I don't want to seem like a negative Nancy here or anything, but of all the crappy things that have happened to the Vikings this season. . .losing E.J. Henderson, losing Madieu Williams, losing Heath Farwell. . .keeping Brad Childress. . .the potential loss of the Williams Wall in the middle of the defense at this critical juncture of the season is something that I don't think any of us could have envisioned.
There's an old axiom in baseball that says that in order to be successful, you need to be strong up the middle defensively. The Vikings are the quintessential football example of this rule when they're completely healthy. Pat and Kevin Williams are without peer when it comes to defensive tackle combos, E.J. Henderson was developing into one of the game's best middle linebackers, and Darren Sharper and Madieu Williams promised to be a formidable safety combination. This Sunday against Houston, depending on what Madieu's neck is doing, there's a chance that the only one of those five players that will see the field is Sharper.
The potential loss of the Williams Wall. . .and I keep using the word "potential" because. . .well. . .because I'm crazy enough to believe that there's a small chance that they won't be suspended. . .leaves us paper-thin at defensive tackle for the next month. Without #93 and #94, the only defensive tackles on the Vikings' roster are Fred "BZZZZZZZZZT" Evans, rookie Letroy Guion and Ellis Wyms. That's it. That's the list. I don't believe we have any defensive tackles on the practice squad, either.
So, with that being said, there's some good news to be had, and some bad news to be had. Let me start with the bad news.
It may be time to start looking forward to the 2009 season.
Yes, just like all of you. . .even though some of you will swear otherwise. . .I'll be watching the Vikings every week and hoping for a miracle run to the post-season or something like that. But the fact remains that if we're without Phat Pat and Big Kev for the next 4 games, we're staring at a 3-8 record. 4-7 at best. Even if we were to get to 9-7, that's probably not going to be enough to win the NFC North and, as a result, not good enough to get Minnesota to the playoffs. If that happens, it will mark the first time in Minnesota Vikings' history that they will have had four consecutive non-playoff seasons.
The good news?
It may be time to start looking forward to the 2009 season. . .a season that will see the Minnesota Vikings with a new coach on the sidelines and an exciting, new, young quarterback calling the signals.
Yes. . .if this team fails to make the playoffs, and particularly if this season turns into the kind of disaster it's shaping up to be, I honestly feel that Brad Childress will be packing up his kick-ass offense and looking for a new job. Since he seems to love the University of Wisconsin so much, maybe he can get on as the head coach there. (It would be a perfect fit, considering that the Badgers suck, their coach is a joke, and Wisconsin sucks in general.) But, rest assured. . .the Brad Childress era is coming to an end, ladies and gentlemen. And it can't come soon enough for this Viking fan, and I know that many of you agree with me.
So, no matter how black the darkness gets, if you look hard enough, you can always find that one little ray of sunshine. Can any of you draw any positives from this season in light of the past couple of days? If so, feel free to toss them out here.