by Moira Marek
Growing up football ruled the Marek household. We would start our Sunday at Mass at Saint Mary’s Church. As soon as the mass ended my dad would rush out of church, pile the children into the car, and drive home in hopes of catching noon kickoff. Every television was turned to football (even the TV in MY room so my dad could tape the game for Mr. John Edstrom), the computer logged into my dad’s Fantasy Football team. You couldn’t escape — and I despised the Minnesota Vikings because of it.
Over time hate turned into a mild interest. My dad — to his credit — tried to make the game interactive for me. He did his best to explain the rules, the offensive game scheme, and what the Vikings’ strategy was for the game. He created a game called “run or pass” where I had to guess what the play calling would be. Over time I learned what “play action” and “screen pass” meant.
Through my early teens I watched the highlights of taking home the NFC North Championship and even a playoff run that we were all confident would bring the Lombardi Trophy to Minneapolis. Every time I started to get invested in the team they inevitably lost in some heartbreaking fashion. I decided that this turmoil was something I did not need in my life. As I got older, and gained independence, it was easier to ignore the Minnesota Vikings.
Then I went to college and started dating a boy who was just as Vikings obsessed as my Dad. It became clear that if I wanted to spend Sundays with him, I was going to have to watch football. This time they hooked me. It was the beginning of the Teddy Bridgewater saga where the Vikings looked to have all the promise in the world. They were a young, likeable team that looked promising for years ahead. As we all know, this story ends with heartbreak.
When my ex-boyfriend and I broke up, I faced a difficult question: Should I also break up with the Minnesota Vikings? They had provided enough pain and misery in my life already. Was it time to walk away? During this introspective period I realized that this love of the Vikings had been catalyzed by my relationship, but not defined by it. I am now, for better or worse, a lifetime Minnesota Viking fan.
This season has turned out to be a huge disappointment. With this week’s trade of Yannick Ngakgoue, Rick Spielman is all but waving the white flag for the 2020 season. It’s time to look toward a rebuild and what that means for the future of the franchise.
It means it’s time to break up with Kirk Cousins. Last year’s “Mr.October” has shown us that he is not part of our future. Unfortunately, we’re tied to a massive contract — including the short-sighted extension that Cousins received in March that makes the split messy. There’s a provision in his contract that if he’s still on the roster in March 2021 — he gets his 2022 salary guaranteed. We’re already on the hook for a lot for Cousins — let’s eat the cap space that we have to and move on.
Let’s make the rest of the season interesting. Treat it like pre-season, giving our new draftees NFL experience by upping their snap count. We will know going into each game that we won’t be expected to win, but at the end, it will benefit the future of this organization.
My prediction is that Zimmer and Spielman will be around for next season. Zimmer will use the scapegoat of COVID-19, injuries, and a young defense to secure his spot for next year. However, if we don’t see an improvement next year — neither one should expect to keep their job.
Mostly, we need to look for our “new man on the Minnesota Vikings” through the quarterback prospects of the 2021 class. My prediction is that we will see the Vikings’ pick who will be the future of this organization in the first round or early in the second round.
The rest of the season might be grim, but I’m still holding the purple light on for what the future of this organization looks like.