Tom Riska

By Tom Riska, guest columnist


Having been a Viking fan from the first day Minnesotans were aware we were getting an NFL team of our own, I've aged in more ways than one. I think the best way to sum it up is a joke a priest (an avid Viking fan) shared with the congregation one Sunday: "When I die, I'd like to have six of the Minnesota Viking players be my pallbearers ... so they can let me down one more time."

After our season-ending loss, I did some deep soul-searching with a "no loyalty" attitude, as I thought about our roster. It's abundantly clear it's going to be "lonely at the top time" for our new, young GM and new, young coach if we are to seriously build on what we have, a damn good offense.

I can think of at least four players we need to take a serious look at (hopefully) trading.  It breaks my heart to start with Harry “The Hitman" Smith. His play, until the second half of last year and most of this year, has always been remarkable. Unfortunately, during the last year and a half, he reminded me of how Barr played before we traded him. 

The next person is Eric Kendricks. I seriously thought the Vikes had traded him several games ago because I was not hearing his name. There was a good reason: He's slowed down and time doesn't heal all wounds (like aging.) 

Next on the list, and this one really kills me, is Adam Thielen. While I believe he's still got gas in the tank and can perform very well, it became obvious to me that other teams weren't as concerned about him and that K.J. Osborn is younger, faster and also very good. Thielen would be great as a receiver coach or could be traded to fill other needs.

Dalvin Cook — great trade bait and the team didn't miss a step when Alexander Mattison stepped in. Even Dalvin said something to the effect that some teams couldn't distinguish which of them was running the ball. Keep in mind, he (Dalvin) had four fumbles this year (tied for second in the league) and he has shown to be injury prone.

Thank goodness the defensive coordinator position is open; too bad we couldn't have "The Rock" (Floyd Peters) back.

Lastly, and not unexpectedly, our kicker. Need I say more?

In closing, I believe at least four of these changes will come to fruition. Skol.