Welcome back to our chronological look at the 10 plays that most shaped the Minnesota Vikings' 2013 season. Today: Play No. 9.
WHEN: Dec. 8, 2013
WHERE: A 29-26 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
THE PLAY: Jacoby Jones' 77-yard kickoff return touchdown.
WHAT THEY SAID: Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer: "I've gone back and forth on that a thousand times. I saw it happening. Going forward, we'll have our kicker see that and make a change, make an adjustment. But it still shouldn't matter. We've still got to cover it. I put our guys in a bad position."
IMPACT OF THE PLAY: The Vikings were up 26-22 with just 1:45 left when Priefer called for a mortar kick -- or a short, arcing kickoff -- to keep the ball away from Jones. Kicker Blair Walsh took too long to kick off, though, and tipped the Ravens off to the mortar kick by standing still for too long before taking a shorter approach to the ball. Jones ran up to field the short kick, found an alley down the sideline, scored a touchdown and put the Ravens ahead in a wild fourth quarter, meaning Cordarrelle Patterson's 79-yard touchdown with 1:01 left would only put the Vikings up by four points. giving the Ravens one more chance to come back and win the game. Of the handful of big returns the Vikings allowed this season, Priefer probably beat himself up for this one the most, since it came so late in the game and, Priefer admitted, he made the decision partly out of fear that Walsh would send a second straight squib kick out of bounds. " I didn't want to give them the ball at the 40-yard line. So that was going through my head, and I figured that we had been covering them well, but I flashed back to the week before -- we had covered [the Bears' Devin] Hester well the entire game until the one kick that [Hester returned at the end of the game to put the Bears in field goal range]. I thought the best course of action would be to kick the mortar kick. That's what I recommended to our head coach, and that's what he went with. Obviously, it didn't work out for us."