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Zulgad: Super bust: Vikings’ season shaping up as massive disappointment

By Judd Zulgad

Six games. Twenty-four quarters. One-month and five days.

That’s the amount of games, quarters and time (tick, tock) the Vikings have left to salvage this season and make sure that 2018 doesn’t go down as one of the biggest disappointments in franchise history.

Before you call the above paragraph an overstatement, consider the facts.

The Vikings did not sign quarterback Kirk Cousins to a three-year, $84 million contract hoping to make the playoffs as a wild card team. They did not sign veteran defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson as a free agent to maybe get into the postseason.

Coming off a 13-3 finish in 2017 that ended with a loss at Philadelphia in the NFC championship game, the Vikings did not have the luxury of hoping for another feel-good season in 2018. This season was supposed to be a success — no questions asked. That’s why Case Keenum was allowed to leave for Denver and the top free agent quarterback on the market was signed to replace him.

The Vikings had the NFL’s best defense in 2017, and Cousins was expected to put the offense over the top. The Vikings were a favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl in the heat of July and now …?

There are six games left in the regular season for the Vikings to prove that they weren’t just another over-hyped franchise destined to disappoint. That’s what they have done far too often this season.

The Vikings’ 25-20 loss at Chicago on Sunday night left them 1.5 games behind the NFC North-leading Bears (7-3). Minnesota (5-4-1) might take an above .500 record into next Sunday night’s game against Green Bay at U.S. Bank Stadium but take a closer look and the record doesn’t impress.

The Vikings’ victories this season have come against San Francisco, Philadelphia, Arizona, the New York Jets and Detroit. None of those teams have a winning record and the five are a combined 15-35 this season. There was a time when a win over the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles on the road looked impressive but it’s clear this Philadelphia team is a complete mess.

In addition to the embarrassing loss to Buffalo in September at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings defeats have come against the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans and Chicago.

Guess, what? Those are the exact type of teams these Vikings should have been able to beat and might have had a better chance to do so if general manager Rick Spielman wasn’t guilty of gross negligence when it comes to the offensive line.

The Saints are the class of the NFC, but, if that’s the case, then go to Los Angeles and beat the Rams. Or, at the very least, beat a Bears team that is on the rise but still is led by a young quarterback (Mitchell Trubisky) who appeared desperate to give away Sunday’s game.

After playing the Packers on Sunday, the Vikings will play back-to-back road games against New England and Seattle. They will then return home to face Miami, travel to Detroit and then close the regular season at home against the Bears.

This gives the Vikings time to change the way many feel about their 2018, but that isn’t going to be easy if past performance is indicative of future results.

There is time for the Vikings to change the way fans feel about their 2018 but it isn’t going to be easy. Last season, the Vikings had a first-round bye in the playoffs. This season, they might be lucky to be playing on the road in a wild card game.

That was never part of the plan for a franchise that is still looking for its first Super Bowl title and its first appearance in that game since the 1976 season. This Mike Zimmer-led collection was thought to have a real opportunity to end that drought.

Now, the Vikings might not even make the postseason or could be one-and-done in the playoffs. If that’s the case, this season will qualify as one of the most disappointing in Vikings’ history.

The post Zulgad: Super bust: Vikings’ season shaping up as massive disappointment appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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