There’s a certain amount of wallowing that needs to happen after this sort of loss before we can move on to anything remotely constructive. So, if you don’t mind, I’ll start with that.
The Vikings’ 38-7 loss to the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game was soul-crushing. It was a dominant, poised performance from the home team, and an equally scattered and underwhelming showing from the visitors who, after weeks — and months — of building momentum, good will, and talks of destiny, seemed not to even belong on the same field as their opponents. It was all the magic from the Miracle in Minneapolis dissolving before us in the span of two quarters, seemingly as quickly and unexpectedly as it had arrived. It was a good, old-fashioned you-know-what kicking, and it fits neatly — painfully — next to the Vikings’ prominent letdowns of years’ past.
It would be one thing if they’d lost in a reasonable matter. If the run game wasn’t able to get going, and so the game became a defensive, slug-it-out punt-fest, with the Eagles making a few more offensive plays in the end and winning, say, 17-13. Or, if after playing a characteristically ballsy game, Case Keenum made one glaring mistake in Vikings territory, turning the ball over and allowing Philly to ice the game. Or heck, if Kai Forbath just missed a field goal.