A look back and a look ahead at the Minnesota Vikings 2016 season

Going 0-4 after a 5-0 start has Minnesota Vikings fans in a lull. Many changes have been made and big games are up ahead for the Minnesota Vikings.

Whereas it’s only been a couple of weeks, its felt like an eternity since my last post. With all the commotion about the Minnesota Vikings it’s hard to believe that 4 weeks ago Minnesota was sitting as odds on favorites to make the Super Bowl. Now the Vikings are on the outside of the playoff hunt looking in.

Sunday, October 9th the Minnesota Vikings played in what was to that point, the best all around game of their season. The Houston Texans were owned in all 3 phases of the game. Going into the bye week Vikings hype was at an all time high. Since then, 4 losses later, we handed the Detroit Lions the NFC North for the time being.

It’s very true that injuries have taken their toll on Vikings, the next men up on the o-line, are nowhere near capable of handling even mediocre NFL defensive lines (ie… Chicago and Detroit). Out of nowhere in the middle of a season with the team still above .500, the prestigious offensive coordinator Norv Turner resigns, leaving the Vikings and Pat Shurmur in quite a lurch. The 2nd Quarter of the game against the Redskins showed what the offense can be capable of now once the offense gets settled in.

Blair Walsh, truly a sad story, was finally given the pink slip. His powerful leg, leading to booming

Nov 6, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh (3) kicks a field goal during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 6, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh (3) kicks a field goal during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

kickoffs, and many 50+ yard field goals, failed him and the Minnesota Vikings too many times this season. 8 missed kicks (4fgs-4xps) and a botched kickoff from the 50 yard line in overtime against the Lions sealed his fate.

The Vikings looked at 6 kickers before the Washington game, more than your motivational ploy to help Walsh square up his kicks. It was pretty clear that when they retained Walsh for the Redskins game, he had to be perfect or the Vikings were moving on.

Enter Kai Forbath, the kicker who completes the Minnesota Vikings – UCLA special teams trio, with punter Jeff Locke and long snapper Kevin McDermott also being Bruins in college. The negativity that Blair Walsh brought on the team was too much for teammates and fans to bear. Fans now give the Vikings special teams a clean slate. A good run of made extra points and field goals can heal the wounds from the first half of the season. Kick’em straight Kai, all of Minnesota will still be holding our breaths, until we see the kick clear the uprights.

The Minnesota Vikings are at the point of the season where a return to winning is paramount to the overall season success of the team. In a grueling 11 day stretch the Vikings have 3 games. Starting Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals the injury riddled Minnesota Vikings must solve the David Johnson problem as Johnson has been effective at both running the ball and catching the ball out of the backfield.

Containing Johnson, no small task, is the key to making Carson Palmer hold the ball. Palmer currently leads the league with 10 fumbles. This game, coupled with the fact that the Lions are at home against a punch less Jaguars team, is pretty much a must win at home.

Four days later its Thanksgiving feast time at Ford Field. The “payback” game, against Matthew

Stafford and Golden Tate. The game where the Minnesota Vikings level off the head to head record, and reassert their dominance in the North. The tipping point of the season happens here, a loss would pretty much devastate the Minnesota Vikings playoff odds.

Not trying to be a downer, it’s just the Vikings blowing 4 straight games has them running out of games to play, and the NFC contenders step out in late November-December and show what champions are made of. Will the Minnesota Vikings put this mid-season swoon behind them? Or have the injuries finally dashed the Playoff hopes of the Minnesota Vikings players and fans alike?

The following Thursday night is going to be a telling game. The NFC leading Dallas Cowboys are riding high on 2 rookies into US Bank Stadium. This game has 3 potential outcome, not just win or lose, but the moral victory can come in to play here too. A win would make the Minnesota fans fell almost 5-0 again and a bad loss would snap us right back to feeling the 0-4 since the bye feeling. A close loss by a touchdown or less would at least show the rest of the NFL that the Minnesota Vikings are competitive again and ready to make a splash in the playoffs.

It’s not all doom and gloom, the Lions still play the Saints , Packers, Cowboys, and Giants, with only Green Bay being played in Detroit. Minnesota will finish with the Jaguars, Colts and Packers after this 3 game burst with a good chance of building momentum into a possible post season push. Vikings fans never give up hope, 1 good game can swing things back in Minnesota favor. On Sunday wear purple, have faith, and watch the Vikings right the ship at noon. SKOL!

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