And the award goes to………
Easy one. Running away. Wasn’t close.
Oh boy, where do I start?
First off, I just want to say thank you.
I’m truly honored and humbled to take home this award. To do it in my first year of unofficially covering the team, in front of my friends and colleagues, and to finish above all the mainstays from the Twin City area media groups, certainly means a lot to me and is an accomplishment I’ll treasure always.
It should go without saying that Mr. Jim Souhan is no longer a full-time columnist, which is a big reason this night is even possible. Jim…our paths crossed in the night, but your inspiration remains my shining light.
To my readers, I couldn’t do this without you.
To all the Viking fans out there, I just want to say, from the bottom of my heart,…
GET YOUR HEADS OUTTA YOUR ASSES!
I genuinely can’t stand most of you.
The educational threads you’re working with in your brains are thin, loose, and floating around aimlessly up there.
Aside from actually showing up and being loud at the stadium, 80% of you serve no purpose.
In fact most of you are counterproductive. Throwing out such false narratives as “this has been a great year of experience for these young guys on defense, they’ll all come back and be so much better next year.”
You know who’s gonna come back and be good next year? Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and Dalvin Cook. Spare me the certainty on anybody else.
Open your eyes.
Getting a lot of ‘mercy’ playing time certainly doesn’t directly correlate to improvement or getting better the following season.
A lot of these guys were back-ups to the back-ups. Many were signed from off the street or practice squads as the season went on. They did not improve at all.
It’s an insanely easy breakdown: 7 of the 11 starters on defense Sunday were young guys. Not one of them is good enough to be considered even an average NFL player. Most aren’t good enough to be on a roster anywhere in the league pre-COVID.
The young defensive line created no sacks, pressures, or hurry-ups all year. Opposing quarterbacks were playing school yard ball back there…all day to throw.
Offensive coordinator, and former super bowl winning head coach, Gary Kubiak, who’s been in the NFL since 1983, said in his exit interview with KFAN “What they went through on the defensive side of the ball personnel-wise and the people they lost, I’ve never seen it in my years of coaching football…I think the world of Mike Zimmer, his leadership and how he tries to win games. The Vikings are in good hands.”
80% of Vikings fans are gonna look at that and say see, we have our head coach, he’s great, next year we’ll be back and better than ever. Our defense won’t be that bad again. It’s impossible.
I look at that and say that’s how bad all our young guys playing defense actually were. We have nothing to build on from that. And we don’t have any cap space.
You can put me out there on defense for ten games, doesn’t mean I’ll develop into a professional football player. (Normally an absolutely terrible and lazy analogy but this is one of the rare cases where it actually fits perfectly. That’s how bad this defense was.)
If anything the only positive coming out of this season is we know definitively none of those guys on defense can play.
And before you jump me for the obvious, I’ve already stated in previous articles that Dantzler is a maybe if he can bulk up and stay healthy and Wonnum has a fighters chance to be a decent player.
Two maybes. Congratulations.
But, I digress with all these fans…if I get myself started on all these idiots it’ll divert from my acceptance speech…
Which is truly is an honor.
To be able to do game previews and post game analysis every week, while making fairly easy and obvious observations. And to listen to post game press conferences, and be able to express and showcase my overall common sense abilities every Sunday has been an amazing experience for me this year.
So much so I feel like I should share this award with the team, my readers, Twin City sports media members, and all other Vikings fans as well.
You kept me going.
Asinine columns like “Future at Cornerback? Vikings Like Their Young Core…” from beat writers with 20+ years of experience covering the team, and questions from fans such as “It’s early, but does the 2020 draft class have a chance of being Rick Spielman’s best as a Vikings general manager?” in the Monday Morning Mailbags…it’s hard to fathom how I rose above this sort of stiff competition to receive this award.
(This is the same GM that drafted Trae Waynes, Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter, and Stefon Diggs all in the same draft, correct? Kendricks, Hunter, and Diggs…all drafted in the later rounds…correct? Great question.)
It never ends with these fans.
In my determination to span the globe and figure out ‘Is Kirk Cousins good?’ I get some meathead in my mentions saying (and I’m paraphrasing for grammar and logistical reasons) ‘Cousins is bad, we have to get rid of him, draft a quarterback, and then we’ll be good again.’
That’s excellent advice. I’ll be sure to pass that message up the chain.
It’s so easy to find good quarterbacks these days. They’re falling from the sky.
There’s teams out there you can argue have never had a franchise QB. Just ask Cleveland, Jacksonville, and Chicago. How the Broncos been doing in that department since Manning left? How was Tampa Bay’s quarterback history before Brady? Have the Jets had one since Namath?
Even if you have the top pick in the draft it’s a total crapshoot on landing an actual starter, much less a franchise QB.
JaMarcus Russell, Tim Couch, David Carr, Sam Bradford, Jeff George, Alex Smith, Steve Bartkowski, Vinny Testaverde, Jameis Winston,…any of these number 1 overall picks make it to the Super Bowl? Any of them help turn a franchise around?
For every Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, there’s one of these guys right behind them.
Just get rid of Cousins and go get another one.
But there I go again, getting sidetracked from the purpose of this, which is to thank everyone for my award winning talents.
I’d like to thank myself for the dedication I’ve shown through the years with this team. It’s about time I started to get a little bit of credit for my unbiased and completely fair and objective opinions regarding the Minnesota Vikings. Past, present, and future.
This feels like more of a lifetime achievement award.
It’s just a shame it took me 38 years to finally start putting some of these ideas in print.
From a content standpoint I’d like to thank the Carolina Panthers coaching staff and kicker, Mike Glennon, Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota’s clock management, Minnesota’s special teams play, Minnesota’s 3rd down defense, Antoine Winfield Jr vs Jeff Gladney, the Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, the refs in the Tampa Bay game, and the general weakness of the NFC as a whole, which kept a very bad team’s playoff hopes alive until Christmas Day.
And, of course, Viking fans.
You all contributed to an extremely easy season of articles rooted in deep thought, superior in-depth analysis, and brilliant forecasting.
Most of them thrown together in 10-15 minutes of purely frustrated finger movement.
In closing I’d like to say, the Vikings 7-9 finish, as accurately predicted by yours truly in this article posted in late August, was astonishing. Considering all the manikins out there on defense this season, it was a borderline miracle season record.
I’m sure the offseason, whether it’s the draft, free agency, or any other news regarding the team, will find me coming back to print whenever needed.
Hell, I’m already reading there’s a fan petition going around gathering signatures calling for Minnesota to bring back Adrian Peterson next season, which there is obviously zero need for.
To be fair the author of the idea does say ‘to back-up Cook and Mattison, and get the farewell tour he deserves.’
Still, one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever heard. Let’s leave ol’ stone hands to somebody else, especially now that he’s lost a couple steps. 2012 was quite awhile ago now, especially in running back years.
If we’re gonna bring anyone back for a farewell tour let’s get Jarius Wright and Percy Harvin back into camp next year. I can’t think of a better way to solidify that 3rd wide receiver spot.
I’d start that petition right now if I felt it was worthy of the audience. Unfortunately 80% of the fans wouldn’t sign it…
Stay warm up there my friends.