The Minnesota Vikings went from Super Bowl contenders to a team I’m not sure can make the playoffs. And Sam Bradford went from the missing piece of the puzzle to a guy who’ll be lucky to get out of the season alive. Because a team that gave up a first-rounder to bring in Bradford thought they were just a quarterback away. It turns out they’re an entire offensive line away.
What a train wreck. Two of the least-impressive games you’ll ever seen from an alleged contender — and Mike Zimmer has got to be looking for answers. Because if this is the guy who was out there slaughtering innocent stuffed animals to keep his team focused through bye week, what’s he going to do now?
His O-line is already missing starters Matt Khalil and Andre Smith. Phil Loadholt retired before training camp. High-priced free agent guard Alex Boone left last night’s game with a concussion. And new starters TJ Clemmings and Jake Long nearly got Bradford killed last night. I’m pretty sure what Clemmings did out there is illegal in 9 states.
So Zimmer is bent. And his postgame reaction was about what you’d expect from him — the type of disgust and barely veiled contempt just beneath the surface as he answered questions about a team that looks like its in free fall.
Bradford’s got to be wondering what he did to piss the football gods off. Because he’s getting bounced off the turf every time he drops back to throw. He nearly got killed against Philadephia’s pass rush and the Bears had him running for his life all night as well.
So after mortgaging the future and trading a first-rounder to land Bradford, to the Vikings double-down at the trade deadline? Do they try to pry Joe Thomas from Cleveland — or Joe Staley from San Francisco? Hell – just about ANY living, breathing tackle would be better than what the Vikings are getting from Clemmings, who is running away with the title of league’s worst offensive lineman — his PFF grade is 40% worse than the league’s second-worst offensive tackle.
And now Zimmer’s got to wonder what’s wrong with his defense as well — with Jay Cutler looking rejuvenated and the Bears running the ball on the Vikings as rookie Jordan Howard went for 153 yards on the ground, and the Bears O-line ran out the clock to close out the game after Minnesota pulled within 10 points with over 5-and a half minutes left.
Injuries have killed this Vikings roster. Adrian Peterson, Jerrick McKinnon. The offensive line. Teddy Bridgewater’s brutal knee injury. Safety Andrew Sendejo. So Mike Zimmer needs to figure out how to get this thing back on the rails. Because the Vikings are still technically on top of the NFC North. But man – do they look terrible right now. And no way they beat anyone late in the year with that offensive line.