You all saw it if you were able to stomach watching all of it. If not, I'm sure you saw enough of it.
Words of comfort? Yes, I do have some.
First, this was not unexpected. There was a reason the Cowboys were favored and it goes beyond their talent. We'd just had an amazing emotional win. Teams deflate. I was sure we'd come out slow and zombie-like. I hoped it would only last for the first quarter, but thought it most likely it would last the entire first half, and dreaded what actually happened, that it was a full-game zombie mode.
You saw it up and down the roster.
*Andrew Booth made a great read on a pass and catch behind the line of scrimmage. He blew in and... ran right past the guy? Without being blocked? And the guy did not have time to make a move? Weird.
*Other missed tackles, lots of them. But worst was Z.Smith, normally so hungry to get a sack, just couldn't wrap up Prescott.
*Hockenson looked like a complete zombie. He was slow and lumbering, looking like a smaller, slower Kyle Rudolph in his old age last year as a Viking. He dropped two passes! TDs! He also had two penalties. Two! He was the offensive zombie poster child. I'm not saying he sucks or that the trade was bad. I believe the opposite. But he is an indicator for the effect of that Bills game on the whole team.
*Even Ryan Wright, the punter, had his worst punt of the year!
It isn't a surprise, it isn't even telling about our team. It isn't who you play, it is when you play them. We're a better team than them and, if we'd played them last week when they were shambling and before we were dazed with magical success, we would have beaten them handily. The proof? The Packers beat them last week!
The next words of comfort I have are these: Everyone has said over and over this year that a win is a win and it does not matter if it is by one point and some luck or by 37 points. Maybe yes, maybe no, but if you believe that then it also means the flip-side. It does not matter how much or how badly we lose by. A loss is a loss.
(This game does explain why Caesar would not peck any beads at all and looked nervous and sick whenever I asked him about the game.)
This is the kind of game that does not reflect on the team. Now a bunch of people will jump off the bandwagon. We don't need them.
Keeping it real, admit it, if Mike Zimmer was still the coach the Zimmer haters would be calling for his head, saying this game proved he does not get his team ready to play, and the players do not like him. Not all of you, but many.
I like O'Connell and I like Kwesi. I hope and expect success and we've had early success with them. That said, this team is the car that Spielman and Zimmer built and O'Connell is simply driving that car and Kwesi is the one who eventually, gradually, will replace the parts on the car in hopes he will have an even better car.
So far O'Connell deserves minimal credit and Kwesi almost none. Kwesi's good moves and bad moves and yet-to-be-determined moves more or less balance out so far. Those who hated Spielman would be using this last draft as grounds to terminate him. I think the 2022 draft may still work out because you just can't tell so early.
Since I'm defending the previous regime (still), let me make a point about Spielman's allegedly oh so terrible 2021 draft.
If you asked any team if they would trade their entire draft for a pro bowl level top OL in Year 2 Left Tackle, they'd all say yes. It is a crucial position at a premium in this league. Darrisaw alone makes the 2021 draft a huge success. That's a mic drop point made right there.
But there is more. Camryn Bynum is a starter and show's star potential. At the least above average. A steal in Round 4. Nwangwu and Patrick Jones are also values.
Teams get 7 picks, maybe 8 with compensatory, each year.
In the end, in the middle of year 2, Spielman got a pro bowler LT, a starting safety, a kick returner, a top back up Edge player, and lots of back-ups. They aren't on the Vikings team but that is not Spielman's fault. They have the talent to be on NFL rosters, they may still explode into good careers. The reason they are not on the Vikings appears (APPEARS) to be because Kwesi exerted influence and wanted to undermine Spielman's last draft to make himself look better in comparison.
Wyatt Davis? The Saints think he's a legit player.
Kellon Mond? The Browns think he has potential.
Chazz Surratt? On the Jets PS.
Janarius Robinson? He's with the Eagles.
ISM? He's on the KC PS.
Zach Davidson? He's on the Bills' PS.
Jaylen Twyman? He's on the Dolphins PS.
Speilman made his 7-8 picks into 11 picks. All 11 are still in the NFL. One is a superstar, doing in YR 2 the LT equivalent of what Justin Jefferson did in YR 2.
The Spielman 2021 draft was a good one, a success. Don't let anyone tell you differently.
Special shout out to Harrison Phillips. He was not "Win Hungover." He was amazing all game. It was his best game as a Viking. 7 tackles, 6 of them solo, most of them on the line of scrimmage, one behind it, and a Hurry as well -- one of the rare ones our D had.
Hunter actually also played hard and did well in run D. He was another rare player who looked like himself.
Josh Metellus, as usual when getting a smidgen of playing time, also played well.
We'll do a lot better against the Patriots.