Some people are fans of the Minnesota Vikings. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Minnesota Vikings. This 2021 Defector NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: The fucking Vikings.
Your 2020 record: 7-9. As with this coming season, it was over before it even started. Their star defensive end—their only good defensive lineman, really—suffered a “tweak” (his coach’s word for it) in the preseason, that turned into a mysterious neck injury, that turned into a serious neck injury, that turned into him being out for the season. This all unfolded in roughly the time it takes to make a breakfast taco. So that was bad.
It only got worse from there. They lost their star linebacker for the season nearly as quickly. They traded their best wideout to Buffalo before the season and watched as he instantly led his new team to the AFC title game. Both their starting corners, who sucked anyway, got hurt. Their All-Pro free safety got exposed as a Guy. They got their shit ruined by a winless Falcons team that had just fired its head coach. They blew an upset in Tennessee in the final two minutes. They blew another upset in Seattle when they passed on a field goal to go up eight with two minutes left, called a run for the backup running back on fourth-and-1, watched him get stuffed back into Oregon, and then let Russell Wilson waltz down the field without a single timeout in his holster to throw the winning touchdown pass with time to spare. They drafted one of the best rookie wideouts in history but didn’t throw him the ball for the first two games because the head coach still thinks redshirting exists in the pros.
Still gets worse. They traded a second-rounder for Jacksonville’s pass rusher, traded him to a different team six games later, and he was STILL their leader in sacks by the time the season was over. Their kicker missed more field goals than a fucking kindergartener would have. The crawled out of a 1-5 hole only to get kicked back down into the gutter by the clutch duo of Andy Dalton and Mike McCarthy. Their best defensive player tweaked (there’s that word again) a hammy in pregame warmups against Jacksonville and never played another down the rest of the season. They might have been the worst 7-9 team in league history.
I’m still fucking exhausted by the 2020 Vikings. I still ruminate over them WAY more than any fan ever should. But look, it’s a new year. Everything starts again. There’s no way this team—this fucking ASSHOLE of a team—can yet again fuck itself in the pants before they’ve even played a live snap. No way.
Your coach: Prince Fucking Charming.
“Everything is everyone else’s fault,” this source says. “Or the answer is always, ‘You have to work harder.’ Maybe it’s your scheme. Maybe it’s your stubbornness. Maybe it’s your inability to adjust. Maybe it’s your lack of communication. If you keep bringing Zimmer back and Spielman back and Cousins gets extended for $30 million a year, you’re going to lose the locker room because you’re losing some guys.”
That’s the money quote from Ty Dunne’s expose of glorified secondary coach Mike Zimmer, whose shortcomings are so extensive that Dunne had to break his reporting up into two parts just to get everything in. The topline is that Zimmer treats everyone, including his own GM, like shit. He deliberately sabotages his own offense. He hates any passing scheme that post-dates 1987. He never changes his own defensive scheme because he thinks it’s perfect. Oh, and his scheme is way too complicated for its own good, which means Zimmer is consistently relying on ancient players to execute it because more talented young players don’t know what the fuck they’re supposed to be doing.
Zimmer also just ran another offensive coordinator out of town and replaced him with that guy’s son. I used to think Zim was the best Vikings coach of my lifetime. I was wrong. I just watched Kevin Stefanski walk out the door and turn the Browns into a sudden contender. Meanwhile, I’m stuck with yet another raging dickhead from the Bill Parcells’ improv troupe.
And here’s the twist: Zimmer is now the GOOD GUY in this organization. You know why.
Do they have a Guy on the coaching staff? Keenan McCardell! Remember that guy? He’s a wideout coach now, and he’s really good! Excited to watch him bolt to Cincinnati in two years and take that team to the Super Bowl.
Your quarterback: The NFL’s foremost Jesus dork.
I’m so sick of Kirk Cousins I want a new brain injury. And yet, here he remains. When the pandemic hit, Kirk said, “If I die, I die” and then DIDN’T die. Fucking rude.
I could argue that Kirk is a highly cromulent passer if you look at his stats, but would you believe me? FUCK AND NO, you wouldn’t. You know. You know that Kirk’s teammates hate his guts. You know that Kirk is why Stefon Diggs wanted out of here. You know that, when the Vikings desperately need to score, Kirk will respond by engineering the fastest three-and-out you’ve ever seen and actually ADD time to the clock in the process. You know that there will be a healthy stretch in the middle of any season where Kirk is the worst quarterback in football. You know that no serious football fan ever wants to remember Kirk’s playing days.
