With only one chance left to tie the game against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings came up short after Kirk Cousins was sacked and the clock expired.
The final play was really just a metaphor for Cousins' entire tenure with the Vikings. Make enough plays to convince Minnesota's fans that the team can achieve success, and then come up short when the competition is the toughest.
Cousins was brought in back in 2018 to get the Vikings over the hump and into the Super Bowl. He has never been able to come anywhere close to doing that, and now Minnesota sitting with a 1-4 record after losing to the Chiefs on Sunday.
The loss to Kansas City almost certainly sealed Cousins' fate with the Vikings, which will likely be coming to an end after the 2023 season.
Let's also make this clear that Cousins isn't the only one who should be blamed for Minnesota's failures during his tenure with the franchise. There is plenty of blame to go around, but the experiment with Cousins has run its course, and it's time for the Vikings to try something new.
With a 1-4 record and matchups left on their schedule against the San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions (twice), Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota will not be doing the future of their franchise any favors by continuing an attempt to sneak into this season's playoffs.
For fans of the Vikings, it's difficult because everyone wants their team to succeed and make the playoffs. But even if Minnesota is able to get into the 2023 postseason, they don't have the firepower to hang with teams like the 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, or Philadelphia Eagles.
So we're going to hope the Vikings can sneak into the playoffs, lose in the first or second round, and then be left with a draft pick in the back third of the first round in 2024?
No, that ship has sailed. Minnesota owes it to the young players on their roster and the fans who pay to see them every week to take an actual step toward building a better future.
This means they need to be sellers during this year's trade deadline, they need to give younger guys like Jordan Addison more opportunities to develop out on the field, and they need to make sure they end up with a high first-round pick in the 2024 draft so that they can select a possible franchise quarterback to build around.
The competitive rebuild that the Vikings have been attempting since the new regime took over isn't working. So instead of just dipping their toe in when it comes to building for the future, Minnesota needs to just suck it up and dive right in.