Anyone who has followed along with Minnesota coverage over the last month has been audience to a dramatic shift in mentality. After the week two loss to Green Bay it's been all about the future.
It's not that I want the team to want to lose (tanking) but with the youthful inexperience at many key spots, absences for multiple reasons at other spots & a general lack of talent at still other spots on the roster, the dots were connected that this is not going to be a good season for the team. Considering that the worst record until now that the team has had since Zimmer was hired was 7-9 in his first year, they have been a model of consistency. Not THE model, but still, being A model is far better than we've been able to say about them before he came in.
Believe it or not, there is still a recipe for them to get into that win/loss range before the 16 games are done, unfortunately. Even if it does go that way there will be fans who will root for the coach & GM to get axed. Because, fan is still short for fanatic & fanaticism does not coexist with logic very well.
In their defense, I can't dispute that the highs haven't been high enough by the team under this regime and there have been some crippling mistakes made by the front office. But I don't think those reasons are enough to justify pink slips being handed out, not with the level of constancy that has been maintained. If we're in the same position one year from now that we are today, it's a different story. I just don't want the team to be too knee-jerk about it.
Because, don't forget, without Zimmer & George Paton we may not have Danielle Hunter. And without Kubiak we may not have Justin Jefferson. And without Spielman we may not have ended up with Harrison Smith.
A few of the highest end examples don't wipe away Ponder, Patterson, the OLine's continued weakness, etc. but the positives can't be swept aside just because you want change after six bad games. Okay, they were terrible, but even within that stretch there was progress. It all seemingly evaporated before the Atlanta game but not letting the process unfold a little more would be stupid. Let's see how Gladney, Dantzler, Wannum, Smith Jr., Bradbury, Cleveland & Lynch (to name a few) continue to progress this season.
And then, who knows, maybe the team will actually hit on an elite quarterback prospect. Theodore Bridgewater is a competent one, and Lord knows we could use that, but just think about it, dream about it, an honest to God elite QB in Minnesota that they brought in straight from college. That hasn't happened since... ever. So it's a long shot, like a LOOOOOONG shot, but the hit rate on quarterbacks has been increasing in recent years so it's not as unlikely as it once was. The first step for that to happen would be the GM getting over his PTSD from Ponder & Bridgewater but he took the baby step in that direction known as Nate Stanley so I'm willing to let some optimism grow in that regard.
It's heavily speculative but if the team does go that route with their top five or top 10 pick & it works out as well as say, Justin Herbert already has in San Diego (I don't care that they moved, it's SD forever) or Kyler Murray has in Arizona then we would be looking at another 6, 8, 10 + years of success at at-least the same level that they have achieved since 2014. And since we're dreaming, think if they got a guy who could get into the Deshaun Watson stratosphere?! Maybe they would finally be able to raise that trophy!
I can accept a trade of one bad season for several more good ones & possibly even great ones!
A lot of dominos will have to fall for any of that to happen but let's look at the big picture before we call for replacements that could push the franchise backward!