A couple of weeks ago, the Vikings lost to the Bears at home in the last game of the regular season. Had they won, they would have made the playoffs and thus earned the privilege of losing to the Bears again, but this time in the playoffs. Instead, they straight up fucking faceplanted, losing at home in embarrassing fashion and thus securing their rightful playoff position at home, watching on the couch like the rest of us.
None of this was a surprise to anybody who had been paying attention. I mean this both in the macro sense (another Vikings season ending with them losing) and the micro sense (the offense was once again terrible, all of the big name stars underachieved, etc.). Watching the Vikings this past year involved a lot of yelling “GODDAMMIT” at the TV. I went so far as to vivisect the team in this space with a few weeks to go in the season, after they ate shit against the Seahawks but before they were actually knocked out of the playoffs.
Since everything I said then remains an accurate portrayal of what exactly went wrong for the team in the past, let us then direct our pessimism at the future, as this team is doomed.
First off, this season has made it clear that Mike Zimmer is not winning a Super Bowl. Zimmer has the good fortune of being considered a good coach overall despite a relative lack of success to back it up. Yes, his record is just a hair shy of .600, which is pretty good, but after five seasons he’s only made the playoffs twice, and only won in the playoffs once, and while that one playoff win was joyously, rapturously awesome, I’m not going to go so far as to suggest that the Vikings deserved to win that game. They blew a huge fucking lead at home in the second half. That’s not supposed to happen.
On top of that, the offense has consistently been a disaster. Again, the only season that was an exception to this was in 2017, when the offense was merely functional. They weren’t breaking any records out there. The offensive line, which has to be good for any football team to be any good, has sucked every single year. Offensive coordinators seem to be selected out of a hat. There has been no stability at quarterback since Teddy B.’s injury. It was known going in that Zimmer didn’t know anything about offense, and while I was able to delude myself into thinking the offense would eventually sort itself out, it’s clear now that as long as he’s coach, the offense has little chance of fixing itself.
(It’s gotten so bad that the team has hired former Texans and Broncos coach and esteemed offense guy Gary Kubiak as ‘Assistant Head Coach’. Since this happened less than 24 hours ago as of the time of this writing, and I don’t know what Kubiak’s duties will actually consist in, I’m not going to comment on it much, but suffice to say I can think of a shitload of reasons why this won’t work, either.)
Then of course, there’s the albatross that is Kirk Cousins and his fully-guaranteed contract. Good on him for getting the money he deserves – the labor situation in football is fucked, so it’s nice to see a player recognize he has leverage and then maximize it – but this leaves the Vikings stuck with Cousins for two more years. I’ve been hard enough on the guy already, but suffice it to say, those two years are gonna be a wash. Hopefully, by the last year of his contract, the rest of the team will be shitty enough to justify tanking for draft position.
And you know what? This is all well and good. I’ve enjoyed being able to watch the playoffs without the stress of a rooting interest. It’s fun! May I enjoy all future playoffs just as much.