Vikings Need to Hire PJ Fleck as Ball Security Consultant
The Minnesota Vikings beat themselves for the second-straight game on Thursday, and they’ll now enter week 3 at 0-2. Their offense moved well enough overall, posting 374 yards of total offense, but the run game was nowhere to be found again (28 yards rushing).
On the other side of the ball, Brian Flores’ defense may be (very very very) vulnerable against the run, but it’s looked rather formidable, overall. At the least, it’s a lot better than what we saw in 2022.
Minnesota Vikings fumble another game away…
But through two weeks of the season, none of that positivity matters. The Vikings’ propensity for untimely turnovers and heartbreaking mental mistakes has overshadowed anything positive, thus far, and the team is now in serious jeopardy of letting 2023 go off the rails before it really even gets started.
After turning the ball over three times in their week 1 loss vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Justin Jefferson & Co doubled down on Thursday vs the Philadelphia Eagles and gave it away four times. Six of those seven turnovers have been lost fumbles. The Vikings have literally fumbled their first two games away.
The Vikings have now lost 6 fumbles this season — the most by any team through the first 2 games of a season since the 2003 Rams (7). (h/t@ESPNStatsInfo— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) September 15, 2023
Vikings should hire PJ Fleck as a ball security consultant
There may be only one person who can save the Vikings from themselves. He may be a little busy, around this time of year, but he works right across town and likes money. So if Kevin O’Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah want to fix the Vikings’ fumbling problems, and the Wilf family is willing to pay top-dollar, it’s possible that Minnesota Minnesota Gophers head coach, PJ Fleck, might come on as a part time ball security consultant.
PJ Fleck is known for a lot of things (Row The Boat, running down sidelines, elite press conferences) but it’s his obsession with ball security that overshadows anything else he preaches as a coach. To say Fleck goes above and beyond, to ensure ball security, would be an extreme understatement. To Fleck, “The Ball is the Program”.
But Fleck doesn’t just preach ball security, he incessantly coaches it. For example, Gopher ball carriers are NOT allowed to switch the ball from one arm to the other, while running. It doesn’t matter which way you zig-zag or what sideline you’re on. Whatever arm you start the ball in, is where it stays. No questions asked. Why? Because switching arms means the ball is vulnerable for a split second and that is not ok.
And remember the Justin Jefferson fumble at the goal line last night? The one that went over the pylon and resulted in a touchback for the Eagles?
That wouldn’t have happened under PJ Fleck. Why? Because stretching out to gain first downs or touchdowns is NOT allowed in his program, unless it is a do-or-die moment.
We saw Fleck’s logic last night. Stretching your arm(s) out, to gain that extra yard, exponentially increases the likelihood of a fumble. If JJ had done that under Fleck, he would have been immediately benched, whether it had worked or not. No questions asked.
Before or after the whistle, you take care of the football
But PJ’s obsession with protecting the football goes beyond his outside-the-box rules, while carrying the rock. Sometimes, you have to go above and beyond, to get your point across. Not only are Gophers expected to protect the ball, while it’s in-play, they must safeguard it after the whistle blows, too.
When the college squad plays this weekend, pay attention when the Gophers’ offensive plays are blown dead. Never will you see them drop or toss the football, in celebration of a big play, or even toss it to the referee. Under PJ Fleck, you love and protect that ball until you find someone (usually a ref) to gently hand it off to.
Again, ball security isn’t just a focus, it’s a lifestyle. When Fleck says, “the ball is the program”, he means it and goes to extreme lengths to make sure the team knows how serious he is.
So, if the pro team in town wants to fix their fumbling problems ASAP, Kevin O’Connell will call his friend, PJ Fleck, to help them fix it.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan