You know it is not a good season when you are starting your third quarterback in six games, you are undefeated in England-yet have not won at all in the country you live and play in, and there is already more focus on the next offseason than the remaining, majority of the current season. But is there hope? The logical mind says, 'of course not.' Yet in the larger scheme of things; there is. As much as I and many have been a critic of the decisions made of the past few years; there has been some good things done for this team to build on. There is a solid core of players already in place that can win, but need leadership from the quarterback position and the coaching staff. And with as bad as it is now, and as even worse as it is expected to get; there are some positives that will be largely over shadowed by the end result we are all seeing week in and week out.
Many will concede the season is already over and is more than difficult to even look forward to Vikings' games each week. And the fact of the matter is; the season was really over before it actually started, and the signs were very apparent in the preseason. So, now we are headed into a primetime Monday night game in the Meadowlands followed by a Sunday night game in which whatever it is the Vikings are will be spotlighted for all of the football world to see, and Minnesota has been the worst team to perform in primetime over the past seemingly inevitable 5th season in a row. In fact the only primetime game the Vikings have won was a postponed Tuesday night game in which Joe Webb, Antoine Winfield and the Minnesota Vikings stunned a solid Eagles team in 2010.
So now with the uncertainty of the QB carousel in Minnesota, Christian Ponder is hinting that he wants to be traded, and he very well may get traded if Spielmen is offered; I would guess at least a fifth round pick, but that is purely speculation. So Josh Freeman will start likely at least the two primetime games and another one to two games beyond that even if he plays worse than Ponder and Cassel have this season with Ponder being his back up. Minnesota's season is lost and they are likely not going to win either primetime contests, but one of the first steps forward this team needs to make is much better performances in primetime games, and regardless of the very unfavorable circumstances; the Vikings must display an effort, showing as much heart as possible especially from the players that want to suit up for the purple in 2014. This is not the season where the Vikings get to the promised land, or even the post season or even a winning record, but the spotlight over the next two weeks is going to showcase which Vikings' players are a part of this franchise moving forward, and these terrible showings in primetime games is one part of this folding under pressure mindset that must be severed from this team, or at least from the players that intend on being a part of this team in 2014.
I cannot say Freeman will be the long term answer at quarterback, but I think he can give the team a spark. And not necessarily because of his talents, as he grades out very closely to the same caliber of Ponder, but has played about twice as long. It is likely Freeman has leveled out and what you see is what you get. So if there is room for either of the two to grow anymore; it is likely Ponder who has more room to grow in reaching his ceiling, and even though he will never have the arm of Freeman; he can learn from him. I think Ponder can be humble enough to play in this league as a back and learn to capitalize when he is eventually given his chances to start again. I am not so sure about Freeman; I am not so sure how long Freeman would play in this league at all as the number two guy. With that said as far as Minnesota's QBs; this team is desperate and has nothing to lose, and that should have the most effect on this team regardless of who the starting QB is and how questionable the decision making is of the coaching staff. These players have absolutely nothing to lose. They have already been counted out against a completely win less team. I would like to assume the Vikings' coaches will have at least a couple trick plays up their sleeves, and this team as a whole needs to play exactly like they have nothing left to lose, because they do not.
It is pretty apparent the entire coaching staff will be replaced at season's end, but that does not mean that they or anyone else on the team should give up. They are all auditioning for the future of their careers in the league. Though, I think if we see this same predictable, conservative approach from Bill Musgrave; I would be very surprised if he is not dismissed the game after, as much as Wilf wants to wait until season's end to fire them all. The fact of the matter is; Minnesota is going with a QB who has to learn a new system. So, why waste his and everyone else's time on learning something this team should be trying to forget, especially if we see the same ridiculous approach as he has had in the previous five games this year. Even if it is going to be an OC brought in that does not pan out and coach in Minnesota in 2014; the majority of the offensive players are in place that will be here for the next few years to come and whatever offense it is that is run the next year, the bottom line is a logical minded OC is going focus on what these players do best, and this current Musgraved system is not it. So, start trying to implement at least part of the offense the majority of the offensive players are good at that play to their strengths. Because outside of a QB and a guard or two;Minnesota is in pretty good shape. It is the defense that need many more positional upgrades at positions such as another safety, multiple corners, line backers and defensive linemen.
I think this team is not going to win the majority of the remaining games, and as much as that hurts to say and accept; I think he remainder of these games should be absolutely played to win at all costs and the players are all on audition. We all know there are ample of examples of the best players not being on the field or in the right position, but that must come to an end starting Monday night. It is Wilf and Spielman that must order Frazier and his staff to put in specific players in games especially when their deemed starting players are struggling. When a player beats out the others competing for each specific job; Wilf must order the coaching staff to inject them into the game at least until they falter worse then Frazier, Williams and Musgrave's choice. Spielman has done very well drafting for the most part and it is obvious he is not thrilled with some of the young talent he has brought in not being put on the field nearly as much as most expected and on top of the fact that the players the coaches have chosen over them are being highly criticized by many. There is obviously a clear disconnect between the players and the coaches, and there also seem to be a disconnect between the majority of the coaching staff and the modern game itself, but interestingly enough; there looks to be a difference of not only opinions, but philosophies as well. One obvious example is Rick Spielman's well known approach of wanting to build the majority of the team through the draft while keeping the roster young. Frazier and company seem to push hard to give the majority of playing time to veterans and seemingly regardless to amounts success. I don't know if there a grudge between Frazier and Spielman or not, but looking form the outside; I would say Frazier is not happy about not getting what he wanted in the draft, and would like to hope that the coaching staff wouldn't be snubbing some draft picks to spite the decision to draft other prospects instead of their favorites. I am not going to say that is what is happening, but I'm not going to say that it doesn't look like that either. I would like to think all parties are professionals being paid a lot of money so shouldn't let personal differences influence their better judgment. Though there is obviously been mistakes made by not having better judgement in the past and players and coaches alike need to be playing for their jobs. Because if they do not, it will not just be Minnesota they are not playing for next season; no one will hire an individual that lays down or refuses to adapt and overcome.