Packers Bury the Vikings’ Season Under the Frozen Tundra

Vikings Territory Breakdown Podcast: Week 17

It seems antithetical that they call the Lambeau Field the “frozen tundra” because the Green Bay Packers just buried another Purple body there on January 2, 2022. The Minnesota Vikings limped and slipped into the icy town on its last legs without out its starting quarterback Kirk Cousins (Covid-19), veteran wide receiver Adam Thielen (high ankle sprain) and with a still sore running back Dalvin Cook—and proceeded to go belly up, placing their season six-feet under. The Packers toyed with the Vikings for a quarter and then future hall of famer, “the immunized” Aaron Rodgers, diced them up to the tune of 37-10. And just like that, Vikings playoff hopes are gone and may be followed out the door by personnel and players next week.

There is no good way to look at it. The Vikings defense played well for about a half, turning back the Packers offense for a couple field goals. Meanwhile the offense, led by Sean Mannion (who was one day off the covid list and until the fourth quarter was without a touchdown pass in his career), failed to show up. It calls into question how the Vikings beat the Packers just six short weeks ago and reminds us how painful this season has been. A season with a tombstone that for some might read at this point: “They easily could have been 11-5.”

The Vikings are left to watch the Packers, who have home field advantage, waltz through the NFC playoffs, earn another Super Bowl berth and give the self-absorbed Aaron a chance to ride off into the sunset with his horse (medicine). But the Vikings won’t have time to watch much, as the changes that appear to be in the offing for this storied Minnesota franchise will come early and often in January—perhaps as soon as the final gun in the Chicago Bears game next Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The changes won’t be pretty and they will be difficult, as there is some truth to that tombstone copy: the Vikings to this point had tied an NFL record for one-score games in a season. But the greater truth is that they simply aren’t a good enough team to make the playoffs or do damage had they gotten there. Good teams win the lion’s share of those games—like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did Sunday in the final seconds with a way-backup wide receiver after one of its main wide-outs had disrobed and left the field earlier in the game. Good teams battle through the adversity and either play well enough to avoid those last second situations or convert them to more victories than losses when the clock turns to zeroes.

The Vikings didn’t do that. They had been grasping at lifelines all December-long and hanging onto their playoff hopes rather than strengthening their resolve and positioning themselves for a deep playoff run. Cook gets covid and the Vikings lose at home to Los Angeles. Kirk gets covid and the teams embarrasses itself in Lambeau. Both players were un-vaccinated, and each deserves blame for not being on the field when their team needs them the most.

But we all knew this was coming. The Packers have been ascending while the Vikings’ ship sprung leaks and has been bobbing in rough waters, waiting to submerge. The fact that the Packers got to plunder them again while the Vikings are cast under a raging sea of uncertainty is just more bitter, salty water for the Purple fan base to swallow. The Purple faithful must wander another arid offseason with likely no rudder to steer them to safe harbor.

Tune in for the wake. Mark Craig from the Star Tribune and Joe Oberle from Vikings Territory/purplePTSD are here to dissect this latest debacle on the VT Breakdown podcast. Join us as we go over the following topics and look for clues for the way forward: