I’m an old school fan. Whenever my teams play I pull for them to win. I’m not one of these guys who think their team should ever tank for a better draft pick.
I’d be lying however if I said after the Vikes played their second game of the season that the thought of the Vikings are so bad they might have a shot at the number one pick didn’t enter my mind.
They looked so terrible an uncompetitive in the first two games, and when the injuries kept mounting up, I thought for sure it would be a possibility.
I no longer think that.
They still might end up with a high draft pick, (top 15, top 10, maybe even top 5 depending on the way the ball bounces) but It’s not gonna be the pick the worst team in the league gets to enjoy at the end of the year. Not with the Jets, Giants, and Broncos running out that schlep onto the field every Sunday.
The Vikings were very competitive this past week and should have beat the Titans. Now, that’s no feather in the team’s cap. Who knows how good the Titans even are (record 3-0 but it’s still early) and there are no moral victories in sports, especially the NFL. But the first two games of the year were so bad, I took solace in watching them play as well as they did this past week, from a competitive standpoint.
The way it worked Sunday was If you were a Vikings household name, you had yourself a day. Jefferson, Thielen, Cook, Cousins, Rudolph, Smith, Kendricks, and Ngakoue all either had big big games, or made huge plays when they needed to.
Next Sentence: What does this all mean?
There-in lies the dilemma. To me it can only mean one of two things.
Optimistically: It means the Titans are a good team with a solid defense and Minnesota had no problem scoring on them. And even though Tennessee scored 31 points, anyone who watched the game knows the back end of that Vikings defense played ten times better than they did the first two weeks, and made enough plays to give themselves a great chance to win. Showing improvement in the secondary is the most important thing this team can do at this point. It also means our key big name players mentioned above are back! They all came out to play and produced. Even our rookie wide receiver showed he was worthy of his first round selection. It means it’s still early in the season, and with only one division game played so far, no other NFC losses, and the new expanded NFL playoff format, maybe…just maybe…Minnesota could put a few wins in a row together and get back into this thing. It’s not impossible to make the playoffs at 9-7 or 8-8 this year.
Pessimistically: We played a close game against the Titans. BFD. Even though Tennessee is 3-0, they’re stale, unimaginative, and have no chance against anyone of substance in the AFC come playoff time. Ryan Tannehill is the worst quarterback the Vikings will face in their first 8 games of the season, and they couldn’t beat him. That doesn’t give me much faith in the future. Yeah all our big name players showed up and played well on Sunday…and that’s the result?…A close loss to the Titans? No wonder we’ve gotten blown out when those guys have struggled. And have we done anything to upgrade that offensive line since the days of Sam Bradford running for his life? I know some of the names may have changed, but how much better has it gotten in the trenches the past 5 years? Might want to think about that a little next time you plan on signing a system quarterback who depends on play action, timing, control, and limited chaos to function at a high level, to a 35 million a year contract extension. Right now we are looking at a team with a quarterback who can play well when everything is going well around him, that has shown almost no ability to put a team on his back and bring them down the field in the last two minutes to win a game. (Last year’s playoff game against the Saints being the lone outlier in his career) We’ve surrounded that QB with an offensive line that ‘works hard, fights their ass off, and competes every week’—according to their coach. Luckily I can translate coach speak…that’s just another way of saying we’re trying but we lack talent and ability up front to do anything we want to do consistently. And on the other end of the ball you’re trying to sell me that we’re now optimistic our defensive backfield can grow and continue to improve and compete like they did last week based on holding their own maybe 30% of the time against the juggernaut of Ryan Tannehill and the Titans bland offense. Please. Spare me. And Playoffs? How about you win a game then get back to me.
It’s sort of like that old joke: The pessimist says “Everything is terrible, things can’t possible get any worse.”
The optimist says “Oh yes they can.”