....With a record of 3-9-1 after 13 games, many fans wouldnt see the optimism i see for this team in the near future. I agree that its been a very disappointing season to watch but when your at the bottom already, you can only get better. We have the youth and talent on this roster to be an at least playoff contender with a few more pieces added. Here is a few things that i think the team will have to do to keep the optimism going for 2014 and beyond.
1. Overhaul the coaching staff. Bill Musgrave has been one of the worst offensive coordinator in the league since joining the Minnesota Vikings. I can understand because It'd be hard to succeed with a run, run, pass, punt offense and using a 5x8 index card for a play book that all the analysts give him shit about. Now on to Alan Williams our defensive coordinator. He seemed like a great hire since he did some nice things to our defense last year. We need a coordinator though that can consistently get us off the field on 3rd downs and keep us from loosing a game we should have won in the last final minutes. I don't completely blame him because i think we need to get rid of the Tampa 2 defense, but id say scrap the Tampa 2 and start fresh with a new defensive coordinator that can get the most out of our talent on defense. As for Leslie Frazier, hes a good guy but he's going to be known for his quarterback changes and I dont agree with him not starting Rhodes and Patterson sooner. I'm sorry Leslie but the new start should come with you gone out of Minnesota. Please take your noodle armed quarterback else where also because we don't want him.
2. Find the answer at quarterback. Ponder was a mess! once again he showed glances of hope but is not consistent enough or talented enough to be the long term answer for the Vikings. Then they started Cassel and hes been playing well, then sat him again after not such a good game against possibly the best defense in the league (Carolina Panthers). Went out and signed Josh Freeman out of Tampa to a 1 year/$3 million deal, played horrible and has sat on the bench ever since. Ponder got the starting gig back before getting injured and giving Cassel another chance to prove himself which he has and he is the best answer to give us a chance to win. Now in 2014 i expect that Minnesota will take a quarterback within the first 3 rounds of the draft and would be a shame and disappointing if they dont. I like Derek Carr out of Fresno, hes got a strong arm to make all the throws and also has great pocket awareness. I was always worried that he would turn out like his older brother David but i think he will prove many wrong and would succeed from sitting and learning under a good veteran quaterback and maybe in 2016 when we open the new stadium well have a frachise quarterback.
3. Keep hitting in the Draft. The last few years we have been hitting very good in the drafts minus Ponder but other then that Speilman has done a great job. Hopefully Speilman will make up for his Ponder mistake and find us a franchise signal caller as well as a nose tackle, which we've needed since Phat Pat left and also more peices to fix this teams secondary.
4. Get rid of declining players and give younger players a chance to succeed. I really expected the Vikings to trade Jared allen away and pick up more draft picks in this upcoming draft. Now after 2013 Vikings should let Jared walk away with his very big salary cap contract. Hes a great player and fun to watch but he no longer fits Speilman's plan of getting younger and hes no longer the guy we saw almost break the single sack record. I also expect them to get rid of Kevin Williams and just start Shariff Floyd or if anything offer a small 2 year contract with most of the money coming from incentives to let him finish his grat career in Minnesota.
2014 and maybe even 2015 might be hard to watch with the Vikings having to play home games outside as the Mall of America field wont be there any longer as they build the new stadium but by the time we open in 2016 i expect this team to be much better and be a serious playoff contender if not Superbowl contender. Thank you all for reading this, SKOL VIKINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!