Bad clock management is becoming a common theme for the Minnesota Vikings late in games and it happened again in their Week 2 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
In Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals, the Minnesota Vikings were the clear underdog according to almost every oddsmaker and analyst. Rightly so, as the Vikings were simply not good in Week 1.
The Vikings knew they had to improve quickly if they stood a chance against the Arizona Cardinals, who made light work of the Tennessee Titans in Week 1.
Minnesota came out swinging, and the improvements were clear for all to see, and they raced to a 7-0 lead. Things were looking good heading into halftime, Vikings kicker Greg Joseph missed an extra point, but he did convert a 52-yard field goal to put Minnesota up by two with 21 seconds to play in the half. Normally that’s how the half should end.
However, that was not the case. Instead of kicking it through the end zone on the kick-off, the Vikings opted for a squib kick which gave the Cardinals good field position with one timeout remaining. Just one example of the bad clock management that Minnesota fans have become accustomed to. Lazy defense coupled with a bit of luck resulted in a 62-yard field goal for Arizona to end the half.
Minnesota Vikings were way too conservative at the end vs. the Arizona Cardinals
Down by one point with about two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Vikings needed at least a field goal to win. A series of good plays got the drive started for Minnesota and it allowed themselves to get into Arizona territory with a minute and a half left on the clock.
Usually, this is a brilliant position to be in. Leave yourself enough time to go for the kill while making sure the opponent doesn’t have enough time to drive the other way.
With 40 seconds to go and the ball on the 19-yard line, the Vikings decided to settle, despite having a time out to spare. There was more than enough time for Minnesota to get even closer, or even try for a touchdown if they really want to.
Yet they decided to settle it ultimately resulted in Joseph missing a routine 37-yard field goal attempt to win the game.
This isn’t the first time Minnesota’s clock management has been called into question. It seems to be a reoccurring theme at the end of close games during the last few years. If the Vikings want to achieve any level of success this season, they will need to clear this up.