Vikings are still one of NFL’s best
It’s funny how one defeat can drastically change perspective.
Prior to last Sunday’s loss at Philadelphia, the football world was bullish on the Vikings. They were undefeated, Sam Bradford was in the MVP conversation and the defense was being compared to the ’85 Bears and the 2000 Ravens.
And then the offensive line decided not to show up.
Many people over the summer were optimistic about that unit. With a new coach on board (Tony Sparano), a couple of veteran free agent signings (Alex Boone and Andre Smith), and the return of two starters from injury (John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt), the offensive line was not supposed to be a weakness anymore.
Alas, it is a weakness, again, and there’s not a whole lot Rick Spielman can do about it until after the season. Sorry, folks, Joe Thomas isn’t coming to save the day.
But let’s not forget, Minnesota won five straight games and was praised as one of the best teams in spite of that visibly flawed line. Mike Zimmer’s teams figure out a way to win games, and that should continue.
Last week’s putrid performance wasn’t the only downer for Vikings fans, though. ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reported this week that doctors around the league are skeptical of Teddy Bridgewater ever playing football again.
Schefter reported, “As one doctor who’s worked with NFL teams said this week, ‘If he didn’t make it back, it wouldn’t surprise me. This is a bad injury, about the worst knee injury a player can have.’”
Here’s the thing, though, Vikings fans. None of those doctors Schefter spoke to has actually examined Bridgewater’s knee or observed how his rehab is progressing. Teddy did suffer a serious knee injury, and it’s possible he won’t ever see the field again, but it’s a little early to be having that discussion.
Let’s just see how the next 8-10 months go.
The Vikings still have Bradford, who despite last week’s misstep, has played far beyond expectations. And that defense is legit. Minnesota is still 5-1, still atop the NFC North and still one of the NFL’s best.
Mike Hautamaki can be reached at email@example.com.