5 Reasons You Can Stick A Fork In The Minnesota Vikings
5 Reasons the Vikings Are Done
Last year’s performance by the Minnesota Vikings left many in the Twin Cities with high hopes. Adrian Peterson had just chased history, falling just short of the single-season NFL rushing record. The team had made a run for the playoffs only to come up just short in the end.
Still, there was something to be hopeful for. Then this season started and it all just fell apart. The Vikings now sit at 2-7, tied for the second worst record in the NFC with the surprisingly bad Atlanta Falcons.
Where did it all go wrong for the Vikings? As previously mentioned, this was almost a playoff team a year ago. What happened? How could a team fall so far in just one season?
Last year’s team defied expectations, for starters. Peterson wasn’t supposed to play a major role as he was coming off major reconstructive knee surgery. All he did was come back with a vengeance, rush for 2,000 yards and nearly break the NFL record for yards in a season by a running back. They also got above average play from their defense – something they are definitely not getting this year. Long story short: they vastly exceeded expectations and this year was more about a regression to the mean than anything else, especially with the pre-season trade of star receiver Percy Harvin.
For all those reasons and a lot more, the Vikings are struggling. Here are five more reasons why you can stick a fork in the Vikings this year.
5. The Quarterback Situation
Few teams have had issues with the quarterback position quite like the Vikings have.
Christian Ponder returned as the incumbent starter almost kind of by default. He wasn't very good last year, but they really didn't have much else to go with. Sounds like a great situation, right? Then Ponder got hurt, paving the way for Matt Cassel. Turns out Cassel is not very good at quarterbacking either. The Vikings continued to struggle.
Enter Josh Freeman. The former Buccaneers quarterback, involved in a weird pre-season issue with their coach Greg Schiano before being cut, was signed and thrust into the starting lineup immediately. This turned out about as well as one would expect: Freeman had a historically bad performance, was crucified for it and then put on the shelf with a concussion. Ponder is back now and merely looking adequate.
No wonder this team is struggling: the quarterback carousel throws off the incumbent only to have it land right back on him.
4. AD is All They Have
The Vikings of last year managed to deceive a lot of folks by winning and winning and winning when many thought they would be frequent losers. All this year revealed about last year's squad is that Peterson is about the only thing this team has.
Looking at last year, it's clear that he took this team on his back, running his way to 2,000 yards and nearly dragging this sad-sack team to a playoff berth it probably wouldn't have been near without their Superman running back.
With the off-season trade of Harvin to the Seahawks, they literally are nothing but the Adrian Peterson show. The quarterback situation is awful, they don't have a consistent receiving option outside of tight end Kyle Rudolph and there's a stunning lack of talent across the board.
Really, it's pretty scary to imagine where this team would be without Peterson. They're 2-7 with him; they might be challenging the Jaguars and Buccaneers without him.
It's bad enough when you're having issues up and down the offense, especially at the quarterback position. But when your defense is equally as bad? Look out because things are gonna get real questionable.
The Vikings defense has been getting torched by the pass all year long (they sit 29th in the NFL against the pass) and have been a little better against the run, though they remain in the bottom half there as well (17th). Granted, they've had to deal with injuries to Harrison Smith and Chris Cook, but their additions can only help this pitiful pass defense so much.
Jared Allen remains an elite pass-rusher, but he needs help. They need to take the load off of him and bring pressure from elsewhere if they want to slow down the productivity of opposing passing games.
Until then, it's tee-off time for most passing games.
2. Lack of Talent
Perhaps the quickest way to figure out what's wrong with the Vikings is to look up and down their roster. You'll find a dearth of talent and perhaps that's the biggest reason the Vikings don't have a chance of climbing out of the basement this season.
Looking at the offense, it's basically Peterson and Rudolph now that Harvin is gone. Quarterback has more question marks than talents at the position and the defensive side of the ball is really no different other than a guy here or there.
The Vikings have themselves to blame here. They traded Harvin. The clearly missed on Ponder. The jury is still out on Shariff Floyd, Xavier Rhodes and other recent picks from late in the first round.
The bad thing about situations like this is that the Vikings clearly need to restock the team with high-end talent, but there's usually only one way to do that.
1. They Have a History
As a fan of sports teams with more of a history of causing their fan bases sadness than joy, I know a failure franchise when I see one.
Simply put: the Vikings have a history of failure that seems to haunt them. The days of Randy Moss and Cris Carter are long gone and the team has struggled to find an identity outside of "Adrian Peterson plays here" ever since.
Questionable draft picks, questionable coaching hires; you name it and the Vikings have done it. There's a losing culture here and that can be the hardest thing in the world to stop. If the team does nothing but lose, it's hard for the franchise to escape that aura of losing. As a Bills fan, I know it all too well.