have all but decided the game while a field goal would have ensured the Seahawks couldn’t win the game in regulation.

Zimmer chose going for it, but Alexander Mattison was stopped short and the Seahawks won when Russell Wilson hit DK Metcalf for a touchdown with seconds to play. On Monday, Zimmer said the outcome didn’t change his view of the right way to handle the situation.

“You’ve got to make decisions quick,” Zimmer said, via Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com. “You don’t have time to ask analytics guys what to do. In that situation, I’m always going for the win. I don’t care. We’ve done that many times and we’ll continue to do it. We had a half a yard to go and we’d been running the ball really well. I felt like their defense was tired and we had hit two other fourth downs earlier in the ballgame. So I’ll do it again the next time it comes up. If we’ve got a chance to win the game, you’ve got to go for it.”

Zimmer didn’t consult analytics, but they would have backed up the choice as going for it left the Vikings with a slightly higher probability of winning. In either case, things still had to play out on the field and thatt didn’t work out for the Vikings this time.

49 responses to “Mike Zimmer: I’ll go for it again on fourth down the next time

  1. I know he is being criticized, but watch the replay. If the RB goes to the right of the lead block instead of the left, it is a walk in TD and everyone is saying how brilliant Zimmer is. D still should have stopped him from going 95 yards anyway. And 4th and 10…

  2. I don’t think people are second guessing the decision as much as appreciating the great drive from the Seahawks that followed it.

  3. If it was the Saints’ defense, I’d go for it (Zimmer seems to have NO’s number)

    In short: Right call, wrong team.

    Maybe Zimmer is still spooked from the Blair Walsh debacle.

  4. I’m always going for the win. I don’t care. We’ve done that many times and we’ll continue to do it.

    +++++

    This from the gentlemen who employed several offensive coordinators whose favorite 3rd and 7 play was a 3 yard pass.

    As to analytics somehow thinking you improve your chances of winning by eschewing the chippy for an eight point lead inside 2 minutes…..sounds like garbage in to me.

  5. As frustrating of a loss as it was, I agree with him. When you have been running the ball at will all night, you should have no problem with a short & inches 4th down that locks down the game.

  6. I’m sorry but going up 8 and needing to stop a two point conversion seemed like the better choice but it won’t matter if they don’t win soon. I’m guessing the vikings weren’t expecting to go 1-15.

  7. Tell me how kicking a FG there would have been a bad decision, considering this is what the Seahawks would have needed to do to WIN the game:

    1) Score a touchdown (in ~2 minutes)
    2) Convert a 2-PT conversion
    3) Score an OT Touchdown or Get an OT Defensive stop + OT Score

    By kicking what’s basically an extra point, you’ve just stacked the deck so much more in your favor that your odds of winning are like 98% at that point. But instead, you want with a 50/50 play (convert a 4th down).

  8. He needs to know those odds in his head. What a moron. Worst call of the year so far. Ar worst, his team was in OT.

  9. I think we should also critique the play call. It should have been a FG but if you’re going to go for it then short yardage like that should be a gimme for any competent QB sneak. No need to bring the ball two or three yards backwards to hand it off. Call for the snap, grab it and go. First down. Game over.

  10. Doesn’t surprise me at all. MN is well known for doubling down on stupid.

    I just love watching their fans cry.

  11. It was the right call, but if this team keeps it up the Zim won’t need to make these decisions for very long.

  12. I’ve just never been all that impressed with Mike Zimmer as a Head Coach.
    He’s been caught in lies several times playing fast and loose with the injury report and for some reason the NFL always gives the Vikings a pass on it.
    He tends to scapegoat his other coaches when the chips are down and that’s when the firings and stuffed animal abuse occurs.

    And in 7 seasons he’s only taken 3 of his teams to the postseason, despite having the most stacked roster in football. (According to your friendly neighborhood Barney fan.)

    If Matt LaFleur coaches GB to just 1 playoff win this season, he’ll already accomplish all of Zimmer’s postseason success in just his 2nd year as a coach.
    Let that sink in.

