The good news is that the Vikings finished the season on a high note, capitalized by Patrick Peterson’s pick-six. But then came Black Monday, and out went head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman, both of whom did good things for the organization but struggled to put it all together in the end.
Only one appearance in a conference championship when the duo was together, and it ended in disaster. Now, the purple crew will have to decide on what to do in the offseason, specifically with the cap situation around quarterback Kirk Cousins.
They have a budding young star in Justin Jefferson, and Dalvin Cook looks like he still has plenty left in the tank. Moreover, tackle Brian O’Neill, and safety Harrison Smith are veteran leaders that still give Minnesota the credibility for a head coach to consider them.
Talk about resilience to the end, this team had no business even being in the playoff hunt, but they beat Atlanta. Unfortunately, because of San Francisco’s upset, they would not be traveling to Tampa Bay for a third meeting, and instead, the season concludes.
But there’s a lot to take from this. For one, outside of Rich Bisaccia, Sean Payton deserves the highest amount of votes for Coach of the Year. New Orleans was down to their third and sometimes fourth-string starter, and they still pulled out great victories, even with solid play from their defense.
Eventually, Jamies Winston will return, but imagine if the Saints could find a better quarterback in the draft, or even if Winston expands his growth and becomes substantially better? There’s a lot to like in the Big Easy despite everything that went down.