Vikings beat Bears 31-17 in season finale, finishing 8-9 and missing the playoffs.
These last couple years saw the Vikings franchise really start to spiral and fall apart. They took a flyer on QB Cousins and that didn't pay off as his contract, amongst other contracts, really prevented the Vikings from continuing to be a balanced squad like we saw in 2017. Switching gears back to the final game, my preview stated "My prediction is the Vikings come out strong right from the opening kickoff and come out with a convincing 27-13 win. This is the type of no pressure game that QB Cousins will thrive in. It is not a primetime game, no pressure to make the playoffs, and the Bears are not a good team." My prediction was, again, pretty darn close minus the strong start for the Vikings. I had the correct spread for the Vikings victory and QB Cousins got his meaningless stats as he so often does. The first half was about as pathetic as you could imagine. The Bears went into halftime with a 14-3 lead as their 5th stringers on defense were able to stop the Vikings offense on nearly every drive. The second half told a different story. The Vikings flipped gears and were able to dominate and ultimately outscore the Bears 28-3 in the final 2 quarters. I always enjoy seeing the Vikings win, so this was a fitting end to the season, and in fact this era of Vikings football.
On Monday morning, the Wilfs made a huge decision to fire GM Rick Spielman after 16 seasons and HC Mike Zimmer after 8 seasons. Their loyalty has been a trademark since taking over ownership of the Minnesota Vikings and I believe that is one of their best traits. So many organizations hire and fire people in leadership roles in only 1-2 seasons and I don't believe a team can be turned around in that amount of time. The Wilfs gave Spielman and Zimmer plenty of years to bring a championship to the great state of Minnesota, but ultimately it was time for a change. I don't think it was too soon or too late, but I do think Spielman's decision to sign, and then extend, QB Cousins was the downfall. That along with spending too much money in the wrong places over the last 4 years kept piling on to a situation that wasn't going to lead to a Super Bowl. Mike Zimmer was a good coach, but had his flaws. He never could get a grasp on game time management, the kicking game was never consistent during his tenure (which ultimately falls on the head coach), outside of Teddy Bridgewater he seemed to hate every QB, and he seemed to only enjoy focusing on defense. Although he will go down as the 3rd best HC in Vikings history, the Vikings were only able to be true Super Bowl contenders in 1 or 2 out of the 8 seasons. One of the aspects of the Vikings that make them a great franchise is that they rarely have terrible seasons. That's also a reason why the Vikings are the 6th winningest franchise in NFL history. We have high expectations here and us fans desperately deserve a championship.
A Super Bowl will eventually come and hopefully it will be during the next era of Vikings football! In my next post, I will go over new leadership and what to expect with changes to the roster moving forward. The team we've come to know over the last 5-10 years is going to change dramatically and I am very excited for it! Stay Tuned!