SANSEVERE: VIKINGS WIN, BUT
The last time the Vikings played in a Super Bowl …
— Jimmy Carter had not yet been sworn in as president.
— “Roots” had not yet aired on television.
— The most popular movies were “rocky,” “All the president’s men” and “network.”
There’s plenty more, but I think you get the idea that the Vikings’ last trip to a Super Bowl was a loooonnng time ago.
Fact is, nobody under the age of 44 was alive the last time the Vikings played in a Super Bowl.
Remember the story of Emmett Pearson? He’s the guy who vowed after the Vikings lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl ix way back in 1975 that he would not shave his beard until his beloved purple won a super bowl. Emmett died in 2013 at the age of 83 with a very long beard.
You can bet another season will have come and gone without a Super Bowl appearance.
Even after what happened sunday.
The Vikings won.
They took a 10-point lead, blew a 10-point lead, then did something that has been a rarity this season. They regrouped. They rallied. They showed more killer instinct than they have all season.
They beat the Los Angeles Chargers 27-20.
Now, it’s nice they won and hiked their record to 4-5, but does anyone think they will play lights out and win the final eight games of the regular season?
That’s what an NFL season is all about. Get enough wins to get into the playoffs and make a Super Bowl run.
Sure, the Vikings still are mathematically alive for the postseason. But let’s deal in what’s realistic, not in mathematics.
The Vikings would have to run the table to assure themselves a 12-5 record, which should be enough to get them into the postseason. One loss, an 11-6 record, and there is no guarantee of a playoff spot. This is a highly competitive NFC.
Here is a guarantee: unless he gets them into the postseason, Mike Zimmer is a goner. And should be.
Sunday’s Vikings win bought him at least another week. That said, the problem with dumping Zimmer during the season is, who becomes the interim head coach? The only legit option with the team is co-defensive coordinator Andre Patterson, and that doesn’t shake things up much.
The brothers Wilf also can put in a call to Gary Kubiak, last year’s offensive coordinator and a Super Bowl championship coach with the broncos. Kubiak has a winning pedigree and might just do it to give his kid, Klint, a shot at remaining the offensive coordinator under whoever takes over this team next season or to set him up with a landing spot elsewhere.
As for Zimmer, his eight-season tenure as the Vikings’ coach hasn’t exactly been exemplary. Yeah, the Vikings reached the NFC championship game with Zimmer after the 2017 season but they needed a miracle catch to get there and then went tits up against the Philadelphia Eagles.
When Zimmer finally is fired, you will look back on his time with the Vikings and remember … what? That he blew through offensive coordinators? That his teams lacked killer instinct for most of his time here? That he pretty much did diddly once in the playoffs?
A lot of fans want GM Rick Spielman gone as well, but he will have a chance to survive after this season. The Wilfs seem to like Spielman and, while a clean sweep would be a good thing, he isn’t the one blowing through offensive coordinators, lacking killer instinct and pretty much doing diddly in the playoffs.
In Sunday’s game, the Vikings followed a familiar script. They took a lead. They blew that lead.
In every game this season, they have led by at least seven points. Sunday, it was 10 points — 13-3 in the second quarter.
And then the Vikings did what they’ve done in all five losses. Squander the lead.
They came into the game tied with the giants for allowing the most points — 45 — in the final two minutes of the first half. The Chargers scored a touchdown with 90 seconds left in the half, making it 52 points scored against the Vikings in the final 120 seconds.
And then in the opening drive of the second half, the chargers took a 17-13 lead with a touchdown.
This game went a different route than most of the others for the Vikings. They took back the lead and rebuilt it to 10 points — enough of a lead to hold on for a Vikings win.
It took a few games but Zimmer and Klint Kubiak figured out what every fan in America knew. You have to get the ball to Justin Jefferson. In the last two games, Jefferson was targeted a combined nine times. Against the Chargers, Jefferson had nine receptions for 143 yards.
And Dalvin Cook ran for 94 yards and a touchdown. That improves you chances of winning — feeding the ball to Jefferson and Cook.
The defense was missing five starters but played well enough to keep Chargers phenom Justin Herbert under 200 yards with just one touchdown.
Can the Vikings keep it up? Can they run the table? You make up your own mind, but there’s still two games with the Packers and one with the Rams and running the table sure doesn’t seem possible.
Bob Sansevere hosts a daily podcast called “the bs show,” which also is broadcast on radio stations in Duluth (WDSM), Hibbing (WNMT), St. Cloud (WBHR) and Worthington (the Radioworks network).
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