It’s time for the “just good enough” Vikings to say “enough”

Dallas Cowboys v Minnesota Vikings
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Last December, we shared some hard truths about the state of the Vikings in recent years. The franchise exudes a sense that being “just good enough” is more than good enough to stave off major changes that may be critical to lifting the team out of a perpetual purple purgatory, where it can’t win a Super Bowl but also won’t sink so far to justifying pressing the reset button.

After last night’s ugly loss to a team without its starting quarterback, ownership needs to start considering the reset button.

Currently, it’s not working. Offensively or defensively. Special-teams are no great shakes either; a missed 37-yard field goal prevented a win over the Cardinals, and an inexplicably short 49-yard field goal opened the door for a fourth-quarter, double-digit comeback by the lowly Lions.

The current Vikings are operating like the pre-Favre Brad Childress teams. Keep it close and hope for a late break. That’s a recipe for .500 or something close to it. It’s a recipe for getting to the playoffs every other year. It’s a recipe for keeping the fan base engaged by the possibility that the team eventually will deliver a Super Bowl win without ever taking the aggressive and necessary steps toward doing so.

It’s Big Shield’s version of the Big Lie. All teams spout off the notion that the goal is to win the Super Bowl, this year and every year. But they all know that it’s not a realistic goal. The real Super Bowl victory comes on the balance sheet, where they get brand-new Lombardi Trophies each and every year, even in the pandemic.

That’s part of the grift, frankly. Plenty of teams don’t make winning a Super Bowl a priority. Instead, they simply act like they’re trying to win a Super Bowl because fans wouldn’t buy tickets or watch the games or funnel various forms of money and attention to the team if they knew the football gods’-honest truth.

And here it is. Just good enough is more than good enough to make many millions in profit, year after year.

In Minnesota, just good enough may no longer be good enough. Especially since last night’s effort was not nearly good enough. The offense had no rhythm or urgency. The defense seemed woefully unprepared to deal with Cooper Freaking Rush. And coach Mike Zimmer may have begun the process of signing his own pink slip with a Fahu Tahi-stye f–kup by calling two straight timeouts, triggering a penalty that shrank third and 16 to third and 11, and then watching his defense be out-efforted by Ezekiel Elliott for the third-down conversion that set up the game-winning touchdown.

Zimmer, to his credit, took the blame for taking back-to-back timeouts. Then again, it’s not like it was anyone else’s fault. Zimmer became so caught up in his role as de facto defensive coordinator that he lost sight of his head-coaching responsibilities. And if a head coach who tries to wear both hats can’t do it, he shouldn’t try.

I screwed up,” Zimmer said, because what else was he going to say in that moment? The last thing he could have done was repeat his preseason bravado about being “still ahead of the curve” and about landing on his feet as the head coach of another NFL team if the Vikings don’t want him. Seven games in, the best-case scenario is 9-8 or 10-7 and a one-and-done playoff appearance or something like 7-10 or 8-9 and no postseason for the second straight year.

Either way, it’s time for ownership to say “enough” when it comes to the team’s perpetual “just good enough” vibe.

71 responses to “It’s time for the “just good enough” Vikings to say “enough”

  1. Written by a Vikings fan.

    The Jags and Texans would be quite happy to be in the Vikings position at this point. Be careful what you wish for.

  2. IF you really want to indict this team for this kind of mindset, look no further than the signing of Kirk Cousins. He’s kind of a poster-boy for underachievement.

  3. Zim is a good guy, but he’s not a HC. He’s a DC. Klint Kubiak has ZERO business being an OC at this point in his career. Nepotism fails more often than not. To have those kind of players on offense and not get production every game is laughable. And Kirk Cousins is Kirk Cousins. The most average QB who is likely better as a backup, but he starts b/c he is paid like a top tier one.

  4. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!
    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!

  5. Any time your quarterback is the poster boy for “gaming the system” to get overpaid every year, there is no point in having the guy getting gamed be your GM.

  6. One of the big problems is the dozen or so owners who have zero interest in every winning a Super Bowl or putting a true quality product on the field.

    They know that they can go 0-16 and still collect the huge TV money checks and laugh all the way to the bank. Many of these awful owners are either children of the original owners who have no passion for the game, or business people who bought teams as an investment and only care about collecting their $$$$

    An easy fix would be to take half the TV money and split it into a number of shares equal to the number of games in the regular season. Each win gets one of those shares. The owners of teams that lose a lot still get their share of the other half of the TV money, but this would give them incentive to at least try to put a decent team on the field.

  7. Life long Vikings fan…I’ve made a point to not get emotionally involved with this team anymore. Florio is correct on this…The Vikings are mediocre and sinking fast. Kirk Cousins shouldn’t see the field again this year so they can see what they got. Its time to clean house.

  8. I think it’s an equally big lie that rebuilding works. How many times have the Jets, Lions, Jaguars, Bengals, Browns, Bears, etc. hit that reset button with no real results? Meanwhile teams like the Ravens, Steelers, and Saints are paragons of stability because they hover around that “good enough” mark year after year. The only difference is that they occasionally break through into “greatness” for a few seasons. I’m certainly not saying that the Vikings should stick with anyone currently in that organization. Just that a shot at making the playoffs every couple of years would sound pretty good to some fanbases.

  9. If this is it for Zimmer the question now is do they pull the plug on him during the season or wait until after? They have been competitive in every game so an quick firing would be hard to justify but if you wait until after the season you risk losing out on the top coaching prospects. Another question this team must answer by tomorrow is now that it looks very doubtful this team has any potential for a deep playoff run, let alone playoffs at all, should they become sellers at the trade deadline? With all the one and 2 year contracts on this roster and a tight cap balance for next year having draft capital to rebuild for the future with cheaper/younger talent could be wiser than clinging to the fading delusion of a playoff run this year.

  10. The Vikes are probably the most steady team in the past 40 years. No big ups, and no big downs.
    The author is right on that. They dont make changes a lot and then, two years ago they replaced the entire O line, not good enough. Last year, 4 new d backs. But they always keep the core defense in place.
    Defense is the mainstay of this team for decades, draft top people and keep them until they start to lose their ability, trade them and replace with quality again. Defense keeps them in games.
    That is what this team is built around for ages.

  11. 8-9 or 7-10 seems very optimistic. This team is cobbled together on a 1 year contracts of washed up vets. I love Zimmer and wish him success not just because he’s the Vikings coach but because I think his a genuine person and has overcome some serious obstacles to becoming a HC.

    But I just don’t think he has the tools to put it all together. I believe he can do a lead a defense still, but throughout his entire tenure Offense and Special Teams have been big problems. If he’s the Cornerback Whisperer, he’s the Kicker Devourer and the Offensive Coordinator Killer, burning through them both as if they were a Northern California Forest in July.

    We know he over values veterans because they give him a comforting feeling (see not playing JJ first few games of last year) and he’s lost when it comes to QB’s. He had one that clicked with his team in Keenum, even if Keenum isn’t a world beater and he got rid of him because he lacked pedigree and replaced him with Stat King Cousins who plays like either Tom Brady or Christian Ponder at any given snap with no middle ground between.

    He’s also way too devoted to the running game. Cook is electric to watch, but he’s just not a ground pounder like Zimmer wants him to be and he keeps trying to play him like he’s Emmitt Smith when he’s not that. He doesn’t break contact. When the other team knows we’re going to run, Cook doesn’t get yards. He gets yards with a balanced attack, when the passing game is clicking, Cook cooks, but not when the passing game is dependent on Cook and the box is loaded and everyone knows he’s coming. I realize having to depend on Cousins isn’t exactly a great solution, but I don’t think the player (or the o-line) fits the scheme.

    Spielman’s not much better. He does ok in the draft and has drafted some good players but he just can’t evaluate a QB to save his life. I wouldn’t mind keeping Spielman if they could hire someone that would be in charge of acquiring QB’s, either in the draft or FA.

