The Perils of Being a Vikings Writer (And Fan)

Week 16 NFL Picks
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) celebrate the win against the Indianapolis Colts after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. With the win, the Minnesota Vikings clinched the NFC North. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Perils of Being a Vikings Writer (And Fan)

Writing about – and cheering for – the Vikings is not for the faint of heart.

Need proof? Look no further than their most recent game. They entered the half down 33 points to Jeff Saturday’s Colts. Yes, the same Colts fresh off a 54-19 shellacking from the Cowboys. They were thoroughly dominating the Vikings, squashing any hope of a victorious Saturday and NFC North clinch.

Like any reasonable writer, I decided to get a jump on my article. My title: Vikings Season at a Crossroads Following Horrendous Loss to Colts. The piece was near completion with just a few minutes taken out of the second half. The photos? Check. Twitter lowlight videos? Check. Doom and gloom thinking? Double check.

Take a look at some of the lines that were going to make the final cut:

  • “There was the Dalvin Cook fumble, the decision to send C.J. Ham on an end around in short yardage, or the Kirk Cousins indecision that led to several sacks. We could also discuss the rookie RG once again stepping on Cousins’ foot, ending the play before it even begins.”
  • “For the first time as a HC, O’Connell has a losing streak. It’s only 2 games, but everyone connected with the Vikings – from the owners down to the fans – will be looking to ensure it doesn’t stretch into 3 games (or longer).”
  • “The cold reality is that Minnesota’s effort in recent games hasn’t been anywhere close to good enough. Continuing on their current trajectory means Minnesota would still get into the postseason but swiftly lose once there.”

I could go on, but you get the point. Things were looking bleak; the writing responded with bleakness.

The Perils of Being a Vikings Writer (And Fan)

As we all know by now, what actually occurred was marvellous. If memory serves, the game broadcast said “Magic in Minneapolis.” Even as it was unfolding, it was hard to believe it was unfolding. Could this team really find a way to claw back into it? Even better, could they actually win the game?

In the end, the answer was a yes.

Kirk Cousins, God bless him, battled like crazy out there. He finished his day 34/54 for 460 yards, 4 TDs, and 2 INTs. The QB1 was, in a word, remarkable. At times, indecisive. And, indeed, inaccurate at various points. Nevertheless, he stepped up in a major way.

He now has 7 game winning drives for the season.

K.J. Osborn should get the game ball. When the team was defeated, Osborn kept competing. He even had a massive catch overturned after a challenge. He easily could have stopped putting in the effort, content to let the game inch toward 0:00 as the team started to look toward their game on Christmas Eve. Instead, he was the main catalyst for victory.

He finished the day with 10 receptions, 157 yards, and a TD.

The Perils of Being a Vikings Writer (And Fan)

Can we really end things without discussing the Ed Donatell defense? I think not.

Look, the 36 points allowed isn’t great. After all, the Colts were coming into the game with the 31st offense in the NFL, averaging a measly 16.1 points per game. Heading into the half down by 33 points was stunning.

Nevertheless, they deserve some credit. At least two of those touchdowns – the punt block and pick 6 – weren’t their fault. They consistently forced Indy into field goals. They needed to be borderline perfect at the end of the game and they basically were. Sure, there were some first downs, but they largely shut down Matt Ryan’s offense.

Indy’s veteran QB finished his day 19/33 for 182 yards and a TD. As a team, the Colts were held to 341 yards, mercifully ending the streak of 400+ yard games.

By no means should we believe that the Vikings have an elite defense. We’ve seen plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise. Give them credit, though, for continuing to battle. Not only did they get put in a brutal spot multiple times, but the referees also stole away two defensive touchdowns.

The Minnesota Vikings are an 11-3 football team. The Minnesota Vikings are NFC North champions.

There are still three games left to be played. Many will agree, though, that we’re officially looking forward to the playoffs. Skol.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference helped with this piece.

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