You know about Kirk refusing to get vaccinated and then offering to play the entire season inside a Lucite box to protect himself from the vaccine’s deadly side effects. You know that, at one of the most important points of his lucrative but underwhelming career, Kirk chose to spend the bulk of this offseason watching tape of HIMSELF instead of other, more skilled passers. You know he can’t play unless everyone else on the offense is a Pro Bowler. And you know that Kirk is now the foremost amateur epidemiologist on a Vikings roster loaded with them. Fucking awful. I hate him. I want him to die. A fucking useless twit walking around going DUHHH WELL IT’S A PERSONAL DECISION FOR ME TO FUCK EVERYONE GOOD DUHHH. Asshole. Shithead. LOSER.
When the Vikings drafted Kellen Mond in the third round this spring, I audibly cheered. Finally, the Vikings had a genuine prospect behind Kirk instead of a Northwestern Alum To Be Named Later. And then Mond himself got COVID because HE didn’t get vaccinated. Will he now? I think you know the answer.
So now I’m sitting here, so hard up for optimism that I gotta pretend Jake Browning can pull a Kurt Warner. This is how it works with the Vikings. They force you to need lies. About the only upside to having Kirk at QB now is fans openly shitting on him and him pretending not to notice.
Kirk is a millstone, a joke, and a self-own all in one. The day he leaves this team will be my Super Bowl.
What’s new that sucks: The Vikings went on a free-agent spending binge in an all-out attempt to lose a Divisional Round game. Here’s your new defense:
- CB Patrick Peterson, who visibly declined at the end of his tenure in Arizona is already being touted as a mentor to all the other Vikings defenders. He’s their CB1.
- Nickel corner Mackensie Alexander, who will never be better than a nickel corner.
- DT Sheldon Richardson, who I have nothing bad to say about right now but gimme time.
- DT Dalvin Tomlinson, who somehow doesn’t play running back.
- Situational pass rusher Stephen Weatherly, who spent a year in Carolina trying to become a starter and failing. He will start here.
- Former Dallas safety Xavier Woods. The Vikings gave up the fourth-most points per game in 2020. Dallas, the fifth-most. Woods will fit right in.
Four of those guys are on one-year deals. If only Vikings fandom came with a similar option.
On offense, the Vikings signed Dede Westbrook to fill their WR3 slot, which for years has been emptier than Troy Williamson’s route tree. The Vikings also drafted Christian Darrisaw and Wyatt Davis to help protect Cousins, which is not something I want for Cousins anymore. Darrisaw has already had one surprise surgery during camp. I have little doubt he’ll need 17 more. Maybe one of them can include a gender reveal for his firstborn. Docs pulling out a blue-dyed piece of internal cartilage, and the OR theater bursting into applause.
Meanwhile, the coach tasked with developing those two, Rick Dennison, refused to get vaccinated and the Vikings kept him on as Zoom Consultant No One Will Use because Zimmer felt bad about firing him outright. Adam Thielen and Harrison Smith also refuse to get vaccinated. In fact, the Vikings have the lowest jab rate in the league by far, leaving Zimmer to be, against all odds, the sole voice of reason in the building. Just like them to blow the final two minutes of a pandemic. I wish I were dead of COVID.
2020 first-rounder Jeff Gladney got released after getting indicted for “family violence by impeding breath.” And if that wording strikes you as euphemistic, you better fucking believe the affidavits back you up there.
Mike Hughes was traded because he can’t play. Dan Bailey was fired. Whichever kicker replaces him will somehow be worse.
What has always sucked: Me. I’m still here, rooting for these pieces of shit. Already, I’ve begun rationalizing everything about this team. No serious football fan thinks the 2021 Vikings are anything more than an IN THE HUNT graphic waiting to happen. But I’ve quietly said to myself, Well, it’s good they’ve gotten all this dysfunction out of the way early instead of in Week 13. At least Zimmer is on the side of the vaccines. At least they signed an entirely new defense for no money and at virtually no risk. At least Mond has antibodies now. At least Klint Kubiak will offer some continuity for an offense that ranked fourth overall a year ago. At least the fans will be back. At least the standard progression for centers means that Garrett Bradbury will be good this year and not be the saloon door he’s been for the past two years. At least Justin Jefferson’s preseason injury wasn’t serious. At least we drafted a good kickoff returner even though kickoff returns no longer exist. At least Dalvin Cook and Eric Kendricks are still here. At least Aaron Rodgers is unhappy.
