Remember earlier this week when we were all up in arms about the Dallas Cowboys being 3-point favorites against the 8-1 Vikings in a game that was taking place with the state lines of the Star of the North? Or do you remember when the Vikings were coming off of a dramatic win over the Buffalo Bills on the road against the team that are still the Vegas favorites to win the Super Bowl? Or how about that one time when we were looking at the standings and saw the Minnesota Vikings tied for the best record in the league with the Philadelphia Eagles with only a head to head tie-breaker between them? Man those were some really good times, it feels like it was just yesterday…
BECAUSE IT WAS JUST YESTERDAY!
But man, what a difference 24 hours can make when you get your butt thoroughly kicked by the visiting opponent. I mean the Cowboys aren’t a bad football team, but they certainly are not gangbusters either. That being said, on Sunday, they were…to the tune of 40-3 and it wasn’t even really that close either.
In just a matter of a week, or even those last 24 hours before the tail-kicking at U.S. Bank Stadium, we’ve gone from pointing our nose up at the national media claiming that “they’ve always doubted us” and “they never give Minnesota the credit it deserves,” and now we’re wallowing in the wake of our excitement exclaiming that it’s just “the same old Minnesota Vikings” and the “same old Kirk Cousins”.
So where does this loss leave us as we head forward into the rest of the season?
The Vikings are still one of the best teams in the league….
Despite the egg they laid for the national audience this weekend, the Minnesota Vikings are still one of the better teams in the league and you cannot take that away from them. The record is still 8-2, that’s still good enough to be tied for the second best record in all of the league (Chiefs 8-2), and it’s still good enough to have a commanding 4-game lead in the division with the opporunity to wrap things up right around the corner. They played a bad football game on Sunday, that shouldn’t overwrite all the good they’ve done to date this season.
The Vikings are who we thought they were, a talented by flawed football team…
We’ve said it all along this season, the Vikings have talent but they’ve yet to play good consistent football in all three phases. Today they did the complete opposite and played poor football pretty much across the board. There was no room for heroics in today’s game, all 53 for the Vikings left their capes at home today and that resulted in a full fledged meltdown against a good team. There’s room to grow for this roster, but you’d like to see some of that progress start sooner rather than later.
The Vikings are still in good position for the playoffs…
Minnesota’s magic number remains 3 and with the Lions in second place in the division any combination of Vikings wins and Lions/Packers losses adding up to three will clinch the playoff berth for the Vikings. Finish the season 12-5 and you’ll at the very least have one home playoff game and then you’ll take you chances. Better yet, the Vikings are still in second place and could get up to two home games, but the schedule does get a bit tougher so it would seem.
The Vikings still have a lot to prove…
There’s room to go, you could say. They are who we thought they were, you could say. No matter which mindset that you bring to the table, there’s a lot to prove for these Minnesota Vikings. Kirk Cousins, still a lot on the table for him in big games against teams with winning records. Kevin O’Connell, need to step up against the competition and continue growth through the rest of the season. Second round draft pick, Andrew Booth has a lot to prove. We even have questions about consistency for Thielen, Jefferson and Hockenson in the passing game. We know their prowess, but should we expect them to fade away like they did yesterday or rise to the moment? This team needs to find some consistency across the board, they need a statement, dominating win. They’ve got the drama covered as we’ve learned all year.
Now they need to prove to us that they actually are one of the top teams in the league, otherwise we’re all just going to prepare ourselves for January when we’re all muttering “they are who we thought they were” under our breath.
Aj Mansour is a member of The Power Trip Morning Show on KFAN and works for iHeartMedia and the Vikings Radio Network. He’s also a senior writer for VikingsTerritory.com. Be sure to follow him on social media for the latest Vikings news and big opinions – @AjKFAN