Some have questioned the Vikings decision to punt the ball away when they were faced with a 4th and 10 situation on their own 36-yardline with 2:37 to play in the game and the Packers leading by 6 points. Those who do question that decision are wrong. Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier made the right call in punting, even though the outcome of the game went the wrong way.
The right decision in that instance is to punt the ball because that decision extends the game. Had the Vikings gone for it and missed, Green Bay is set up already in FG range. At that point, even if the Vikings defense holds Green Bay to zero yards on 3 consecutive plays, K Mason Crosby - who hit a 58-yarder earlier in the game – would come on to try a FG that would put the visitors up by
10 9 with around 2 minutes to go. Game over. And even if the Vikings convert that 4th and 10, they have a fresh set of downs, but still another 50+ yards to go for the go-ahead score.
Armed with 3 timeouts and the 2-minute warning, the right move is to punt because A) it put Green Bay deep in their own territory, B) it puts Green Bay in an all-run mode for playcalling so they can force the Vikings to use their timeouts and C) it could eventually create even better field position for the Vikings on their next drive if they force the Packers to punt after 3 plays.
As it turned out, the Vikings defense was unable to stop the Packers running game after punting. But prior to Green Bay running out the clock, the Vikings defense had held Green Bay’s offense to just 19 yards and 1 first down on the previous 7 plays, and the Vikings defense had also allowed just 59 rushing yards all game.
Frazier discussed the decision to punt while meeting with reporters on Monday afternoon.
“Not really,” Frazier said when asked if he was apprehensive about his decision to punt. “Not when I knew what the situation was with the clock and the belief I had in our run defense and the timeouts that we had and the two-minute (warning). I just thought it was a perfect storm for us. We had a chance to even get the ball back with plenty of time with better field position than what we started with the drive before. So no, I fully believe that it was the right thing to do at the time.”
And Frazier is right. Punting was the right decision because it ensured that the Vikings would remain alive. Going for it and not making it would’ve ended the game on the spot.
Tags: Leslie Frazier
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