    I guess I’m over this regime. But I still remember the Tice, Childress and Frazier years that preceded them so it’s not like I’m looking forward to whatever’s coming next.

  12. Man, I like Zimmer a lot. In the world of NFL coaching egos he really doest seem like a genuinely good guy. He sometimes gets emotional after games/seasons and seems like he really does care about his players. But it looks like they have definitely hit their peak with him. I feel like he’s unfairly tied to Cousins to some degree (word is that he didn’t want him but the GM forced it), but they should still be better than this even with the dingus that is Cousins. Maybe it’s time to start over, but get rid of the GM, too.

  13. This situation is getting similar to the mid-90’s Vikings. They had good but not great teams every year but couldn’t win a playoff game. They were “successful” but the fanbase got more and more apathetic as people started realizing nothing was going to change. Denny Green was on the hot seat. Then Randy Moss came along and the bombs-away Vikings became the most exciting team in the league. A whole new generation of fans came along and stuck with the team through all the ups and downs that followed. It’s time for a new injection of excitement, but it will take more than drafting one player. They already have exciting players. They need coaches who will use them to the best of their abilities. Zimmer’s fear of losing permeates through the whole organization and causes close wins or losses to far inferior teams (in terms of talent). Last night the obvious game plan was to pass downfield and take advantage of the Cowboys’ terrible corners with our excellent receivers. They did it in the first drive and then never again. Once they get a lead, they try to run the clock out. I love Zimmer but he needs to go. His time has past.

  14. I remember living in South Florida in the 80’s/early 90’s and watching the Dolphins play exactly like today’s s Vikes. Year after year high hopes, a playoff birth then a near miss the next. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    The real problem with this approach comes every year at draft time, when you’re stuck with a number 20 to 28 pick in the first round and are never drafting high enough to get that game-changer you truly need to get you over the hump.

    Florio is right. If the Vikings truly want a Super Bowl victory they must re-tool, trade Cousins and that cap-killing contract and use the picks to move-up and draft a franchise QB on a rookie contract. The Bears are on the right path — albeit with the wrong coach. If they don’t move now, they’ll be stuck for years battling the Lions for last place in the division.

  15. Spoken like a life-long Vikings fan. Sorry Mike. I’m right there with you (as I’m a Bears fan and this seems all too familiar).

  16. The Axis of Mediocrity (Spielman, Zimmer and Cousins) needs to go after this season. Spielman has been GM for 10 years, Zimmer HC for 8 years and Cousins starting QB for 4 years. They have zero Super Bowls, four playoff appearances (3 under Zimmer), only two playoff wins. They need to fire Spielman, hire a new young GM who will in turn fire Zimmer and trade Cousins for whatever we can get after this season. This bunch of Vikings have gone as far as they can and they need to start over.

  17. mikefloreo says:
    November 1, 2021 at 11:04 am
    Klint Kubiak has ZERO business being an OC at this point in his career. ____________

    How could we know? Zimmer has never allowed any OC to have control of the offense. He ran off Norv Turner, who is widely acknowledged as one the best offensive coaches in history. It is totally unfair to criticize Kubiak in this type of environment.

  18. Teams go through ups and downs but any Vikings fan that thinks this level of ‘middle of the road’ for this long a period of time is remotely acceptable is exactly the kind of fan the Viking organization loves the most.

  19. Let Zimmer go and have some fun – get 92 year old Bud Grant to finish out the year while you look for another coach. If you’ve heard him interviewed, he sounds like he’s as sharp as he was during the Viking glory years. It’d be the greatest story in sports. And you never know, a local sports writer once tagged him as “Horseshoe Harry” because he’d win games that seemed unwinnable. Maybe Bud’s still got some luck in those horseshoes and when the season is over he can sell them in his legendary garage sales he still holds every year.

  20. Lotta people criticizing Kirk Cousins on this thread…Know who wishes they had Cousins on their team right now? Washington

  21. The Vikings are the benchmark of mediocrity; never too good, never too bad. They are always in the creamy middle. They are the Mendoza line of the NFL to which all other NFL teams should be evaluated.

