With Harrison Smith being placed on Injured Reserve (designated to return), the Vikings have signed cornerback Jacob Lacey.  Andrew Sendejo will start at safety in Smith’s place.  Desmond Bishop also was placed on injured reserve this week and Rodney Smith was promoted from the practice squad to take his place.  Meanwhile, quarterback Josh Freeman will be rushed into action Monday night as the starter, with neither Christian Ponder or Matt Cassel showing the organization they have what it takes to command a championship-quality offense.

The mess is widespread.  There are clearly more problems than there are viable solutions.  With four losses to their one win, and the toughest part of the schedule yet to come, things are worse than bleak for the Vikings in 2013.  We are no longer witnessing a slow start, but instead are witnessing a quick death, and their final breath could end up coming on Monday Night Football against the winless Giants.

With nothing less to lose, however, the Vikings can really only win from this point forward.

Perhaps Josh Freeman jumpstarts this team.  Maybe they make a very interesting run at a wild card spot.  Maybe his height and strong arm will finally open up the running game in a way Adrian Peterson’s biggest fans have only dreamed of.  Maybe he knows what it takes to win, to lead a group of winners, and maybe the Vikings have one of the biggest free agency steals of all time on their hands.  Maybe they finally have a franchise quarterback.

Of course, maybe not.

Maybe Freeman doesn’t show us anything special and serves up more of the same.  Maybe the defense struggles even more than they already are with their stud safety sidelined with an injury.  Maybe the coaching and scheme are just not going to get it done.  Maybe this team continues to spiral further into the abyss.  Maybe the are destined to be one of the NFL’s worst this year.

Either way, it is hard to see the downside for this team as the season progresses, outside of (knock on wood) devastating injuries.  Either they get their collective act together and see some promise out of their new, young quarterback or they get closer and closer to securing one of the top picks in a very quarterback-heavy Draft.

We would all prefer they win games.  But, they haven’t been able to do that, and I don’t think it is too early to start eyeballing those consolation prizes.