3 things the Vikings need to improve heading into Week 10

(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) Josh Kline and Garrett Bradbury
(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) Josh Kline and Garrett Bradbury /
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(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) Kevin Stefanski
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) Kevin Stefanski /

Play Calling

Many thought the Vikings purposely went into the Redskins game in Week 8 with a conservative game plan. Minnesota knew they’d be without Adam Thielen and on a short week, they wanted to play it safe against an inferior opponent.

But then It was puzzling to see that the same type of game plan being utilized by the Vikings when they went against the Chiefs in Week 9.

In Kansas City, Minnesota opted for a lot of short dump-off passes instead of the play-action throws that worked so well during their four-game winning streak. Kirk Cousins was doing very well when Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski called plays for him to roll out, but there wasn’t much of that last Sunday.

Stefanski also didn’t use Dalvin Cook as much and instead of rookie Alexander Mattison, he went to Ameer Abdullah on a critical third-down carry early in the game.

Minnesota’s offensive coordinator also decided to call a deep pass to Laquon Treadwell and he didn’t take nearly as many shots down the field as he had in recent weeks. It’s almost as if Stefanski lost his edge and he was playing not to lose instead of just trying to win.

The worst part about Stefanski’s play-calling against the Chiefs was the series of plays he called late when the game was on the line. He tucked his tail between his legs and called short screens that didn’t go anywhere and another run up the middle, which hadn’t been working all day. It was tough to see the offense go three-and-out twice in those final crucial minutes of a game they should’ve won.

Stefanski needs to get aggressive against the Cowboys this week. With Adam Thielen likely out, it’s imperative he calls plays that get the ball into Stefon Diggs’ hands.

He also needs to use Mattison much more on Sunday. He’s proven to be an excellent counterpart to Cook and he should be seeing a minimum of six touches a game. Hopefully, the Vikings use a lot more play-action passes against Dallas and get Cousins rolling out and finding open men down the field.

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Minnesota will lose this game against the Cowboys if the play-calling stays as vanilla and conservative as it has during the last couple of weeks.