None of that hope will amount to anything. The Packers will win the division in a fucking walk and I’ll be left with a pocketful of lint. Again. And listen, I’ve spent the bulk of this year on the side of optimism. I’m vaccinated. My wife is vaccinated. Two of my kids are vaccinated and the other is on deck. All my friends are vaccinated. Donald Trump is no longer President. I work at the most successful worker-owned company since motherfucking King Arthur Flour. I stopped biting my nails. The eviction moratorium got extended for millions of Americans! Working-class people aren’t taking shit from their bosses anymore! Hurricane season has been pretty mild! I’m done with fatalism and I despise it in others. It’s a waste of fucking time and it drags everyone around you down.
EXCEPT … Except here. Here is where pessimism is warranted, healthy, and productive. The Vikings have more warning signs that a fresh climate report and a more disreputable history than the Minneapolis Police Department. There’s nothing GOOD here. This organization is standing water. Everything in it is either dead or will kill you. Believing in the Vikings is as foolish as believing the vaccine contains microchips to incept Critical Race Theory into your children’s brains. I am a Vikings fan, which means I am a Vikings truther. It is, out of many viable options, the worst thing about me. Fuck a loon.
Ratto says: Kyle Cousins. Any questions? Also, Mike Zimmer’s face is still just a fist with ears. The rest is all on Magary. BEST NAME TO HEAR ON TV: A tie between Evin Ksiezarczyk and Whop Philyor.
What might not suck: Irv Smith will be a top-five TE this year. Book it.
HEAR IT FROM VIKINGS FANS!
God I hate the Vikings so much.
My entire sporting life has been defined by them disappointing me.
They were playing so badly at one point last season that Sid Hartman died at halftime.
It’s the same shit every year.
– No hope at QB
– Trash offensive line
– Defense that disintegrates by week 10
– If all those things happen to work out in our favor, we’ll have a kicker ready to ruin it all
This year we’ve added the unique twist of having our most important players on offense and defense refuse to be vaccinated, and ownership has chosen to reassign an anti-vax coach instead of doing the right thing and yeeting his ass. The fucking Vikes will be the only team to forfeit a game this season, you watch.
Kirk Cousins is a bum. He’s a fucking bum! A sorry-ass bum who practices that unbearably sanctimonious milquetoast half-assed reactionary bullshit where you don’t quite take an absurd moral and intellectual position – like, say, that you’re not getting the COVID vaccine because you think it’s made of alien piss – but hint that that’s your deeply held belief and that it should be respected. Fuck that shambling oaf, no wonder his teammates despise him. He’s a bum!
I am wet in the box at the prospect of seeing Kirk Cousins again lead the league in first halves with fewer than 10 passing attempts.
Kirk Cousins is better in Pizza Ranch commercials than he is the face of a pass rush.
Kirk on the football field is as exciting as I’m sure his sex life his.
Mike Zimmer is what you’d get if you asked Hanna-Barbera to create a football coach. Kirk Cousins is what would happen if a towel dispenser was brought to life by the power of a child’s wish.
Zimmer forgets how to game plan against dual threat QBs,which is great since the Vikes will be featured in Justin Fields highlights for years to come.
Asking me why I like the Vikings is a violation of my HIPAA rights.
You know how I know it’s training camp time? When we need a new offensive line coach in July.
In 44 years of life and Vikings fandom, the best thing this team ever did for me was not allow me to buy tickets last year.
Mike Zimmer has a career coaching record of one win and five losses against fucking Matt Nagy.
The coach of the 26th-best offensive line caused them a huge pain in the ass by refusing to get the COVID vaccine and his consequence was to get a much easier job sitting at home, calling into some Zooms and pointing out that Dru Samia sucks. Get the shot, kids, before this happens to you too.
Rick Spielman has essentially been the team’s main drafter since the 2012 draft. In that time, they have had one offensive lineman named to the Pro Bowl. In the 10 years before he took over, they had nine; in the 10 years before that, they had 16.
On special teams, he has drafted a kicker, punter, and two returners (neither good enough as receivers to get drafted) in the fifth round, a kicker in the sixth, and a long-snapper in the seventh. Besides the returners, one of whom was colossally shitty last season, none are still with the team.
Stefon Diggs was right about everything and now we’re stuck with this Howdy Doody operation.
I will spend no less than a quarter of the season talking myself into thinking we’re going to bring Bieniemy next season to take over, but we know it won’t happen. We’re going to get to the playoffs, win one game, then lose in an embarrassing fashion and Wario and Waluigi will extend Zimmer and Spielman until our burnt-out husk of a planet crumbles into nothingness. Our bird-killing stadium will kill someone’s Pawpaw because we’re going to be full capacity and this virus will never actually end.
