Three days after the Vikings lost 26-23 to Detroit in overtime to fall to 0-3, right guard Anthony Herrera was still stinging from the play that truly spelled doom. Ahead 20-17 with just less than 12 minutes to play, the Vikings opted to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the Lions 17 rather than using Ryan Longwell to pad the lead. And instead of using All-Pro Adrian Peterson to pick up the yard, the Vikings called Toby Gerhart’s number. Gerhart, of course, was stuffed. And from that point on, the Lions had all the momentum.
“That’s still eating at me,” Herrera said Wednesday morning during the team’s open locker room session. “That’s the kind of situation that makes you salivate on the offensive line. Third-and-1, fourth-and-1, that’s where you make your money. It’s like being down on the goal line. That’s where we have to excel.”
As for what went wrong on the play?
“I’m not going to get into what misfired,” Herrera said. “But I can tell you that the next time we have that situation arise, we will be ready.”
The eighth-year veteran also rolled his eyes at the ongoing criticism from fans and reporters who blame the Vikings’ three second-half collapses this season on a lack of halftime adjustments, a cliché line of reasoning.
“It’s easy for people to point fingers,” Herrera said. “They can take the easy route and say whatever they want to say. But honestly they have no clue what the coaches are asking us to do. They have no clue what plays were called and what guys were supposed to do on each given play. So people can keep talking. They can keep saying whatever they want to about adjustments. But look, we have a tight-knit locker room here. Everybody knows what is going on. No one’s head is down. So people on the outside can talk as much as they want to. We really don’t care.