  13. I’m just not sold on the idea that if I “don’t make the line to gain the opponent gets the ball with time to score to win the game.” This is particularly not something I do against a QB like Russell Wilson. That said, I don’t think it was a mistaken call. It was a good play by the Seahawks, as was the subsequent winning drive.

  14. I had no problem with that call but being a Viking fan my problem is what Zimmer was known for and that was defense. The defense got blown out by Green Bay, Indy and had the lead and blew it against Titans, they almost blew it against Houston and did against Seahawks. Where is this great mind on defense?

  15. And then SEA went 94 yards and scored a TD…and FAILED on the 2-pt. conversion they would have needed to win had MIN kicked that chip shot FG. Oh Zim….

  16. Lot of sniveling.
    In particular. The way that game was being called you go for that 1/2 yard 10 out of 10 times and it isn’t even worth discussing further.
    I’m liking the vast improvement I’ve seen with this team since weeks one and two. I was pretty certain Zim and co. would be fired before the bye week. Huge progress.
    If there are playoffs this season, Minny will be in the mix. I certainly didn’t expect the Vikings to be anything more this season.
    This is a nice, extremely young team right now. Next season with the cap situation imploding, there will be a lot of teams making hard decisions. Minnesota’s roster is loaded with young guys on rookie deals the next few years. They’ve done an exceptional job to correct that dreadful cap situation they had.
    The ball just bounced Seattle’s way. It felt as much like an escape than a victory. Good for them.

  17. I should have added this about the call, he would not had to make that decision if he did not go for two points early in the game and then he could have kicked the field goal and they would have had a 9 point lead and a win.

  18. All of these green and yellows chiming in on what a terrible decision it was to go for 4th and 1 instead of trying a FG. These are the same ones that hoisted McCarthy on their shoulders for kicking FGs instead of going for it on 4th and 1. They lost also. Hypocrites.

  19. As a Viking fan of many years, I can assure you that the Vikings would have lost that game regardless of whichever decision Zimmer made.

  20. I don’t ever want to see a 2-point conversion attempt before the middle of the fourth quarter again. These coaches think they can’t be behind at any point in the game so they automatically go for two whenever they’re down by 8. You have no idea how the rest of the game is going to go. Let the thing play out and go for two at the end if it’s the only way you can win the game.

    The Vikings lost two games by one point this season, both because Zimmer went for two when he shouldn’t have. Tear up that conversion chart and the Vikings would be 3-2.

  21. I was frustrated with the call as well, and of course in hindsight everyone thinks we should have kicked the FG.

    But after thinking about it for a while I think that makes sense. He has a chance to cement the win by gaining 1/2 yard against a defense they had been running well on all game. If they don’t get it, Seattle has to drive the field and get a TD in less than 2 minutes, and the Seattle offense had been largely ineffective the entire game.

    It was the right call. It didn’t work out.

  22. It was the correct move, no question, and those who do question it are either cheeser trolls or Monday Morning Quarterback fan boys with nothing better to do but second guess after-the-fact. The analytics support the call, the NFL talking heads supported the move, the prior two successful 4th down plays supported it, and the blocking scheme was set up to succeed had the correct hole been hit by the RB. And no I don’t think Zim is the best coach in the world, and acknowledge that he’s a ridiculous goof with injury disclosures. However, if you saw the defensive schematic success Friday with an all rookie CB group and short-staffed D-line and LBs, you gotta admit the guy can coach defense. LaFleur’s success is attributed to one thing — a HOF QB — something Zim has never had at MN (so pat yourself on the back all you want on that fact cheesers).

  23. No one complained when he went two other times on 4th down and made it. Mattison showed he was good but no DalvinCook when he missed the hole. No the problem was the two point conversion. Not sure I understand that. And BTW don’t forget Cousins threw two interceptions that led to Seattle scores or this is a Minnesota blow out. Young team making mistakes.

  24. What he’s actually saying is; He has no faith whatsoever in his defense. Nada. Eight point lead? Less than two minutes? Give me a freakin’ break.

  25. I don’t understand this discussion, honestly! There is only one no-brainer option here and that is go for it on 4th and inches.

