The two seasons prior to last year were the definition of forgettable for Vikings fans. In fact, they will likely be most known as the first steps in the (hopefully) long and prosperous career of Justin Jefferson. Those seasons were spent clawing back to .500, only to fall back behind immediately after. There was a formula for the Vikings in those days, and it went as follows. Start the game strong, score a touchdown on the opening drive and play good defense for the first few possessions. Then came the second half, where a combination of three and outs on offense and the inability to come up with a stop on defense led to one heartbreaking loss after another. Last year though, it was different. It was special from the very beginning.
Change was in the air after a second disappointing season in a row. The regime change was demanded, and delivered. An analytical General Manager who can find value in every situation, and a young, offensive minded Head Coach coming off of a Super Bowl win. The optimism was at an all time high, and the season did not disappoint. The reason I will remember this season much more than others is because everything about it really did feel like a movie. Cam Bynum has a point, last season had some instant classics. Starting off by dominating Green Bay could not have been any better. I felt like we couldn’t lose after that, and then Philly happened. Yet that’s the other cool thing about last season, the losses. They were as devastatingly memorable as the wins were at times unbelievable. The feeling I had after the 40-3 Cowboys game was the polar opposite of the Bills game or the Colts game, you couldn’t write a better game than those two. The losses were brutal, but it gave the fans hope that if the Vikings could keep the game in reach towards the end, they could pull out the craziest of wins, and they did.
Apart from all of that, I was very happy that the new staff kept the core of veterans for one last dance. It was great to see them be a part of a winning team again, and even though some of them lost a step, they gave us everything they had. The end of the season was tough, but not totally unexpected. Even with a great offense, the Vikings defense wasn’t sustainable, especially not for playoff football. Regardless, the Vikings fell short of their goal, but I don’t believe it’s fair to call the season a failure or anything like that. It was the first step in an exciting future, and it set the standard for what Vikings fans expect: Ruling the North.