Ryan Ficken Deserves Praise For Vikings’ Special Teams Performance

One week means very little, all things considered. Nevertheless, it was encouraging to see the Vikings play so well on special teams. Ryan Ficken, the Minnesota Vikings special teams coordinator, deserves credit.

Vikings.com published an article highlighting how PFF ranked Minnesota’s special teams as the best in the NFL following Week 1. Coordinator Ryan Ficken is encouraged by the team’s opening week: “We’ve got a great group of guys on the roster, and we can achieve a lot as long as we play consistently and play Minnesota Vikings football.” That being said, he knows that there’s still work to be done: “It was exciting to see that, the first one under our belt, but now we know what we’ve got to do moving forward.”

Earlier this week, I wrote about the importance of special teams in this week’s game against Arizona: “Our margin for error against Arizona will likely be very small. Kyler Murray is going to be difficult to corral; DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, and Rondale Moore are all ranking in PFF‘s top 12 WRs after one week. Chase Edmunds is versatile. J.J. Watt, Markus Golden, and Jones are going to overwhelm our OL. Behind them are Budda Baker, Zaven Collins, and Isaiah Simmons. Life is going to be difficult for the offense and defense.”

It’s the small margin for error that makes me nervous. The defense and offense are going to have their hands full. Can they overcome special teams mistakes? From my vantage point, I don’t think they can. For this reason, I think Ryan Ficken will need to ensure his unit replicates their elite Week 1 play for our Minnesota Vikings to avoid going 0-2.

The aforementioned article on Vikings.com mentions that Arizona put forth a lackluster special teams performance last week: “The Vikings now travel to Arizona in Week 2 to face the Cardinals, who rank 29th in PFF grades after one game with a mark of 58.4.” There is some potential, then, to gain an advantage on Arizona when the specialists are on the field.

During the offseason, I predicted that Arizona would win the game. The Week 1 games did little to change my perspective. Let’s hope I end up being wrong on this one; the special teams may be the critical factor.