  22. jvorallballs says:
    November 1, 2021 at 10:58 am
    Written by a Vikings fan.

    The Jags and Texans would be quite happy to be in the Vikings position at this point. Be careful what you wish for.

    And that’s the perfect illustration of the point of the article. As long as Vikings fans can point at lesser franchises like and say “hey at least we aren’t them”, the Vikings know they can keep trotting out mediocrity and you’ll keep eating it up.

  23. jvorallballs says:
    November 1, 2021 at 10:58 am

    Written by a Vikings fan.

    The Jags and Texans would be quite happy to be in the Vikings position at this point. Be careful what you wish for.


    Really!? So the have-littles should just be happy that they are not the have-nots?

    Sounds like Scrooge talking to Bob Cratchitt.

  24. The Viking are one of a few teams that need to blow it up and start over. Every one of their games, it seems like they’re just trying not to lose. This article pretty much sums it all up.

  25. The Zimmer era started to go downhill because the entire organization – starved to be viewed as legitimate Super Bowl contenders – went “all-in” by panicking themselves into the Sam Bradford after Bridgewater got hurt in 2016.

    Play Hill in 2016 and keep the first round draft pick and the Vikes would have had their shot at either Mahomes or Watson. But chose Bradford/Cousins instead. Chose poorly.

  26. Even when the Vikings were good enough to get to the SB, they choked 4 times. The runner up trophy for the SB should be the Grant trophy.

  27. nytro says:
    November 1, 2021 at 11:32 am
    I remember living in South Florida in the 80’s/early 90’s and watching the Dolphins play exactly like today’s s Vikes. Year after year high hopes, a playoff birth then a near miss the next. Wash, rinse, repeat.
    My friend, those were the “Good Old Days” for the Dolphins. You should see them now!

  28. Funny. While I was watching them almost completely blow the game against Carolina, just as they flashed the Vikes had a 99% chance of winning, I was thinking this.

    Ownership has to decide they want to win and make the moves to support the effort. As is, this team is undistinguished and uninspiring and rocketing toward unwatchable.

  29. Agree with Florio completely. Quit bashing Kirk as he’s frustrated with the play calling and we got him next year for better or worse – contract is guaranteed due to Spielman’s stupidity. Kirk has had a great year given the coaching. I think Zimmer is at an age where this has all taken its toll and he’s well over his head. His hands were shaking all game holding a play card. The Cornerback Whisperer has the weakest set of corners in years after bringing in 3 vets.
    Respectfully, let him go now and give Dre Patterson a shot for the remainder of the year. It may be worse but it doesn’t matter. Look at Todd Bowles for next year and bring in an O coordinator that isn’t there because of daddy. Trade out the low price 1 year vets with our 7th round picks and try to get 5th round ammo. Barr, Richardson, Pierce, Peterson, Alexander and the plethora of tight ends except Conklin – gone. We draft 15 rookies a year, throw them on the field and see if Spielman should stay. Get one coach in the booth for clock management. Don’t wait another year for the teardown, it can be right now.

  30. The first question is do the Wilf’s even care about winning or is this an investment to collect their about $200 million a year and put almost all that money in their pockets and not spend all that much on coaches, GM, and guaranteed contract type players, maybe they are perfectly content with being an average team that every once in awhile they get into playoffs and when it gets stale bring in a free agent to re-spark interest to keep the fans involved. If this is an investment then everything is going as planned. As long as games are sold out there really is no incentive for the Wilf’s to put more of there money into to improve the team….guessing this is true for a lot of owners.

  31. Does any of this really matter? Vikings have been doing this to their fanbase since 1968. Funny the playoff failures in the 1970s and 1980s are legion. The Vikings have lost FIVE NFC Championship games since their last trip to the Super Bowl. FIVE!!!! As a lifelong Vikings fan who is old enough to remember watching Super Bowl VIII it just gets old. If I am not mistaken the Vikings are the only team on the list of top ten Teams in terms of overall won-loss records and playoff appearances who have NOT won a Super Bowl. Its never going to change. Ever.

