When it rains, it pours for the Minnesota Vikings.
Throughout their history, the Minnesota Vikings have experienced multiple years of success. However, the Vikings have also dealt with numerous heartbreaks and forgettable moments since their inaugural season in 1961.
Heading into the current campaign, a good amount of people (including myself) felt the Vikings were the favorite to win the NFC North. There were even a select few who thought Minnesota could possibly contend for the top spot in the entire NFC this season.
But after opening the year with three straight losses, it’s already pretty clear that the Vikings probably won’t be celebrating any division titles after their final game of the season. Maybe more people should have anticipated Minnesota’s poor start given everything the team has experienced so far this year.
2020 has been memorable for the Minnesota Vikings for all the wrong reasons
Heading into the beginning of the new league year in March, the Vikings knew they were going to be forced into making some tough roster decisions due to their lack of salary cap space.
So out the door went longtime defensive contributors Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen, Trae Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander. Even some of Minnesota’s top defensive reserves like Stephen Weatherly and Jayron Kearse also parted ways with the team during the past offseason.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Vikings didn’t really have to make a ton of adjustments with most of their top performers under contract until at least 2021. However, Minnesota felt the need to make a few major changes to their offensive personnel and these can now be viewed as self-inflicted wounds.
Stefon Diggs was sent packing to the Buffalo Bills and then the Vikings cut right guard Josh Kline, who was arguably the team’s second-best offensive lineman in 2019.
Despite all of their departures, Minnesota was confident they could still compete at a high level in 2020 with the combination of their remaining playmakers and their incoming rookie class.
During the 2020 NFL Draft, the Vikings ended up making a grand total of 15 selections. Minnesota might have viewed this as a smart way to build their roster, but this decision of theirs hasn’t exactly worked out for them so far this season.
Given the fact that the draft was held virtually and other offseason events had been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vikings probably should’ve known that it would have been a better idea to fill the open spots on their roster with guys who have actually played a snap in the NFL instead of an obnoxious amount of rookies.
Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 virus continued to have an impact on the league and Minnesota was unable to have in-person practices or meetings until they began training camp in late July. Combine this with the elimination of the preseason and the Vikings really backed themselves into a corner by banking on a bunch of rookies to come in and replace guys like Diggs, Griffen, and Rhodes.
Minnesota has also made a number of other decisions during the last few months that have been interpreted in a variety of ways by fans and analysts. Some of these decisions included extending Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook, using the franchise tag on Anthony Harris, attempting to trade for Trent Williams, and sending a second-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars to land Yannick Ngakoue.
The Vikings even experienced a number of changes to their coaching staff this year that saw the departures of offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, defensive coordinator George Edwards, and defensive backs coach Jerry Gray among others.
Still, Minnesota didn’t sound too worried about this season’s team taking any steps backward. But then they stepped onto the field in Week 1 to play an actual game and things haven’t exactly gone according to plan since then.
The Vikings are now 0-3 for just the sixth time in team history, their defense is terrible, Cousins has regressed with Gary Kubiak as his offensive coordinator, they just faced a team who had a COVID-19 outbreak, and Danielle Hunter’s chances of playing this season seem to decrease more and more as each week passes by.
This hasn’t reached the disaster level of Minnesota’s 2010 team or even everything that happened in 2016, but it appears to be heading in that direction.
Maybe we should have seen this coming though? Maybe more people should have anticipated the Vikings taking a step back with all the personnel and coaching changes they went through prior to the start of the season?
Sure, Minnesota still has a mathematical chance to make the playoffs. But if anyone who has been following the Vikings for the last 20 years has learned anything, it’s that things are probably going to get much worse for this team before they get any better.