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“In that situation, I’m always going for the win”: Mike Zimmer isn’t second-guessing his decision

Alexander Mattison
Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison is brought down by the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Mike Zimmer made it clear following the Vikings’ 27-26 loss on Sunday in Seattle that he was comfortable with his decision to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the Seattle 6-yard line with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and Minnesota up by five points. A field goal would have put the Vikings ahead by eight, meaning the best the Seahawks could have done would have been to force overtime by scoring a touchdown and adding a two-point conversion.

Zimmer, however, saw an opportunity to put the game away and he took it. Unfortunately for the Vikings, backup running back Alexander Mattison was stopped for no gain. Seattle took over at its own 6 and Russell Wilson (no surprise) directed a game-winning drive that started with 1 minute, 57 seconds left on the clock.

So after the Vikings’ long flight back from Seattle, had Zimmer changed his mind about his decision? Nope.

“In that situation, I’m always going for the win, I don’t care,” he said Monday. “We’ve done that many times and we’ll continue to do it. We have a half-yard to go, we’d been running the ball really well. I felt like their defense was tired. We hit two other fourth downs earlier in the ballgame. So, I’ll do it again next time it comes up. You’ve got a chance to win the game, you’ve got to go for it.”

Replays showed that Mattison could have had an easy first down, and potentially a touchdown, if he had cut to the outside. But that did not happen. “There was a good seam there, but we kind of engrain in these guys, ‘Go get the first down,'” Zimmer said. “What happened was they kind of covered up the guards and tackles, and I think the linebacker came and C.J. (Ham, the Vikings’ fullback) met him in the hole and then the defensive end kind of backed into him. Obviously, if he would have bounced outside I’m sure he would have got it. There was a lot of space out there, Kyle (Rudolph) did a nice job blocking his guy. But that’s kind of the way it goes.”

Zimmer did not provide much of an update on running back Dalvin Cook, who left in the third quarter because of a groin injury. He returned for one play, but then sat out the rest of the game as Mattison took over as the Vikings’ primary running back. Cook had an MRI on Monday. “(The MRI) went pretty well, so we’ll see how he does this week,” Zimmer said.