  32. iloveyouneighbor says:
    November 1, 2021 at 12:37 pm
    Does Kirk Cousins have a highlight reel?


    He does. It’s a montage of his various contract and extension signings.

  33. Zimmer needs to go by today if possible and so does Kubiak. The fans deserve more than this organization is doing!

  34. The problem is an owner that runs the team like a business. As long as he’s making money there is no sense of urgency. They need an owner who’s passionate about winning a super bowl and willing to take chances to get there.

  35. Cowboys fans owned that stadium last night because the worst fans in the league unloaded their tickets. Yeah, the team needs a new coach, but it desperately needs a higher class of fans.

  36. Everyone saying “trade Cousins,” do you really think anyone is going to take that albatross contract off of Spielman’s hands? If so, who? And why? And do you think that fan base won’t burn their entire city to the ground for it?

    I mean that seriously. I honestly can’t see anybody taking that on.

  37. Why pay Cousins $35 million only to be too afraid to throw the ball further than five yards? How many times do we have to see 3rd and 8 and Kirk passes the ball only 2-3 yards? Drives me crazy. Take a shot down field.

  38. Trade Cousins to Saints. Sign Newton. Fire Zimmer, hire Bienemy

    All good suggestions minus Newton. Let’s see what Mond can do.

  39. They’ve been just good enough since the heydays Moss and Culpepper back in 98…how could the fans and management been satisfied with this mediocrity for so long without taking a torch to it all?

  40. All of the Packer fans gloating here are in for a rude awakening when the Jordan Love Era begins at the end of this season.

  41. Every word of this article — and a fair number of the comments — also apply to the Chicago Bears. Although this year I would be hard pressed to call the product on the field even “just good enough.”

  42. I believe this team has enough talent to win. They just don’t have the coaching. I’ve been a Zimmer defender all along, until last night. No longer. He has to go, and so does the entire coaching staff. These players, with the right leadership, can win.

  43. I agree with Florio. I am about the same age and grew up with the the 70s Vikings. Always an average team sometimes a contender not many 2-12 or 3-13 seasons. Never seem to win it all. And always selling hope for next season and that we are so close. Its been 45 years since they played in the super bowl, I was 12. At some point you just kind up give up on the idea of it ever happening and it don’t really matter to you that much no more. and that’s the worst thing that can happen to a sports team. I think the Vikings are in danger of that if they don’t do something real significant to turn it around

  44. sosayweall says:
    November 1, 2021 at 2:11 pm
    They’ve been just good enough since the heydays Moss and Culpepper back in 98…how could the fans and management been satisfied with this mediocrity for so long without taking a torch to it all?


    Well Culpepper wasn’t drafted until 99′ and didn’t play until 2000 you’re almost right, Randell Cunningham was the QB in 98 when they CHOCKED against Atlanta in the Championship game. But hey you’re right how long will this organization torcher there sorry fan base….

  45. I was hoping they would hire McCarthy…………

    But I guess that would have been the sprinkles on top of the whipped cream and cherry on the sundae.

    I’ll settle for the current state of affairs.

  46. It’s hard to say what’s more frustrating to a fan base. Having a team tease like the Vikings or following the Lions who don’t tease at all. It will change here in Packers country at some point, but it’s sure been fun for the last 30 years.

  47. feelfeelfeelfeelmyheat says:
    November 1, 2021 at 12:59 pm
    Trade Cousins to Saints. Sign Newton. Fire Zimmer, hire Bienemy

    From a Saints fan. Thanks, but no thanks on that Cousins trade. We good. We’ll roll with what we got.

  48. Mike, what makes you think the ownership is smart enough to effect change? My belief is, a significant part of the team’s current mediocrity stems from the ownership. It’s clueless and dumb about football (smart about New Jersey real estate, to which I’d say, BFD).

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