1st Down: Tomorrow, the Vikings & Bears will clash at U.S. Bank Stadium. A meaningless contest in which I care very little about whether the Vikes win, lose, or draw. I'm not sure I'll even watch the whole game--we'll see. Whether this team finishes 7-10 or 8-9 may matter to Mike Zimmer, but it has absolutely no impact on me with a playoff berth now mathematically out of grasp. So, instead of talking about the game at all, I'd like to look back on two of my pre-season comments to see how they turned out (spoiler alert: it isn't pretty).
2nd Down: Coming into this season, I was really enthused about the Dalvin Tomlinson and Michael Pierce pairing. After the '20 squad ranked 27th against the rush in terms of yards, it was clear that was an area that needed to be shored up if the defense had any chance to gain some traction. The result? 27th against the run (yards) in 2021. No change at all. If fingers are to be pointed at the inability of the defense to look at any times competent this year, all my fingers go in that direction. No matter who Zimmer tried to stop opposing RB's with, he/they failed (no matter what ghosts he might be seeing "on the tape").
3rd Down: I also was adamant that the offense needed to push forward (after a solid fourth in yards & 11th in points in '20) instead of resting on laurels. Perhaps Klint Kubiak could keep that progress point upward? Wrong. Currently, the '21 team is 14th in points and 12th in yards. So many folks to blame here: Cousins for his erratic play, injuries (Cook & Thielen), Kubiak for being a nepotism hire (not exactly his fault, but still...), and Zimmer for regressing his offensive vision. We all should have seen that last one coming. Clearly, Zim was content to think of the problem like "let's just keep last year's production and fix the defense". If only things were that simple in the NFL.
4th Down: Part of the reason I may not be tuning into tomorrow's Vikings finale is because of the way the game is being treated by ownership and coaches. The Wilfs are keeping Zimmer on for no discernible reason at this point, while the Head Coach himself professes to treat the game like any other--even to the point of starting Cousins over Mond, which seems ridiculous on so many fronts. I'm just so tired of the whole schtick and ready for something (hopefully) completely new if/when Zim is shown the door some 30+ hours from now.