Happy Friday to each and every one of you. Are there any St. Louis Cardinals fans out there? Anyone?
No? Well, I guess we'll talk about the Vikings then, since it's a, you know, Vikings blog and all. But honestly, I'll be watching Carpenter and the Cardinals tonight and hope at least one of my sports teams doesn't break my heart this year.
But back to my original point, and maybe by the title, you can sort of figure out where this is going. When the Vikings lost to San Diego, I can't say I was surprised. Actually, I was encouraged in some ways. They played one of the best teams in the AFC tough for four quarters, in their house, and almost came out of there with a win. The loss to the Bucs was disheartening and took a lot of wind out of my sails. The Detroit loss had my rethinking whether or no this was even a good team, and the loss at Kansas City had me re-thinking and re-calibrating my expectations going forward.
But Leslie Frazier has been adamant that this veteran team can win and compete. It's his job to say that, and I'm sure he believes it, and I'm sure that most of the players in the locker room want to believe it. But let's face it--if the Vikings are to make the playoffs, several damn near impossible things have to happen. So let's go over that one in a million chance so we can get re-calibrated, and then contemplate the unthinkable.
Let's say that 10-6 will be a good enough record to get into the post season. I'm not going to even try and convince you that winning the division is still possible, because between Detroit and Green Bay, that isn't happening this year. So, back to our wildcard scenario.
Let's assume that whoever doesn't win the division between the Packers and Lions gets one of the two wildcard slots, leaving one left. There are currently four teams with records of 3-1 that aren't in the NFC West, the Giants, Redskins, Saints and Buccaneers. Two of those teams will win their division, and just for the sake of argument, let's say Giants and Saints. That leaves two NFC teams that will need to falter to a 6-6 finish (for a 9-7 record to eliminate tie-breakers) to give the Vikes a chance. Has that happened before? Yeah, so that's not out of the realm of possibility.
But for the Vikings to go 10-6, they'll need to finish out with a 10-2 record. As strong as the NFC looks this year early on, 10-6 might not cut it, and let's not forget that Atlanta and Chicago, who hosted the NFC Championship last year, are sitting at 2-2.
Do you realistically expect the Vikings to 1) finish out at 10-2, and 2) leapfrog one each of the Giants/Redskins, Saints/Bucs, and then the Bears and/or Atlanta? No, of course not. It's just not happening. As a matter of fact, I would bet Lindsay Lohan would join a convent before that would happen.
Now, you're probably thinking 'Ted's on the 'Suck for Luck' train, WOO WOO!'...but I am not. And if you are, you need to get off of that train at the next stop. Regardless of how this season plays out, (unless Wilf sells and if that happens all bets are off) Leslie Frazier and the front office will be back in 2012. Wilf isn't a reactionary guy, and if he was willing to give Brad Childress a few years to see results, he'll do the same for Frazier.
I lay that groundwork to say this: this coaching staff, and this front office drafted Christian Ponder, and they have hitched their wagon to him, for better or worse. They will not pull the plug on Ponder to get Luck. But it won't matter anyway, because I think Minnesota is just good enough to not end up with the #1 overall pick.
So, that gets me to what I consider usually unthinkable. Do I cheer against Minnesota and hope they lose to force the inevitable change that must come? And we all realize that change is coming for the Vikings, along both lines, the secondary...and at quarterback. I've seen enough of Donovan McNabb for 2011. He isn't good enough to get the Vikings to a win, much less the playoffs, and it's time to take Christian Ponder out of the wrapper and see what we have.
If that means hoping the Vikings lose until that happens, I think I'm prepared to do that. I think. I mean, it's anathema to me to cheer against the Vikings, but if it makes them better in the long run I can live with it.
But honestly, I don't know that Leslie Frazier will make the change even if the Vikings start 0-8, or 0-10. After he was named interim coach in the wake of the Brad Childress firing, he stuck with Brett Favre until long after the Vikings were realitically done, and only replaced him when injuries forced his hand. With his job secure, an 0-8 or 0-10 start shouldn't put him on the hot seat this year, so it might be fruitless to cheer against them anyway. But the flip side of that argument could also be that with job security in hand, why shouldn't he start Ponder? He has nothing to lose, and in the long run, everything to gain, reagrdless of how Ponder pans out.
But hoping for loss after loss in anticipation of seeing Ponder might be foolish anyway, because Frazier seems determined to play the role of Sisyphus and keep pushing the boulder up the hill, just to see it roll back down again.
I hope we all don't get crushed in the process.