It's time, once again, to hear from our good friend Marshall Faulk, asking a question of us (and the other SB Nation football blogs) about our favorite football team. Here's what Marshall is wondering this week.
After five weeks you begin to see what your team is made of. There are many aspects that go into being GMC Professional Grade: Focus, precision, consistency. In one word – one word – can you describe your team right now? C’mon, c’mon, give it to me. And let me know, how long will it last?
To sum up the Minnesota Vikings in just one word? Well, that's an easy one. The one word that would describe the Minnesota Vikings thus far in 2014 is. . .
(Yes, I looked it up. . .it can be either one word or two. And there's actually a surprising amount of debate about this.)
The Vikings have been a rollercoaster all season long. . .and I'm not even going to get into the off-field aspect of that. . .starting with the big high of a 34-6 thrashing of the St. Louis Rams in Week 1. They followed that up with a 30-7 loss to the New England Patriots in their home opener. In Week 3, the Vikings lost to the New Orleans Bounty Hunters by a score of 20-9, but what disappointment there was from that loss was quickly replaced by the optimism of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater making his first National Football League start in Week 4.
Bridgewater delivered more than could have been expected as the Vikings defeated the Atlanta Falcons, 41-28, but then there was a great deal of pessimism as an ankle injury left Bridgewater questionable for a Week 5 trip to Lambeau Field. Just before the matchup, the Vikings deactivated their rookie quarterback, and the team followed that up by getting smoked in Green Bay to the tune of 42-10.
So far, we've had some pretty high highs in 2014, and we've also had some pretty deep lows as well. And this is probably what we can expect for most of this season for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that this team is relying on a lot of young players on both offense (Bridgewater, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jerick McKinnon, and Matt Kalil, among others) and defense (Harrison Smith, Anthony Barr, Xavier Rhodes, etc.). The Vikings are one of the youngest teams in the National Football League, and in addition to that, they're still learning the nuances of Norv Turner's offense and the new defense brought to the team by Mike Zimmer and George Edwards.
So how long will this last? Probably as long as it takes Teddy Bridgewater to become an established starter in the NFL. Obviously, he has to start by playing more than one game in a row, but as he continues to play and develop, he will bring stability to the Vikings as a team. As we've seen from other teams across the league, having a star quarterback can mask a lot of deficiencies, and if Bridgewater can continue to develop the way it appears he can, this team will grow and mature around him into a more consistent unit.
The Minnesota Vikings' 2014 season has been a rollercoaster thus far, but there are signs of the track flattening out a bit in the near future.