You’re gonna hear about how this team is close.
Just a move away.
A draft pick here, a free agent signing there, maybe one or two of the 2nd/3rd year guys step up into a superstar role, and we’re in business.
Close to what?
It is possible they’ll be a playoff team next year.
Hell, they were a bounce, a kick, and/or a call away from being a playoff team this year…With one of the worst defenses ever known to mankind, a quarterback everyone loves to hate, and a special teams unit unable to get through a single game without at least one big blemish.
They were also a bounce, kick, and one Teddy Bridgewater errant pass away from being 5-11.
That’s the NFL.
Making the playoffs means nothing.
Every year there are 5 to 7 teams that make the playoffs at 10-6, 9-7, 8-8, etc, that could have easily finished 8-8, 7-9, 6-10, etc and missed. There are 5 to 7 teams on the vice versa end of that spectrum as well.
All told 10-15 teams every year potentially make or miss the playoffs based on a lucky break, call, or bounce in one single game during the season.
The teams that make the playoffs this way are almost never contenders. The Packers, the only year they won the super bowl with Aaron Rodgers, and the Giants with Eli Manning–both teams that heated up at the right time—are the only examples I can think of where a franchise could’ve easily missed the playoffs and won it all.
The teams that are serious contenders, and/or make it to the super bowl, win 11 to 15 games in the regular season every year.
And have the look of uh-oh when their opponents see them on the schedule.
All you idiot Viking fans judging success on if Minnesota makes the playoffs…how’s that been working out for ya?
In 2017, with a 13-3 regular season record and an appearance in the NFC championship game, Minnesota gave themselves a chance.
But do you really have super bowl aspirations with Case Keenum at quarterback?
The bottom line is next year if a bunch of things break correctly the Minnesota Vikings will find their way back into the playoffs.
Next sentence: It doesn’t matter.
Will I clammer for it to happen? Yes. Will I watch every week hoping they win while scoreboard watching hoping certain other teams lose? Absolutely. Will I be pissed off and cussing at the television every single time Zimmer throws an oblivious challenge flag or botches clock management? Fuck yes.
But the sad reality is, at the end of the day, this team doesn’t have a realistic chance of making it deep into January next year.
They have too many holes, and a salary cap standing that limits any potential ability to cover them up.
What really needs to happen with this team is a complete overhaul in power structure.
Or ownership needs to sign the current General Manager and head coach of the team to lifetime contracts.
One or the other.
Hear me out.
Mike Zimmer is the 7th longest tenured coach in the NFL. The six in front of him have all won at least one super bowl with their current team (Belichick, Carroll, Harbaugh, Payton, Reid, Tomlin.)
Next season will be his 8th year as Head coach. He’s never made the playoffs in back to back seasons. Four of his seven seasons as head coach the Vikings have missed the postseason.
General Manager Rick Spielman has been with the team since 2006 and was given decision-making power in the 2010 offseason after head coach Brad Childress was fired. In 2012 he was officially promoted to general manager.
While being responsible for such draft picks as Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr, Danielle Hunter, Stefon Diggs, Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, Harrison Smith, Everson Griffen, Kyle Rudolph, and Xavier Rhodes, he’s also on the books for players like T.J. Clemmings, Chris Cook, Josh Robinson, Matt Kalil, Mike Hughes, Jeff Locke, Toby Gerhart, and the worst draft choice in team history…Christian Ponder at number 12 overall.
(I don’t understand this pick for the Minnesota Vikings, I think this is a reach. Christian Ponder I had going off my board in the late 2nd/early 3rd round—Mel Kiper Jr.)
Before his time with the Vikings he worked in similar roles with the Miami Dolphins organization, making such bold moves as trading a 2nd round pick for back-up QB A.J. Feeley, expecting him to be the franchise quarterback.
It’s been speculated that Zimmer and Spielman are linked together with organizational responsibility in both team triumphs and failures.
Spielman was given permission to fire Leslie Frazier and hire Zimmer in 2014. Since then both have signed identical contract extensions in terms of years. It seems obvious that when one man’s time is up it’ll likely be the others as well.
Some creditable NFL insiders around the league are saying if Minnesota doesn’t make the playoffs next year both will be gone.
This is where my suggestion of firing them both now or giving them lifetime contracts comes into play.
How in the world can you expect the hierarchy of an organization to do what’s in the absolute best interest of the team if doing so means they’ll be fired in the short term?
What if the Minnesota Vikings were guaranteed to make it to the super bowl in 4 years, but they’d have to finish 2-14 and 4-12 the next two seasons in order to retool to do so?
Would this current head coach, GM combo commit to that?
Of course not.
They’d be fired after year one. If not, certainly after year two.
There’s no way Zimmer and Spielman are thinking about what’s best for the Vikings right now in both the short and long terms going into this offseason.
Nope. Instead they are committed to doing whatever’s necessary to keep their jobs for another year by fielding a team that’ll be just good enough to ensure that.
If they had lifetime job security would they approach things the same way?
Instead look for Spielman to use band-aids to patch things up for another season.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they restructured Kirk Cousins contract, again, to make things manageable this season and put themselves into further future debt with the quarterback many football fans still can’t figure out.
Any signings in free agency will no doubt be geared towards simply helping the team next season.
I can imagine Zimmer and Spielman in an office room saying to each other: Just get me to the playoffs this year. And what about the future?: We’ll burn that bridge when we get there.
The same mentality goes for the draft.
The Vikings have the 14th overall pick and a ton of holes to fill. No doubt Spielman will draft a player at a position of need (offensive line, defensive line, corner, safety) who is “NFL ready” and can come in to play right away.
What the Vikings should do in every draft with every pick they have in any round is select the best player available. His position and how the current roster is constructed be damned.
And if you think someone is talented enough to have an extremely high ceiling but he might not get there for a couple years, that should not deter you from taking him.
That’s so stupid, the Vikings have too many holes, they can’t draft a quarterback, wide receiver, or running back in the first round, we’re set at those positions.
Yeah, well they were set at wide receiver in 1998 as well when they drafted Randy Moss. A pick that catapulted the Vikings offense to historical heights and a 15-1 record that season.
Fans underestimate the difference between a good unit and a great one.
If DeVonta Smith or Ja’Marr Chase are still available at 14 you want to tell me the Vikings won’t pick either one because they already have Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson? Even though they think he’s gonna be great? Because we need a defensive lineman?
Makes no sense to me.
Sounds like the logic of someone worried about losing their job.
But I’ll sit back and watch this offseason develop. Minnesota will make no big splashes in free agency, probably let Eric Wilson and Anthony Harris walk from an already thin, talentless defense, and wait to see who they cut before March 17th to get back under the salary cap.
I’ll watch as they attempt to restructure Barr, Rudolph, and Rieff’s contracts, among others, draft a defensive lineman with the 14th pick even though the bigger problem is clearly in the secondary, and hope Danielle Hunter and Michael Pierce come back healthy and stronger next year.
And I’ll hope they make the playoffs and capitalize on the mere 1% chance that when they do they can somehow run through a field full of teams built for actually winning in the postseason.
But not for a second will I be thinking this team going to the super bowl, no matter what they do this offseason, it’s just not feasible.
Not until they address the power structure. One way or another.
Till then, I’ll be there every week watching…Just hoping they get every single break necessary to barely get them back into the playoffs.