Current expectations for the Minnesota Vikings are that they will be a very good team for the next several seasons. There’s good reason to think this. Spielman and the front office have signed their new franchise quarterback in Kirk Cousins, who can take the offense to the next level. They have a star young running back in Dalvin Cook, who is filled with potential after his ACL tear last October. They have extended the contracts of several key players. They have a head coach who has dedicated his life to football and cares about his team’s success. Everything sounds perfect. Right? Well let’s take a closer look at how long the Minnesota Vikings current Super Bowl window will really be open.
First off, we need to establish something. Super Bowl windows can open and close in the blink of an eye.
The Arizona Cardinals are a prime example of this. In 2015, the Arizona Cardinals were a great team. They finished 13-3, and had a thrilling playoff win over the Packers in the divisional round before being decimated the following week in the NFC Title Game. Sounds a little bit like the 2017 Vikings, right?
However, heads were held high in Arizona after this season. They had a brilliant coach with
Bruce Arians. They had a not perfect, but good enough to get the job done quarterback with Carson Palmer. Fans were excited to see their two star receivers with Fitzgerald and Floyd, and they had a rookie running back who was primed to soon be one of the best in the NFL with David Johnson. Also, let’s not forget their defense with guys like Patrick Peterson, Calais Campbell, and Tyrann Mathieu.
The Cardinals are gonna be Super Bowl favorites for years!
Nope. The wheels quickly fell off the bus for the Cardinals. They posted a 15-16-1 record over the next two seasons. Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer (who dealt with injury in his final seasons) both retired. Campbell is now a Jaguar, Mathieu is a Texan, and Floyd is a Saint. The very few stars remaining in Arizona from that 2015 season include an aging Larry Fitzgerald and an injury prone David Johnson.
In the blink of an eye, the window was closed.
This is the goal for the current Minnesota Vikings organization. Don’t become the next
Cardinals. Keep the window open for as long as possible.
There’s one glaring difference between the two teams. Looking back, it’s clear that the Cardinals peaked in their blowout loss to Carolina in the NFCCG. I believe that the Vikings weren’t close to peaking in their blowout loss to Philadelphia in the NFC Championship.
Who is to thank for this? Vikings general manager, Rick Spielman.
Rick Spielman has done something brilliant to ensure that the window stays open for this team. He had many players with contracts ending after the 2018 season. He could’ve danced with the devil and waited another year before extending their future with the team. Instead, he got to work in extending the young, key players that show the most promise to carry a franchise over the next several seasons. Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter, Stefon Diggs, (and potentially Anthony Barr in the near future) have all signed multi-year contract extensions with the team. All of those players will play a pivotal role in taking this team to the top.
Spielman also realized that an upgrade at quarterback was needed after Case Keenum’s poor playoff performance. So he went and out-payed many other teams for Kirk Cousins who is expected to take the offense to the next level along with guys like Cook, Diggs, Thielen, and Rudolph. Spielman has done everything necessary to extend the window for his team. That is what an excellent general manager should do. It’s something that the Arizona Cardinals failed to do.
Another thing that can determine how long a window lasts, is the level of competition.
Let’s take a look at the New England Patriots. Since Tom Brady moved in, the window has
always been open for the Patriots. Why is this? It’s because besides Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, and Peyton Manning and the Colts, the AFC has been a generally weak conference. It’s allowed the Patriots to dominate the conference. It’s left their window open for Brady and Belichick to attend eight Super Bowls, and win five of them.
The NFC is currently a conference filled with teams that have enough talent to go all the way. This is a concern for the Vikings. Besides Minnesota, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Atlanta, Green Bay, Los Angeles, Carolina, and Dallas are all teams who I believe have enough talent to win the NFC. Many of the teams listed above are filled with young talent, meaning they will be good for years to come. This doesn’t help the growth of the Vikings window.
Overall, it’s relatively safe to say that the window for the Vikings to win it all will be open for at least the next three years thanks to the front office taking care of their part.
But if there’s anything to keep in mind, it’s that it can only take one blink of the eye for a window to close. So my advice is to enjoy the window while it’s open, but hope that the Vikings can finally win the big one sooner rather than later.