When the Vikings pulled into Seattle for a Monday night game in December 2018, they were at the height of their existential crisis on offense.
Only a Dalvin Cook touchdown with 1:10 to play kept them from being shut out for the first time since 2007, and the morning after their 21-7 loss to the Seahawks, coach Mike Zimmer fired first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo after months of disagreement about the direction of the offense.
According to Sharp Football Stats, the 2018 Vikings threw the ball 55% of the time on first and second down in close game situations (leading or trailing by seven points or less). That ratio was tied for the eighth-highest in the league; the Seahawks team that beat the Vikings that night threw the ball in such situations less than any team in the NFL.
“Just some beautiful football,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said that night,