Let this loss be a lesson for the Vikings. You don’t always win the close games.

Let’s be honest: They thought the Vikings would find a way to win Sunday’s season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We all did.

No matter how confused the Vikings appeared for a long time, the expectation was that they would get the ball back at some point in the final minutes, then promptly march down the field and win the game, as they did about a dozen times last season had once.

Dane Mizutani next to his name

Everyone on the Vikings had the same feeling on the sidelines.

“Even if we got it back on our own 1-yard line,” head coach Kevin O’Connell said. “The expectation was that we would go down and try to win the game.”

What made the 20-17 loss so shocking for the Vikings.

They were ready to give the announced home crowd of 66,741 spectators another wonderful finish. In the end, they had to watch helplessly as Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield took several knees to shorten the playing time.

The state of shock was palpable throughout US Bank Stadium as tens of thousands of fans headed for the exits without really expressing their frustration.

It was almost as if they were so confused by the end result that they couldn’t even bring themselves to boo.

“We have to find a way to do something there, whether it be on offense or defense,” safety Harrison Smith said. “We’re too special a group not to do anything.”

Frustration was evident on quarterback Kirk Cousins’ face as he took the podium about 45 minutes after the loss. He looked like he had just gone the distance with former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. He hung his head in defeat as he began the postgame press conference.

“Hard to lose,” Cousins ​​said. “We have to play better.”

As a matter of fact. The most frustrating thing for the Vikings is undoubtedly that they were better than the Buccaneers all game long, and if they had simply limited their mistakes, they could have easily escaped with a win. They failed and it came back to bite them.

Let this loss be a lesson for the Vikings. You don’t always win the close games.

It’s almost as if the Vikings were caught in a false sense of reality by constantly winning on the sidelines last season. They were the embodiment of a statistical anomaly, going a perfect 11-0 in games decided by a single possession.

Whether it was the last-minute touchdown to beat the Detroit Lions, the incredible series of events to beat the Buffalo Bills, the impossible escape act to beat the Indianapolis Colts, or any of the other improbable victories in between – the Vikings began to feel like a team of fate with each passing week.

The Vikings not only seemed bulletproof in the fight, they seemed to believe they were, but that fell through with a disappointing first-round playoff loss to the New York Giants.

Ultimately, the Vikings learned what they should have known all along. That NFL teams are far too good to play with fire on a weekly basis. At some point you will get burned.

This was not a sustainable model of success last season and cannot be the standard this season either.

Feeling comfortable in close games is a good thing. Feeling invincible in close games is a bad thing.

The impact of Sunday’s loss to the Buccaneers cannot be overstated. This game was so important to the Vikings mostly because of what is now staring them in the face. Next month’s killing spree includes games against the Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Chargers, Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs.

If the Vikings had simply taken care of business against the Buccaneers, they would be heading into Thursday’s primetime game against the Eagles with some confidence. Instead, the Vikings have made a mess, and it’s up to them to clean up the mess before it snowballs.

https://www.twincities.com/2023/09/11/dane-mizutani-let-that-loss-be-a-lesson-to-the-vikings-you-dont-always-win-the-close-games/ Let this loss be a lesson for the Vikings. You don’t always win the close games.


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