    What exactly would have changed with the 8 point lead? Seahawks still would have needed a TD. And the 2pt? From a team that drives down the field in 2 minutes, it should be no problem at all to have this 2pt (of course they didn’t get it, but it was not necessary in the game). And in that case overtime is clearly in the favour of the Seahawks. So you change nothing on the situation despite that you give the Seahawks extra 20 yds, they have to overcome, if the 4th and inches does not work. Remember they start from the 25 and not the 5 after the Field Goal.

    Given the possible beefit if your play works – meaning you have effectively won the whole game – this is a now-brainer risk to take, especially with the running game going with Mattison as well and a total of > 200 yds. Better field position, only inches to overcome, Running game looks good, one easy lookings plays seals the game. It is automatic, sorry guys…

  26. What with all us pack dudes here on Vikings stories. Oh yeah Shopko folded and we have a lot of time on our hands.

  27. if you saw the defensive schematic success Friday with an all rookie CB group and short-staffed D-line and LBs, you gotta admit the guy can coach defense.

    +++++

    He has coached good defenses in the past. But his current group is 25th in yards per game allowed, and tied for 28th in points. Maybe Zimmer’s in decline? Or maybe George Edwards did more than just hold a clipboard.

  28. Wafflestomp says:
    October 13, 2020 at 9:58 am

    I’ve just never been all that impressed with Mike Zimmer as a Head Coach.
    He’s been caught in lies several times playing fast and loose with the injury report and for some reason the NFL always gives the Vikings a pass on it.
    He tends to scapegoat his other coaches when the chips are down and that’s when the firings and stuffed animal abuse occurs.

    And in 7 seasons he’s only taken 3 of his teams to the postseason, despite having the most stacked roster in football. (According to your friendly neighborhood Barney fan.)

    If Matt LaFleur coaches GB to just 1 playoff win this season, he’ll already accomplish all of Zimmer’s postseason success in just his 2nd year as a coach.
    Let that sink in.
    ////////////////////////

    Matt LaFleur couldn’t have beat the Seahawks as the Vikings coach even if he had Rodgers and the best defense ever in the NFL.

  29. I AGREE with ZIMM “GO FOR IT” but i would have called a different play.
    Instead of running “UP THE GUT” when they are expecting that, run a
    “end around,or 2 pt cov. play” .
    But never try to “RUN UP THE GUT” you know they are gonna call BLITZ .

  30. Seahawks’ D on pace to shatter yards allowed.

    It was the right call. Remember Hawks had to go 95 yards in under two min with one time out.

    Kick the FG and Wilson gets a much shorter field.

  31. D will get back Adams, their best defender,Brooks (they’re using third string LB), R Green, last year’s sack leader who is yet to play, Snacks, who should shore up the run defense, and at some point their second pick, Taylor, who some said was the best pass rusher in the SEC.

    The D has to improve, but it doesn’t have to be great. They have been clutch.

    Also remember on O they’ll also get back Hyde and Penny (over 5 YPC career), Dorsett (more deep receiver speed) and possibly Flash Gordon. Their offense may get even better.

  32. stellarperformance says:
    October 13, 2020 at 1:25 pm
    What he’s actually saying is; He has no faith whatsoever in his defense. Nada. Eight point lead? Less than two minutes? Give me a freakin’ break.

    ‐——————
    Weren’t the Packers in the same situation about two years ago as far as young DBs? Then you should know. I’m not giving the ball back to Wilson the best QB in the NFC right now. I’m going for it and if Vikes don’t make it, my fave 53 don’t deserve to win.

    Its easy to play armchair QB from the anonymity of your phone and comment on a 50/50 play. I like the call it shows guts and a go down fighting attitude. Its a play and a loss like that can turn a season around. Not saying play offs, but considering as a Vikings fan the secondary we knew going into the season was going to be a problem this year. Its got better every week.

    Russell Wilson is a supreme QB, going for it was a no brainer because you dont want to give him the ball back.

    I want the Pack to be undefeated by the time the Vikings play them on 11/1. If the Vikings play like they did Sunday night, they will knock off the Packers.

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