Connor Van Hulzen —Staff Writer
The Minnesota Vikings currently sit at 2-5, having beaten the dreaded Green Bay Packers on Sunday thanks to the heavy lifting of running back Dalvin Cook, who finished the game with over 200 yards from scrimmage. His four touchdowns, three rushing and one receiving, also contributed to the effort.
A glimmer of hope in an otherwise murky season, this Sunday’s game was as confusing of a Vikings’ victory as I’ve ever witnessed. Less than a week removed from trading away Yannick Ngakoue, the team’s high-profile offseason acquisition, the Vikings – still firmly in the basement of the NFC North – defeated a team many claim to be in competition for the Super Bowl.
Under Mike Zimmer, the Vikings have possessed the infuriating ability to lack any consistency from season to season. In 2014, Zimmer’s first year with Vikings, the team went 7-9, missing the playoffs. In 2015, the Vikings went 11-5 only to have their hearts crushed by Blair Walsh and his infamous 27-yard missed field goal attempt.
This trend has continued. The Vikings make the playoffs – raising fanbase expectations and making believers out of Minnesotans – only to fail miserably in the next season.
I personally do not blame Mike Zimmer for these shortcomings. The team’s inability to maintain consistency on offense has been its downfall – changing quarterbacks, offensive coordinators, schemes, everything. On the other side of the ball, the team has always maintained a stout defense. And though the defense has been put through its most rigorous test this season – giving poor showings in almost every game – a turnaround may be in motion.
But then again, part of me would very much like the defense to continue to underperform. An early-round draft pick has never been more enticing. While the chances of acquiring Trevor Lawrence amount to less than zero due to the New York Jets’ commitment to destroying the sport of football as we know it; the chance of acquiring a top-end talent like Penei Sewell to play on the offensive line might almost make a 2-14 season worth it, the relentless teasing and all.
Realistically, I will not expect the Vikings to play a truly meaningful game until they get rid of the man everyone loves to hate, Kirk Cousins. When the Vikings win, most of the time it seems that they do it in spite of Cousins. When they lose, there is no easier place to point the finger. Back-breaking interceptions, questionable decision making, and a penchant for taking horrific sacks combine to make every Kirk Cousins drop back raise my blood pressure.
The Vikings are stuck in a weird place. They are a team full of extremely young talent that needs development and at the same time older talent that carries with it bloated contracts. There are no easy answers as to how to proceed. Some Vikings fans want to blow the whole thing up: coach, front office, team, everything. Basically, pull a Miami Dolphins.
Although I see the merits of this argument, I personally do not subscribe to the idea. As much as it may benefit the team in the future to commit to a full reset, I don’t think my heart could take a half-decade of absolute failure.
Whatever the Vikings choose to do, I’m sure it will culminate in a couple playoff trips that will ultimately end in the most heartbreaking fashion imaginable. When that day comes, you can bet I will be there, cowering under the covers and cursing the names of Aaron Rodgers and Blair Walsh.