by Mike Marek
Pestilence has besieged us. COVID-19 has changed the course of history for everyone. If you are looking for someone to blame for 2020, I may have found the root cause of all of our issues ...
Just as the disease was starting to take shape, one extraordinary event took place in New Orleans: Kirk Cousins found a way to win a playoff game. While I would say that the victory over the Saints back in January may have gotten the monkey off Cousins’ back, I am slightly nervous that it may have broken one of the seven seals of the apocalypse. How else can you explain all the disease, chaos, and general strife going on around the world? Can Kirk Cousins really be to blame for COVID-19? I think not, it does make you think though … One thing I do know for a fact is that the pandemic has opened up a lot of free time for all of us.
During the last several months my wife has gotten in the habit of purging things that we no longer use or find useful. I have found this experience to be a completely positive one. By getting rid of the clutter we are better able to focus on the present with a clear mind. Following Rachel’s lead, I decided it is time to bury the “bodies” of Vikings’ seasons past that have been festering in my closet. So, in no particular order, the “bodies” I would like to purge:
The Whizzinator, The Boat Party, The Dome Collapse, Dimitirius Underwood, Sidney Rice’s decision to delay his surgery, Antonio Freeman, Troy Williamson, 41-Donut, Blair Walsh, Peterson’s whooping stick, Favre’s interception, Les Steckel, “Disco” Darrin Nelson, Herschel Walker, Christian Ponder, Donavon McNabb, Spergon Wynn, Josh Freeman, The Whiskey Bottle Game, Drew Pearson, the wrong-way touchdown, the loss of the four Super Bowls, Robert Smith running out of bounds, and Gary “Bleeping” Anderson.
Phew, now that I have that out of my system, we can start with a clean slate as we look into what the 2020 season may bring.
Diggs is now gone, but we were paid a king’s ransom to send him on his way to Buffalo (good luck with the lake effect snow). Part of that ransom included Buffalo’s first-round pick this year which ended up being LSU rookie sensation Justin Jefferson, whom looks to step right into Diggs’ role in what should be potent offensive attack. The Vikings also used the draft and their thousand picks to reshape the defense, which lost six starters from a year ago.
The secondary has almost all new faces at the cornerback position, which in my hopes also means a stronger performance from that group. Rookies Cameron Dantzler and Jeff Gladney look to get a ton of snaps this year. That, along with a larger role of Mike Hughes, will at least make the Vikings’ secondary one of the most athletic groups in the league.
Outside the Diggs trade, the most exciting move of the Vikings’ off-season was the late-breaking trade for dynamic pash rusher, Yannick Ngakoue, with shades of the Vikings’ trade for Jared Allen several years ago. Yannick should be an immediate contributor on defense. When you pair him with Danielle Hunter you have to consider the two of them one of the best outside pass rush units in all of the NFL.
With a remade offense that will continue to heavily feature Dalvin Cook and a defense that is built to pressure the quarterback and turn the ball over, I predict good things for the Vikings in 2020. Current forecast is for an 11-5 year and the NFC North crown.