Monday, January 5, 2009

Time to pause

Despite making the playoffs for the first time since 2004 and capturing its first division title since 2000, the 2008 Minnesota Vikings will probably be remembered as little different from previous recent incarnations of the team: as an above-average squad that ultimately failed to live up to its expectations and perceived talent level.

I'm not going to go into great depth about how or why the Vikings lost on Sunday or their general performance throughout the season. I've always felt that, at the end of a season, you take a little time off to decompress and not jump all over whatever flaws or other negative thoughts about the team. After all, you've got nearly eight months to get into all that.

I will say that, while I did think the Vikings had a chance Sunday, if I had been picking completely objectively, I would have been hard pressed not to pick the Eagles to win the game. And, even though the game remained a two-point affair until Brian Westbrook's 71-yard catch-and-run gave Philly a nine-point edge in the fourth, you could just tell that the Vikings had nothing left in the tank offensively and that just one mistake on defense would spell their immediate doom. In a sense, by the middle of the fourth quarter, it was already looking dire, even though the team just trailed 16-14, and the Westbrook play almost came with a sigh of relief, like seeing someone pass away after a long illness and knowing there was no real chance of recovery.

I'll call my mother later today, and she'll probably give me her usual line this time of year: "I'm glad the Vikings are done because now I can actually enjoy football." I know the feeling. With sky-high expectations coming into the year, the Vikings turned in one of their better "just good enough to give you hope but not good enough to really accomplish anything" performances, culminating in a first-round playoff exit. 2009 might be better...and it might not. For better or worse, it doesn't look like Brad Childress and Tarvaris Jackson are going anywhere, but I'll get into the implications of that later. For now, like my mom, I'll just enjoy football for a little while. At least, after the networks are finished showing the recaps of Sunday's game.

No comments: