I'll confess. . .I really have no culinary talent. If it's anything more complicated than throwing something into a crock pot and letting it go for "x" number of hours, I'm in pretty big trouble. However, I do know one thing about cooking, and that's the fact that you should always use the freshest ingredients when preparing your dishes.
The same thing can be said for our favorite football team going forward. With the Minnesota Vikings currently sitting at 2-8-1 and all but mathematically eliminated from the NFC playoff chase, the time has come for them to sort of put aside some of the ingredients that are nearing. . .or, in some cases, have even passed. . .their expiration date. This seems to be a bit of a sore spot for the current Vikings' regime, but it's getting to the point where it doesn't really matter.
Take the linebacker position for example. Chad Greenway, who has been a warrior for this team for a great many years, is slowing down. Erin Henderson has off-field issues, and I'll be perfectly honest with you. . .I still couldn't pick Marvin Mitchell out of a lineup. There's a pretty good likelihood that none of those three players. . .yes, even Greenway. . .will be back with Minnesota next year. The Vikings do have young talent at linebacker, though, with the likes of Audie Cole (who appears to have claimed the starting spot in the middle from Henderson), Michael Mauti, and Gerald Hodges. The time has come for those three players to show the Vikings what they have, and to determine how high the linebacker position needs to be on next year's off-season priority list.
There are many other positions that the Vikings could stand to do this for, too. Personally, I'd like to see Jeff Baca get some time at guard in Charlie Johnson's place (Brandon Fusco appears to have figured it out at the other guard spot), and I hope that Greg Childs can make it onto the field this season and hopefully allow Jerome Simpson and his off-field issues to be gradually phased out as well. It would be hard not to get excited about a wide receiver corps of Greg Jennings, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jarius Wright, and Greg Childs if #85 can make it all the way back from his injury. Sharrif Floyd needs to be getting more snaps at defensive tackle as well, and hopefully that's something that will happen going forward.
When he was the coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Parcells famously commented about being able to shop for the groceries when you're expected to cook the meal. In this case, since the Minnesota Vikings are likely to have a new "cook" in 2014, it would behoove them to see what sort of ingredients they already have in stock and see what they're going to have to add in for next season.
We'll revisit this topic at the end of the year and see if the Vikings managed to follow this "recipe" for success over the final five games of the 2013 regular season.