I sent out this Tweet during the 2-minute warning of the fourth quarter, when the Seahawks were leading 10-9 and facing third down out of the break: “12-10, Vikes, mark it down.’’
This was done out of a genuine feeling that the Seahawks would be stopped and the Vikings would move into field-goal range for Blair Walsh – already 3-for-3 on an afternoon when Seattle coach Pete Carroll was reluctant to allow his guy to try them.
That is what occurred. The Seahawks were stopped and the Vikings moved into a field-goal range. And soon I was offering this Tweet:
“Gary Anderson falls into 2nd place on list of worst missed FGs in history of Minnesota Vikings Football, LLC.’’
Actually, I spelled it Andersen, because I always get our Gary mixed up with Atlanta’s Morten, who made the overtime field goal to beat the Vikings in the NFC title game in January 1999.
The responses in Tweetland were almost unanimous in disagreement with my contention that Walsh’s miss in a first-round playoff game could surpass as worst-ever Anderson’s miss in a game that could have sent the Vikings to a Super Bowl.
I’m sticking with my contention that Walsh’s on Sunday is now No. 1 and here are the reasons:
1-Anderson’s field goal from 38 yards came with 2:18 to play and with the Vikings leading 27-20. It would have put the lead at 30-20 and made it roughly 90 percent that the Vikings would win.
Yet, Atlanta did score its tying touchdown with 57 seconds remaining. If that had been a touchdown to cut the lead to 30-27, there was always the onside kick and the possibility of a recovery for the trailing team.
Ask the 2014 Green Bay Packers about that one.
Thus, Anderson’s field goal attempt did not come with a guarantee of victory, only an extreme likelihood.
2-Walsh’s field goal would have put the Vikings ahead 12-10 with under 30 seconds to play. He would have flopped a kickoff down near the goal line, and Seattle would have had a couple of desperation plays with no timeouts remaining.
Walsh’s field goal would have won the game … 100 percent.
3-Walsh’s field goal was 11 yards closer. That matters. It’s more improbable to miss a 27-yarder in frozen conditions than it is to miss a 38-yarder, even when it’s being kicked indoors.
4-The fact Anderson hadn’t missed a kick all season was merely a quirk, not a factor in whether it should be rated as a worse miss than Walsh’s on Sunday.
5-The 1998 Vikings deserved what they got against Atlanta. Yes, the Falcons were 14-2, but it wasn’t a “this team is fantastic’’ 14-2 … more a tribute to an Atlanta team with resiliency.
The Vikings were 15-1 and they were a fantastic football machine on offense.
The Vikings played well but not great on that Sunday in the Metrodome. They allowed a team that was their inferior – the Falcons – to hang tough and it cost them.
6-The 2015 Vikings did not get what they deserved on Sunday. It was so miserably cold that it had to take fortitude for the 22 athletes on both sides to involve themselves in every play.
The Vikings were taking on a Seattle team with a ferocious defense and with an offense that had been tearing up most opponents through the second half of the schedule. This included the Vikings, 38-7, in early December in the same TCF Bank Stadium.
Mike Zimmer’s defense held the Seahawks scoreless into the fourth quarter. It took Russell Wlson scooping up a ball like the baseball player he was to create a long, busted play and give life to Seattle’s offense.
And then after it fell behind 10-9, the Purple defense still held the Seahawks and gave the offense a chance. All the Vikings needed was one little drive to pull the upset, and they got it with a pass interference call and then Kyle Rudolph’s rumble down the sideline.
I know the Seahawks were 10-6 and the Falcons of 17 years earlier were 14-2, but in my judgment, this was a more-complete team the Vikings were playing in sub-zero freezing on Sunday than in January 1999.
And the Vikings had ‘em beat, and then Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal. It didn’t cost the Vikings a Super Bowl trip, but it cost them a chance to stay alive.
Considering odds faced, effort expended and victory guarantee provided, it puts Walsh’s missed 27-yarder ahead of Anderson’s 38-yarder for worst-ever missed field goal for the Vikings.
That’s my list. You’re entitled your own.