Wes Phillips: Running the ball is important, but winning is most important

Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers
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With Kevin O’Connell on hand as the head coach, offensive coordinator Wes Phillips won’t be calling the plays for the Vikings in 2022 but he did share some insight into what the team’s approach is going to look like on that side of the ball when he held his first press conference since coming to Minnesota on Thursday.

One area that Phillips touched on was running the football. The Vikings ranked in the middle of the pack when it came to rushing attempts during the 2021 season, but they often ranked near the top of the league during Mike Zimmer’s run as their head coach.

Phillips didn’t put any number on the amount of rushing attempts the team will be shooting for in 2022, but he did say that the team won’t be running the ball for the sake of running the ball.

“I think any coordinator who’s good will tell you the running game is important, but I would say that winning the game is most important,” Phillips said, via Will Ragatz of SI.com. “You’re going to play some teams who, scheme-wise, they make it very difficult to run based on their personnel and their scheme. A guy that comes to mind is Todd Bowles. Always had one of the best defenses against the run and you see a lot of people’s press conferences after they play Todd Bowles’ defense, and they say, ‘Why did you abandon the run, why did you abandon the run?’ It’s like a broken record. Well there’s a reason for that. They’re daring you to throw it a lot of times, and sometimes that’s what you’ve got to do to win the game. So the running game is certainly important, and you always feel better about staying on track, not being in second and longs, third and longs where more of your playbook is available. So yes, the run game is critical, but in the end it’s about winning the football game.”

With Dalvin Cook on hand, the Vikings aren’t likely to be abandoning the run at a drop of a hat but the way they handle getting him the ball may look a bit different than it did under the previous regime.

13 responses to “Wes Phillips: Running the ball is important, but winning is most important

  1. Somehow everyone who is a head coach now seems to think they need to be the play caller. It rarely works out. You end up neglecting other aspects of being a Head Coach in game.

  2. I remember a Monday night game against the Patriots in 2006. The Vikings were known for their run defense and finished the season first in the NFL. The first rush attempt from the Patriots was an 8-yard loss by Corey Dillon. After that, the Patriots passed on almost every play until they started running more when they had built a 31-7 lead.

    Contrast that mentality with what Mike Zimmer said at halftime at Green Bay when he was behind 20-3. They had rushed seven times for 17 yards in the first half. He said they need to run the ball more. Granted, Sean Mannion was playing QB so the passing game wasn’t working either, but running the ball was not the way to get back into the game.

  3. Teaspoon depth by Phillips in that article.

    So the HC will call plays although he’s never done so before. And Phillips is a sideline OC doing what … Bobby Bouchée water duty?

    3-14 kids anything better than that will require an investigation.

  4. Wish we had a super bowl winning quarterback in East Dakota. We’d happily kiss his butt.

  5. In my kids high school basketball game, the coach had his offense. In the playoffs the team that beat them knew exactly what we were going to do, and the defenders actually beat our players to the spot they were supposed to shoot from. But we kept running it while they won. We had some slashing driving style players it would’ve been very successful against that defense but he wouldn’t let them. And he lost. I know that is high school basketball, but it doesn’t matter what sport is or what the level is. The ability to adapt to what you have from a player and skill standpoint, as well as the ability to adapt to what the defense is giving you the is the difference between a great coach and a hack. You could be a very successful hack with great players, but you ain’t gonna win any Super Bowls. That’s why the Vikings were roughly 500 in the Zimmer era. He was not a great coach. I wanted him to be one, but at the end of the day, he just wasn’t. Let’s see how the newer gym does.

  6. I’m not in MN but Packer fans are important to mè. They make my toilet paper. Thank you.

  7. aypeeswhippingstick says:
    February 25, 2022 at 11:39 am
    Has anyone told him winning isn’t what they’re known for in Minnesota? Since 1970 Minnesota is the 6th best winning team in the NFL, with a record of 451-354-4. 2 spots ahead of the Packers.

  8. As Viking fans, about all we have is picking on the Packers if they don’t win it all. It’s not like we have a tradition of winning anything to talk about.

  9. How many super bowl wins in those 451 wins since 1970?? Or in the whole franchise history?? I’d be thrilled with one!!

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