by Mike Marek
Sunday marked my first ever visit to the Super Bowl. I thought that my first trip to the big game would also include our friends in purple. Ever since I was a kid I dreamed of waking up on Super Bowl Sunday knowing that the Vikings would be partaking in the game. The 52nd edition was no different than the last 30 plus games before. The Vikings were not involved, and making the whole thing worse, the game was set to be played in Minnesota, and the Vikings came so darn close to making it.
The game itself turned out to be a tremendous experience. The scores were close, the halftime show was entertaining, and Minneapolis put on a great event. Minnesota should be proud of the stadium that we built, and the hospitality we showed to the visiting masses — including finding a way to be nice to the ostentatious and rude Eagles contingent.
The Philadelphia fans managed to push, curse, and be rude to anyone and everyone they contacted. I for one was not sad to see them leave the state on Monday. They will not be missed, and need to go back to their shanties from whence they came. It irks me that this is the franchise that sent the Vikings packing, but revenge will be all that much sweeter when we take care of them in next year’s edition of the playoffs. Before I jump too far ahead, the offseason is looming for the Vikings, and it’s time to make some changes.
Next year will bring a different look to the Vikings with a possible change coming at the quarterback position. Many people are clamoring for the Vikings to bring in an outsider to guide the ship. Names like Kirk Cousins, Nick Foles, and even Drew Brees are being thrown around as potential suitors for the quarterback position. It seems to me that they should try to recreate some of the magic that was found in riding Case Keenum for as long as they did. The guy deserves a shot to belong. To be wanted. To succeed. What better place than here in Minnesota?
The other options that I threw out may seem like the sexier picks for the position, but I think Case has more than the others. Case plays with a chip on his shoulder, and fights for his position day in and day out. To be honest, I trust the guy can get it done, and I think we need to stay the course. I also believe that we need to stay committed to our brand of defensive football.
The Vikings’ defense will return in 2018 mostly intact. I expect Brian Robison to retire, and Terrance Newman to either transition to safety or find himself out of the job after training camp. Other than those two veteran departures the league’s best defense should be back, and looking for revenge. They will likely bolster their secondary and linebacking core in the draft, but it should be more of the same dominance from this unit going into next year.
The offense is a bit of a different story with the likely departures of at least one offensive lineman, running back Jerick McKinnon, and a cutting of the failed experiment in wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. The Vikings will likely take a guard with their first-round pick and follow it up with a project wide receiver in the later rounds. They should be satisfied with their running back depth with the return of phenom Dalvin Cook in the backfield. All in all, things look pretty good for the Vikings going into next year; remember they have close to $40 million to spend in free agency.
It may be cold outside right now in Minnesota, but the future looks bright. This team is as loaded and balanced as I can ever remember them being. They go into the offseason with a limited number of holes to fill, and a plethora of options to fill them. Early odds have the Vikings among the favorites to go to the Super Bowl next year. The optimism around this team should keep Vikings fans plenty warm throughout the winter’s sub-zero temps dreaming of spending next year’s first week of February in balmy Atlanta, Georgia, where hopefully I will be attending my second-ever Super Bowl, this time with my friends in purple in attendance.