Cousins is be the personification of a communion wafer drenched in ranch. Just put a purple bullet in my brain.
I can’t believe I feel bad for Zimmer.
I’ll see you in the playoffs in the stands at FedEx Field for Wild Card Weekend. The Vikings will be road favorites (again). They will get crushed (again). I’ll drink away my sorrows in a far-off part of the USA (again).
Deep down you know that, at BEST, the Vikings will lose the NFC Championship game.
Sometimes by Week 2 I ask myself, “Do I even LIKE football?”
We will never have a Super Bowl win, and breaking Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone will fill that void until I finally get the guts to lay down in front of a train.
Because the Pandemic has forced me to do meetings out of my office, everyone can see some of the Vikings memorabilia in my Zoom window when I do calls. People always call me out and make fun of the fact Im a Vikings fan. I always play along, because I hate myself too much to move the stuff out of view. Then I realize my meetings are with people in areas like Cleveland and Detroit, and I get really depressed with my penance for being a fan of a team with years of public futility.
Thanks to an unfortunate circumstance of parentage, I’m a lifelong WI resident and also a lifelong Vikings fan. I can’t even properly embrace the schadenfreude at the possibility of the Jordan Love years without someone bringing up that I have cheered passionately for Tavaris Jackson (who I did not know was dead until this very moment, RIP TJaxx) and Christian Ponder.
My parents divorced when I was two years old, and the custody arrangement involved me and my brothers visiting my dad on alternating weekends. I was 10 years old during the 1998 Vikings season, and my dad was super excited to share his love of the team with us kids. They went 15-1! Greatest offense of all time! Randy Moss Rookie of the Year! Then January 17th, 1999 happened. I can remember the exact date because it was also my dad’s birthday. He made arrangements with my mom for a late dropoff so that we could stay and watch the game. Gary Anderson missing that field goal was the first time I heard my dad say “fuck!” and he probably did not say more than five words for the rest of the day.
Fuck Chris Chandler, fuck 41-0, fuck Onterrio Smith, fuck Greg Williams, fuck Erasmus James, and fuck the current group of anti-vax shitheads who currently comprise this team.
The Vikings are the epitome of “good enough.” The ownership and team claim to want to win a Super Bowl but really they only care about being good enough to barely make the playoffs with a once every 10 years loss in the NFC championship game.
This 60-year-old philosophy has kept us fans believing that each year we have a chance, which has allowed them to build a billion dollar, taxpayer-funded stadium and turn around and jack up the ticket prices so high that the only ones who can afford them are one of Minnesota’s Fortune 500 companies that everyone loves to name drop (did you know Target is in headquartered in Minnesota!?!?).
I grew up in Washington state, but my dad is from Minnesota. As a seven-year-old, I watched Herschel Walker return the opening kickoff for a touchdown against the Eagles and thought it was the most amazing thing ever and instantly latched on as a Vikings fan. I could have been a Seahawks fan and at least enjoyed one championship. Instead, I chose to cheer for the Vikings, Seattle Mariners and the Seattle Supersonics. One team inevitable lets you down in the most horrifying ways imaginable, and the other team hasn’t sniffed the playoffs in 20 years. I wish they were both like the Supersonics and didn’t exist anymore.
We got Randall Cunningham too late in his career. Same with Warren Moon and Brett Favre. We spit out Jeff Gannon before he was an MVP and Brad Johnson before he was a Super Bowl champion. Our most promising QBs in the last forty years have been Wade Wilson, Sex Boat guy Daunte Culpepper, and the two-kneed portion of the career of Teddy Two Gloves. We mortgaged our future on a bland Jay Cutler imitator.
We are within a year or two of having to figure out how to celebrate a man who didn’t know you couldn’t hit your child with a tree. Our most celebrated quarterback in almost 50 years ruined Jen Stoerger’s career by showing her his penis. We killed Korey Stringer at practice. And we have not yet fired an antivaxxer coach who chose to quit his job by not getting a jab.
We have had two of the numerically best kickers in history and one of them got the yips and the other missed a field goal in our only realistic chance to make the Super Bowl. We let the Eagles beat the shit out of us after they trash-talked our 100-year-old super fan. We are going to ruin Kellen Mond’s career because our offensive line couldn’t stop Millie, let alone any pass rusher in our division.
I will still watch this team during every single one of its nationally-televised games and I will be an angrier person because of it.
We’re sorry, Randy Moss, you deserved better.
