To Vikings fanatics and Green Bay refugees everywhere,
Without a doubt, this has been a tough year. Coronavirus has torn apart our country, and in the midst of the pandemic, Vikings fans are pinned inside watching their purple heroes walk out the door. It would be easy to be pessimistic right now, but this is no time to get down on our favorite team. Instead, we must forge ahead towards a new beginning.
Like it or not, we are Minnesota sports fans, and we have been beaten down before. Aside from the Twins and Lynx, there haven’t been many titles won in this state. Heck, the Timberwolves and Wild may never finish their seasons, and who knows if the Twins will ever start. Let’s have some perspective and be grateful that the Vikings have a good chance of actually starting their season on time.
It is truly amazing how quickly things can change. One minute you’re enjoying a burger in downtown Minneapolis, and the next you can’t leave your house without a hazmat suit. One year, Stefon Diggs is your miracle man. The next? You know the drill… He’s making controversial Instagram posts and getting shipped to Buffalo. Didn’t see that one coming after a certain play in January of 2018.
Now, it’s easy to be sad about the loss, or blame GM Rick Spielman for pulling the trigger on a polarizing trade. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Diggs wasn’t who we thought he was, or at least he changed very quickly and drastically. He made it painfully clear what he wanted and had done so for some time. It was time for Spielman to listen. All we can do is be thankful for the memories he brought us. Some open cap space and a few draft picks are pretty nice too.
Diggs isn’t the only one we had to let go. Three corners, all starters in fact, will be donning different colors for the first time in each of their careers. Don’t even get me started on the safety situation. How hard do you think it was for Mike Zimmer, cornerback guru, to see his beloved draftees, as well as a former all-pro go out the door? I can only imagine. Thank goodness he had the foresight to draft a first-round corner and take an undrafted gamble on another. See, that’s the mindset we need. Zimmer and Spielman built the old team from rubble, and they can craft a new one too.
This is the important part, the new beginning. Yes, we’re talking about the 2020 NFL Draft. It’s only weeks away, and it will be the most critical channel for bringing in new talent this year. Don’t sell Spielman short, as he picked up a couple of good players in free agency. That said, the meat and potatoes come from college recruits. Zimmer has acknowledged that football is a young man’s game, and I believe he was warning us that this team was getting old.
Wow, with the losses of seven starters, the draft is really starting to look like a do or die arena, huh? Well, perhaps, depending on your perspective. If Spielman puts on his Ray Bans and rolls the dice like a riverboat gambler, he might pot enough talent to get Cousins and the crew back to the playoffs. If not? Fans accept the reality of not having instant gratification and wait a year or two for the young guns to develop. It’s not nearly as fun as proving people wrong, but it is a reality we must prepare for.
Either way, this team isn’t rolling over and playing dead. Both Zimmer and Spielman are in a contract year, so they must prove their ability to get this team on the upswing. If not? There are plenty of coaches, some in house, who would love to be in their shoes.
In closing, I’ll put my money on slick Rick in the draft, and Zimmer on the field. There are vacancies to be filled, but I think we should view every week, every game, and every hurdle this year as an opportunity for this team to grow, and we can also embrace being the underdog. It was without a doubt difficult to see some old friends go, but they brought us many good memories while they were here, and they are giving Minnesota the chance for a new beginning.