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Zulgad: Angry at the Vikings for this collapse? Try looking in the mirror

By Judd Zulgad

The Vikings’ fourth consecutive loss – a 26-20 setback in Washington on Sunday – will be cause for another week of introspection at Winter Park.

The fact the Vikings once sat atop the NFC North at 5-0 has been long forgotten. It speaks volumes about this division when the team that had the best day was the one on a bye. Detroit and the Vikings now have identical 5-4 records and the Lions hold a tie-breaker with a victory in the head-to-head matchup a week ago.

The fact Blair Walsh can’t be relied upon to make a field goal or extra point, or that that the offensive line and Matt Asiata get no push on third-and-short, or that the defense isn’t getting the stops it once was, will result in plenty of ire being directed at Mike Zimmer’s team.

But before you direct your anger at the Vikings for this collapse, I suggest you follow my lead. Take a good look in the mirror and realize you only have one person to be upset with and that’s you.

The Vikings had easily dispatched of Houston in Week 5, when my radio partner, Phil Mackey, and I were breaking down the upcoming schedule. Between Sam Bradford’s MVP-like play and a defense that I declared to be the best that I had seen since starting to follow the Vikings in 1978, I admitted it was difficult for me to predict when the Vikings would lose a game.

I had earlier said that a loss might come in Philadelphia, but I retracted that prediction after the drubbing of the Texans and jumped into the driver’s seat of the Vikings bandwagon. OK, driver’s seat might be overstating it, since there are more enthusiastic media members than me, but I had both feet firmly on the bandwagon.

Sure, the offensive line did not look great, the running game was non-existent and Walsh remained a liability, but those warts did nothing to temper my enthusiasm. General manager Rick Spielman’s move to acquire Bradford after Teddy Bridgewater’s season-ending injury, and Zimmer’s work on the sideline, had them headed for executive and coach of the year honors, respectively. Or so I predicted.

Then came the losses at Philadelphia and Chicago, a home defeat to Detroit that Zimmer tried to put a positive spin on and then the latest setback on Sunday. That accounts for the Vikings’ longest-losing streak since Zimmer took over in 2014.

It’s also enough for me to put blame where it belongs. On myself. And, if you believe in these Vikings, and elect to be honest with yourself, then you should know that the real disappointment was in believing.

I’m even more disappointed in myself because this isn’t a mistake I usually make. As the Gophers football team reeled off a four-game winning streak by beating bottom-feeders Maryland, Rutgers, Illinois and Purdue, I did nothing but continue to caution everyone that it meant nothing.

Let’s wait until the Gophers play Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin to end the season. That was the stance from this corner and, given the Gophers’ 24-17 loss to the Cornhuskers in a very winnable game on Saturday, it proved to be correct.

Any self-respecting Minnesota sports fan should know that the wait-and-see approach – along with a healthy dose of pessimism – is always warranted when it comes to our teams.

If I had remembered that a month ago, perhaps I could have brought a calming and realistic voice to the conversation. Instead, I decided to go all in when it came to these Vikings.

That is a mistake that won’t happen again.

The post Zulgad: Angry at the Vikings for this collapse? Try looking in the mirror appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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