I admit it. It’s important to admit fault when you are wrong. I had the Vikings winning only 2 more games back when they were 3-1, but it turned out the Detroit Lions are in the midst of a catastrophic, ball-kicking season, so the Vikings were able to sweep the season series. What I have noticed, thought, is a turn in the overall mood of the Vikings fan base.
So now, Vikings fans who predicted 9-7 or 10-6 for this team need to be talked down from a ledge. It’s still possible, guys! The Vikings are only 6-5! If they finish above .500 for the rest of the season, they will be at least 9-7! But no, that isn’t what people are talking about. Instead, they are talking about making a coaching change. They are talking about how bad Christian Ponder is. Suddenly, people think a team that has gone 3-4 in their last 7 (better than I expected!) is an unmitigated disaster.
Now, I’m not going to say I told you so (not again, anyways) and instead will remind you of something I made a point to address in the post back in September. The Vikings are better. They were never going to be great this year, but they have doubled their win total, and you know what you are going to get from Christian Ponder. The Vikings are more aware of where their deficiencies lie, and where they have room for improvement. This is exactly what should be happening in Minnesota. If anything, an easy early season schedule made them look better than they actually were, and probably soured everyone on a positive rebuilding process.
The Vikings now know they need to find receivers for Christian Ponder, as well as some pass blockers to go along with Matt Kalil. The team should be aware that they will eventually need to replace Antoine Winfield. Despite these holes, they doubled their win total already, and they might still win a game or two. Isn’t that what you want?
Additionally, their front office under Rick Spielman has proven to be good drafters. It’s only been the 2012 draft, and we are only 11 games in, so it’s way too early to make any far reaching conclusions, but a lot of holes were patched this season because of astute drafting. It’s hard to imagine the 2013 draft would be any less significant to next years squad. By golly, with the right couple of picks (Walter Cherepinsky has Minnesota taking WR Justin Hunter from Tennessee) the Vikings could be a solid playoff team next year. Next year.
As for Leslie Frasier, I have to believe he deserves at least another season. Like I said, the team has improved significantly in his second year. Not only that, his team is still hustling in games they are out of, even if they are making devastating, illegal hits (see picture above). A guy that helps a team improve and keeps his players focused is the kind of coach you want to keep around.
So keep the faith, Vikings fans. They aren’t great this year, but they ARE getting better.