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Mike Zimmer 'thought about' kicking a third-down FG

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The Vikings could have pushed Thursday night's game into overtime if coach Mike Zimmer opted to kick the ball on third down, a decision that sounds great with 20/20 hindsight.

Kicker Blair Walsh would have had a 48-yard attempt. On the season, he is six of seven between 40 and 49 yards, and 83 percent overall. But on a night when Teddy Bridgewater was having one of his best career games, Zimmer opted to trust the young quarterback to move the ball a little closer.

Walsh was 10 of 12 from 30-39 yards and seven for seven inside the 30-yard line.

"Yeah, I thought about it," Zimmer said afterward. "I thought about a lot of things. I thought about throwing the ball in the end zone ... but you know, we were trying to get the ball out of bounds, get a little closer to kick the field goal."

Zimmer added on Friday, "If I knew (the fumble) was gonna happen, I probably would have done something different, but I thought about kicking the field goal with 13 seconds left on the clock. If we miss the field goal, I'm wrong.

"It's a play that we practice every week for a situation like that," he continued. "They had more people rushing in that particular play than normally, so that was a little bit different. Then, we got beat. In retrospect, we probably could have called something else or we could have kicked a field goal or whatever."

While this will be looked at as the decision that ended up dropping the Vikings out of first place, it needs to be placed in a proper perspective. Walsh is a great kicker but kickers almost always have a better shot if they're closer. It's that simple. The team drew up some sideline routes and, as Bridgewater told reporters afterward, he had a countdown clock in his head.

If anything, the blame needs to fall on Minnesota's offensive line, though that isn't totally fair, either. This was a perfect situation for the Cardinals to draw up a blitz because they knew the Vikings weren't running the ball. At the very least, they could let Dwight Freeney rip and see what happened.

"I don't know. I got beat," Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil said. "That's what happened."

After the game last night, there were fans calling this one of the worst coaching decisions of the season, which is a statement entirely devoid of perspective. What Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner were doing was pretty much by the book, and it doesn't come close to some of the atrocities we've seen across the league this year which make us consistently beg every coach to hire their own Ernie Adams.

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