I actually wrote this before news broke about the Vikings entertaining Ted Ginn Jr. Allow me to say that I actually kinda like that idea- a punt/ kickoff return specialist who can hold their own, and allow us to remove Percy Harvin from that position and let him focus on destroying defenses in his other trademark ways, is not- IMO- a terrible idea.
If there are, in fact, any 17 year old female readers here who in fact subscribe to either the emo or goth lifestyles (it is, in fact, my understanding that those two are exclusive, and can't really be united... but I could be wrong, not really being an expert) who were recently spurned at a school dance (seeing as how it's not prom season... I think)- well, I apologize if I brought up any recent troubling memories.
Of course, if you do fall into that category, good G-d do I hope you're also not a Viking fan, because then it's getting too much for ya, sistah. Hang in there.
This is not a story. There is no news to be broken here. What is this? This is a cathartic journey, a trip to the bottom, and then hopefully a beginning rise at the end, the "hit rock bottom and you can only go up" feeling. If you are someone who feels that the Vikings FO has been acting in a solid, respectable manner, and that hope should be maintained, well- first off, G-d bless you too, and secondly, don't read on. There's no point, because either you will suddenly feel my despair, or you will be aggravated at senseless complaining.
If, however, you are like me, and you've scratched your head so hard at this point regarding Viking moves that blood is coming out, then join me. Maybe shared suffering/ commiserating will help the healing. (Plus Neosporin. Don't forget that.)
Let's do this. LEAP OF FAITH!
The Minnesota Vikings entered this offseason with a fair room of salary cap, numerous FAs- most of whom were likely to not be re-signed, excepting the ideal of Erin Henderson's return- and numerous holes to fill even before said FAs were let go, be it by cutting (Griff, Hutch, Herrera) or simply not attempting to renew contracts (Shianco, EJ Henderson... several others...). While there was much debate on in which order of importance they should be listed, we here at the proud Daily Norseman generally agreed that the top three needs were WR, DBs, and O-line.
Not, BTW, TE or FB. Or point guards, either.
Since then, the Vikings spurred a bit of hope by cutting Hutch, Griff, and Herrera. While cutting Hutch wasn't exactly a ‘popular' move per se, few could argue with it. There was some hope that he would be re-signed at a discount, but that hope was always a bit peripheral- it was generally accepted that arguably the most popular O-lineman of the recent era was past his prime and it was time to move on, such as the NFL goes.
Entering into FA, there was a great amount of potential at WR and CB. And while top-level O-linemen never enter FA in large numbers, there was one key guy out there many- primarily perhaps myself- were drooling over: Carl Nicks, formerly of the New Orleans Saints*. Passing that, there was also Ben Grubbs, who most would have been OK with over Nicks.
...and then, we let 90% of the FA classes' WRs and DBs go elsewhere, without even a peep or struggle. Nicks went to Tampa, Grubbs to N'Orleans. The Vikings sat, watched... apparently from an armchair, and via ESPN... and did nothing. A stroke of genius hit the FO, and they rushed out and overpaid for a TE from Seattle, because the NFL dictates that in FA, half of the moves made by Seattle or Minnesota must be swaps between the two teams. Seattle held up their end of the deal last season, we were doing our part this season.
Then Spielman drank an entire pot of coffee, probably laced with something, and turned off ESPN and turned on highlights from college basketball/ the minor league of arena football, and signed a point guard. After that, the FO convened, and realized that we were at desperate and yet unfulfilled need at the FB position. Meanwhile, someone mentioned that we had cut two O-line starters and had yet to address that in any way, shape, or form, so they talked to some guy from a Mel Brooks movie. They didn't sign him or anything- that would have been silly- but hey, they discussed the current Syria problem and potential ramifications in the greater world sphere.
After that nice chat, they then signed a FB from, uh, I think Miami, and then went to talk to another, because my G-d no team has ever gotten to the Super Bowl without at least 5 FBs in the modern era. Meanwhile, they were so caught up watching re-runs of Gilligan's Island, and completely forgot that the one FA we needed to re-sign, Erin Henderson, was slowly stewing in anger and annoyance, and that every day he was on the market was another day we stood to lose him.
Does any of the above sound infeasible to explain what exactly the Vikings FO has been doing this offseason?! How sad is it that the above story was not constructed as a bit of humor a la Dr. Prometheus, or Ted's floating heads, or me suggesting the Vikings thought they were playing golf? Why, exactly, was the above comedy of errors constructed with over 50% of actual facts?! Do the Minnesota Vikings hate their fans, or do they just hate winning?
Are we that far away from being a good team again, that we can just screw around now? I thought Christian Ponder was our QBOTF, that his errors last season were attributed to both rookie mistakes that all future greats make and to a porous O-line that couldn't protect him? Aren't we set to take Matt Kalil in the draft, taking a major step towards that second problem? (If we pass on Kalil, that's it for me, BTW, at this point.) If we're set, supposedly, at the most important position in the NFL (not to mention with a great backup at said position), why are we so far away? By my horrible math, we're pretty much set to lose more FAs than we've got draft picks. Shouldn't we do something about that? Don't teams need 53 players to, you know, play football? And isn't part of the goddamned goal to make all 53 of said players the best possible players available?
Have we really given up on 2012 before kickoff? Where are we? Why aren't we making any solid moves? Schwartz is visiting the 49ers. At this point, who would you chose? So now we're going to have to overpay to get a halfway decent O-lineman, rather than make any moves for the two top-tier guys available? I could have lived with overpaying Nicks or Grubbs- but are we really going to have to overpay for Schwartz? Or are we just going to do like we did all along and watch him go elsewhere?
I get it, I get it- FA isn't how you win football games. I know this, I harped on it last year. But this is ridiculous. We used to be one of the better teams in the NFL at utilizing FA. We got top-tier, younger guys who could perform well, become key parts of our team, and smile. Yes, we had our misses- who doesn't? But even then many who ultimately washed out gave us some value- even Berrian had a good first season with us. But my G-d I cannot believe that this FA is going to shake out as anything but a complete and utter failure in Vikings history.
But you know what? It's just one season. We've just suffered through two increasingly sucky seasons. We're prepared for a third, right? We've figured out by now our brand of poison to get through it. Some like the harder stuff, some prefer beer cuz you're just going to drink the whole way through, and a whole bottle of whiskey/ rum/ vodka leaves you slightly comatose after, and the wifey complains.
Maybe Spielman knows what he's doing. I don't think so right now. I was on board with him becoming full time GM but no, I'm not feeling it anymore. Maybe this is his catastrophic failure that will get him removed and someone else, someone who is aware of how to build a winning team to come aboard.
Either way, I'm fully prepared now for rock bottom. I don't think 2012 is going to have much happiness for us. Worst team in the NFL? I have a hard time accepting that possibility. But we're going to have quite the high draft pick again in 2013. From there it can only be up, right? The Lions turned things around pretty darn quick, and they were in a worse position than we are in right now. C'mon- Jared Allen, Adrian Peterson (he will be back... he has to come back...)- we've got the nucleus. Point guards aren't the way to build around that but whatever.
Let's all take a deep breath. Don't be like me. Don't become a 17 year old emo goth girl who was just spurned at the prom. Things are going to be bad... but things can and will get better. Probably not in 2012. But the day is coming.
Just hang on, my fellow Viking faithful. Don't jump off the longboat just yet. 1998, 2009... these will be but memories when the day comes. And it will come.
Just not tomorrow.