Let me start off by saying I never would have imagined this team being 6-6 before this season began. That being said, now that we've seen what this team is actually capable of, there is no way this team shouldn't be fighting for a playoff spot (which I guess they still mathematically have a chance of doing). There is so much wrong with this team that I don't even know where to start. I will attempt to somewhat evaluate this team, starting from the top.
- The Wilfs: I love what Zygi and Mark have done with this franchise. They are willing to shell out money for star players and they get us a new stadium, while keeping the franchise in Minnesota for many years to come. No beef with them, keep up the good work fellas.
- Rick Spielman: Let's just say Rick has had his ups and downs over the years. He has had some very good draft picks (Harrison Smith, Kyle Rudolph) but has also had his share of not so good selections *cough* Christian Ponder *cough*. Because this is technically his first season as the actual GM, I can't really formulate a truly accurate opinion on him. For now, Mr. Spielman is doing an okay job.
- Leslie Frazier: Uh oh, this could be where the praises stop. I'll start off with saying I think Frazier is a stand-up guy. Nice man, good husband and father, strong in his faith. With that being said, I am starting to think there are better options out there to be our head coach. When Brad Childress was shown the door, I rooted hard for Leslie to replace him. 32 games later, I'm not so sure. My main beef with him is that he's too nice. I'm not saying he needs to turn into Rex Ryan, but something's gotta change at the quarterback position. It starts with Frazier growing a pair and benching Ponder.
- Coordinators: First off, I am thrilled with the job Mike Priefer has done with the special teams. Our coverage units are performing like never before and Harvin and Sherels each have return TD's this year. Not to mention the job he's done with Blair Walsh. Alan Williams has done a fairly decent job in his first year with the Vikes. His defensive line rotations are keeping the players fresh (or as fresh as they can be with so many three-and-outs by the offense). Now on to Bill Musgrave. This guy needs to go. He's been good about trying to get Percy more involved in the offense, but his general play-calling is just brutal. Sometimes I don't know if he understands he has the best running back in the league lining up in the backfield. He resembles Cam Cameron in Baltimore.
- Quarterbacks: Through week three, Ponder was looking like he may very well end up being our QBOTF. That was fun. Since then, Christian has been below average, sometimes verging on terrible. He's not putting any zip on his passes, and when he goes deep, you can forget about it. Too many red zone turnovers on Sunday. That combination will not win you football games. Joe Webb needs to be brought in vs Chicago on Sunday if Ponder continues to struggle. He brings a different element to the game and can keep opposing defenses on their heels. And if you're worried about his accuracy issues, there is no possible way he can do worse than #7.
- Running Backs: Adrian Peterson is obviously not of this planet. Toby Gerhart is a very capable backup. That is all.
- Wide Receivers: Here lies perhaps our biggest problem. Aside from the phenomenal Percy Harvin, our receiving corps is absolute garbage. Jerome Simpson was a waste of a roster spot and will be gone next season. Jarius Wright has shown some promise in his first few games as a pro, so I wouldn't worry too much about him. Stephen Burton is only brought in to block on run plays. Devin Aromashodu hasn't been a factor in pretty much every game to this point. As a group, they are terrible. They're not doing Ponder any favors by not getting open often. At this point I'm not opposed to bringing in, say, a Chad Johnson or Terrell Owens for the stretch run?
- Tight Ends: Kyle Rudolph has arguably the best hand(s) in the NFL. John Carlson has been a bust. Rhett Ellison shows potential as a possible Jim Kleinsasser-like player.
- Offensive Line: I will defer this section to this wonderfully put together piece by Eric.
- Defensive Line: This group is definitely not what it used to be. Teams are running the ball a lot more effectively than in the past and the sack numbers are down (although I'm not too concerned with that as long as they are still getting pressure on the QB). Brian Robison has done a great job of batting passes at the line this year too.
- Linebackers: Chad Greenway is obviously the leader of this group, and for good reason. He is leading the league in tackles and is improving in pass coverage as well, while still not getting the credit he deserves. Jasper Brinkley and Erin Henderson have been underwhelming, to say the least. I'd like to see a little more Audie Cole in these last four games, and some offseason upgrades as well.
- Secondary: Antoine Winfield is aging, but is still one of the league's better tacklers. Chris Cook was starting to turn the corner (no pun intended) before being put on IR. AJ Jefferson has been medicore, average at best. Josh Robinson is looking like a decent draft pick for Spielman. Harrison Smith is looking like a GREAT pick for Spielman. Can't say enough good things about #22. Hard-hitter, pretty good sense of where the ball is going, good hands. Jamarca Sanford has definitely improved since last year. Far better job tackling.
- Special Teams: Blair Walsh has been OUTSTANDING (besides the miss at Lambeau) and Chris Kluwe has recovered from a rough patch in the middle of the season. A caller on Vikings Fanline on Sunday said Cullen Loeffler deserves a share of team MVP for his consistently good snaps this season. He has been almost perfect on his snaps, but that comment is hilarious. On a team with Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Chad Greenway, heck even Blair Walsh, you do not even consider nominating the long snapper for MVP.
If you stuck with me through that rant, I commend you. Not sure I could have even done that. Needless to say, this team has a lot of glaring holes that need to be taken care of. I'm sick of this mediocrity. It's time this team turns into a contender once again.