1st Down: The Minnesota Vikings were 37 seconds away from firing their entire coaching staff before U.S. Bank Stadium emptied out today. I know that seems like hyperbole, but I truly do not think it is. In a season--and for a franchise overall--that often turns choking away wins into an art form, the Vikings were that many ticks away from adding another gut punch to the long list and finally disavowing Mike Zimmer.
2nd Down: Detroit played hard today. I don't think anyone doubts that. But when a team is almost bereft of any frontline talent, they just aren't going to do much. Besides rushing for over 100 yards (a stat I may now be contractually obligated to put in these posts every time it happens), the Lions couldn't muster almost anything else until more sloppy Vikings play nearly handed them the victory anyway. Completely turtling up offensively for almost the entire second half? That's fine, but only if you don't make a key mistake. Say no more, of course, because these are the Vikings, so the key mistake--Mattison's fumble--was bound to happen. Even that was an embarrassment, with Mattison trying to churn for the extra yard or two in a run-out-the-clock scrum situation. Almost as if there was no coaching present to remind him of how to handle such a situation. Thus, despite coming away with the W, I have less faith in this team after Week 5 than I did coming into it.
3rd Down: All of that being said, I'll always take that W. I know that many may actually be rooting for losses at this point, to more quickly precipitate a potential coaching change, and to a certain extent I understand that mentality (at this point, I think Zimmer and his crew have to go). But in my heart of hearts, I never root for losing/tanking for two fundamental reasons: 1. Winning feels better than losing (in basically every facet of life, not just football) and generally encourages a culture of winning; & 2. As a fan, my goal each week is to continue having hope that the next game will mean something. Even if it was by the most ridiculous circumstances or slimmest of margins, the Vikings did that today. Even if I no longer trust the coaching staff--and by-and-large I don't anymore--I'll ALWAYS take the possibility of a playoff berth over early-season irrelevance and a long slog to the finish line (see: 2021 MN Twins).
4th Down: Every once in a while, there is a situation in which I legitimately feel a little bad for a team the Vikings have defeated. This was one of those times, especially after seeing Detoit Head Coach Dan Campbell's teary postgame presser. Flat out, they deserved a victory more than our guys did today. But like he said, they'll also be better for it (even though I'm sure it doesn't feel that way at the moment). Maybe I'll eat my words down the road, but I think the Motor City might actually be on to something with Campbell. Though clearly not possessing enough talent to win most NFL contests at the moment, they are a franchise I'm keeping my eye on for a turnaround in the next couple of years. I mean, there's only multiple decades of history pushing against that hunch :)