The Texas-born prospect’s electric personality has been infectious, however, it came back to bite the Vikings’ when Boyd, in a lapse of concentration and a moment of uncontrollable excitement, did not set himself in position on a fake punt play against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
Instead, he waved his arm to punter Briton Colquitt to signal he would be open and wiggled around everywhere at the right gunner position. As the ball was snapped, Boyd had not set his feet, drawing an illegal shift penalty.
This Vikings fake punt was so perfect it should negate the illegal shift penalty. pic.twitter.com/Rv5XQn932w
— Jeff Eisenband (@JeffEisenband) November 22, 2020
Boyd committed a block in the back penalty on the following play, giving the ball to the Cowboys near midfield, which they took for a go-ahead score in the second quarter. The play was one of many that dug the Vikings into a first-half hole that could have been avoided in their 31-28 loss to the previously 2-7 Cowboys.
Zimmer did not shy from calling out a player that, while he was on special teams, he works with personally.
“Both of those penalties were on Kris Boyd,” Zimmer said in his postgame press conference “He didn’t get set for a second. And then he shoved a guy in the back. You can’t do that.”
Boyd has started the past three games and is becoming a regular at cornerback after playing special teams last season as a rookie, however, his blunders on Sunday proved costly as he continues to serve double-duty on defense and special teams.
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Zimmer on Miscues: ‘Guys Feeling Their Oats’
On Monday, Zimmer addressed several questions after watching the tape and attributed Sunday’s mistakes was the team getting ahead of itself in the midst of a three-game win streak.
“We had a couple mistakes,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “A little bit had to do with these guys feeling their oats a little bit. Now they’re going to be playmakers and go out and do this and do that instead of just doing their job, and I think that showed up a few times.”
When asked about cornerback Chris Jones’ non-attempt at a tackle which led to a Tony Pollard touchdown late in the fourth quarter, Zimmer gave a short, stern response, agreeing with a reporter that he had a problem with it and that it was addressed.
Veteran safety Anthony Harris agreed that it felt like mistakes were made at every position group on Sunday, including Harrison Smith and his coverage on the game-losing touchdown to Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz.
“From the secondary down to the defensive line and the linebackers,” Harris said, “We all kind of took turns making mistakes and maybe not being where we needed to be.”
Closing Out Games ‘Not Really’ a Concern, Says Zimmer
Zimmer stated on Monday that closing out games is “not really” a concern, but after Sunday’s loss, the Vikings blew their third fourth-quarter lead in their third loss by three points or less this season.
Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune reported those three blown leads ties the 2014 and 2016 seasons for the most in Zimmer’s tenure with six games to go.
“Last three games before [Sunday], we closed out games defensively,” Zimmer said. “We just didn’t play well enough. Fourth and six, they made a good play on us. We gave up a 40-yard run. We didn’t play the run well enough. We weren’t tight enough in coverage [Sunday], didn’t get any pressure on the quarterback. So, all those factors combined, and it wasn’t a good day.”
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Trevor Squire is a Heavy contributor covering the Minnesota Vikings and journalism graduate from the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities. Connect with him on Twitter @trevordsquire and join our Vikings community at Heavy on Vikings on Facebook.