Earlier this summer I went to a Cubs/Cardinals game in St. Louis. The guy scanning my parking pass sees my “Duluth, Minnesota” T-shirt and asks if I’m a Vikings fan. I say yes, to which he goes “oh, I’m a Packers fan”. After a quick bit of banter, he launches into a rant about how he used to like the Vikings until the Alvin Kamara game cost him his fantasy league. I can’t even go two states away without dealing with shit about how much this team fucks everything up.
Last year I wrote in predicting that Justin Jefferson was going to be a bust. I’m glad I was wrong, but that just means he’s destined to tear an ACL in week one now.
We always know the Vikings are going to blow it at the worst time, because they know it’s inevitable, too.
January 2001 was so long ago that, the weekend of this game, my boss sent me to Orlando to work at the Lotusphere conference. It was so long ago I ended up watching Vikings-Giants at the ESPN Zone in DisneyWorld.
The thing I will never, ever forget is that when halftime finally, blessedly came (with the Giants ahead 27-0), is walking out of that place. To get back to my hotel, I have to cross in front of the bar. So I’m out the door, but I can still hear the deejay. This is what he said:
“Any Vikings fans still here?”
There’s a pause, and I can hear a smattering of applause. Deejay guy’s response?
Diggs dunking his ballsack in the mouth of human prolapse Sean Payton was the happiest I’ve been in my life. We got sodomized the following week and I haven’t been happy since.
Kirk Cousins is a whiny bitch that puts on a happy face regardless of what happens. He’s the perfect representative of Minnesota and I fucking hate it.
Zimmer’s defense hasn’t been innovative since he lined up three guys in the A gap against Rodgers two years ago for a play and we’ve never run that look again despite that being the only time we stopped him.
Rick Spielman could’ve moved up and drafted Justin Fields to give this organization an optimistic outlook, instead he had to hang onto his precious day three picks so he can one day achieve his plan of having every pick in the seventh round so we can cut them in camp.
Jefferson will likely get pissed at Kirk soon enough.
Our OL coach quit his job rather than get a vaccine and was probably at the capital in January.
Having no fans last year made me lose some interest in this shithole of a team, and my mood was markedly improved all fall.
Also, let’s never forget when Kirk was asked how he would respond to finding out he had a gay teammate, he said “I would pray for him.” A-Rod should’ve bought the Vikings instead of the Wolves, sold this pile of retread garbage to Bezos, and let him use them as test dummies to launch into the sun.
Our off-season strategy was to sign every defensive has-been who would have been great if we were playing Madden16.
What I hate the most is that I’m gonna buy into this team when they win some stupid Sunday noon game over the Carolina Panthers because I am a fucking idiot who never learns.
Fuck Blair Walsh with a lawn dart.
The pandemic helped me stopped caring so much about this team. And probably football in general. But mostly this team.
I cannot stand interacting with people who made their entire personality out of being sad about Minnesota sports. Every midwestern Eeyore wannabe mistakes being a depressed rain cloud for some sort of wisdom, and every year, the Vikings vindicate these assholes for having the courage to bet that one of the other 31 teams will win the Super Bowl.
When the Week 3 blowout loss to the winless Washington Football Team inevitably arrives, I just sit there and watch, sneering at my own team, feeling nothing but grim, sickening vindication in my cynicism, muttering “Yep” and “There it is” to myself throughout the fourth quarter as Cousins burns and topples like a 5G tower beneath the furious assault of a QAnon death squad. Because I expected this, because this was the only logical outcome, and I hate myself for knowing it.
Our offensive line coach walked away to avoid being vaccinated. I would like to think that in a disgusting twist of fate, this will make our line play better. But I know better than that, and so do you.
When I was in sixth grade, my teacher told the class that the Super Bowl was the coming weekend. She was a Dolphins fan and, if the Dolphins win, there’d be no homework for the week. If, however, the Vikings won, we’d have a quiz on Monday. So, “Who’s going to root for the Vikings?” I was the sole kid to raise a hand. Not because I really cared. Just being oppositional. Still, I became a fan. I blame her. She passed away this week. So, that means I am either absolved from my fandom or they’re totally winning the Super Bowl this year.
Fucking Drew Pearson pushed off.
Fuck the Vikings. Fuck Rick Dennison. Fuck Kirk Cousins. Fuck the fans that never gave Denny Green credit. Fuck Denny Green for never building a defense that matched his great offenses. Fuck Kirk Cousins again for driving away Stefon Diggs. Fuck the fans that think Diggs is a cancer or a diva because he didn’t want to catch passes from a total dipshit, Fuck Stefon Diggs for making me have a modicum of concern for the Bills. And fuck me for even caring.
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