Opinion Corner: Hard being a Vikings fanIt’s hard being a Vikings fan. It’s not quite as bad as being a Cubs fans with the Billy Goat Curse and their more than 100-year championship drought. But as far as football and futility goes, the Vikings are at the top of the list.
It’s hard being a Vikings fan.
It’s not quite as bad as being a Cubs fans with the Billy Goat Curse and their more than 100-year championship drought. But as far as football and futility goes, the Vikings are at the top of the list.
There’s no secret as to why the current version of the Purple and Gold have won eight games and lost 19 the past two seasons: they don’t have good enough players.
It’s pretty incredible, actually, the fall of this team, considering two years ago they should have won the Super Bowl.
But make no mistake, this franchise has been run poorly and the collapse is not very surprising.
In the NFL, you can survive on mediocre drafts, the New England Patriots are an example of that. They miss on way more picks than they hit on, but having the greatest quarterback of all-time is a great deodorant to cover some of the other stink.
The Vikings don’t have that obviously, in fact, there are few teams in the league with less talent.
Draft gurus and the people that build NFL rosters will say that you have to be successful in rounds 2-4. Nobody nails them all, but you have to be in the 60 to 70 percent success rate — not necessarily with stars, but with starters, at least.
Over the last decade, the Vikings have been brutal in these critical rounds.
On the current 53-man roster, there are 16 players that were selected in rounds 2-4, and that’s counting the colossally over drafted Chris Cook, who has been poor on the field and worse off.
Since 2001, the Vikings have drafted these players in the second round: Willie Howard (2001), Raonall Smith (2002), Dontarrious Thomas (2004), Marcus Johnson (2005), Ryan Cook (2006), Tavaris Jackson (2006), Tyrell Johnson (2008) and Chris Cook (2010) — all of whom made virtually no impact. These are second-round picks! If you’re a draft nerd like me, you understand how pathetic this is. It is hard to miss on second-round players, many of whom have first-round talent.
In the last decade the only second-round hits they have had are E.J. Henderson (2003), Cedric Griffin (2006) and Sidney Rice (2007). The jury is still out on Phil Loadholt (2009), Toby Gerhart (2010) and Kyle Rudolph (2011) — although I do like Rudolph.
The third and fourth-round flops are even worse. In the last 10 years there are about four players out of nearly 30 that had any kind of a career: Nate Burleson, Brian Williams, Brian Robison and Ray Edwards. As for the whiffs in the third and fourth rounds: Willie Offord, Shawn Worthen, Ed Ta’Amu, Dustin Fox, Nat Dorsey, Marcus McCauley, Asher Allen — you could literally list almost 20 shanks.
Every year you can count on the Vikings to deliver a pick that brings a quizzical look from ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr., and his magnificently thick pelt of hair.
What’s also strange is how many people have played a role in the collapse.
Dennis Green, Frank Gilliam, Rob Brzezinski, Mike Tice, Brad Childress, Rick Spielman, Scott Studwell: all of these coaches and GM types have had varying degrees of power in drafting players, and all have checkered results at best. Just based on the law of averages, you’d think one of them would know what they’re doing, but the results say otherwise.
All these things wrapped together lead to the understandable fatalism of Vikings’ fans.
Whether it’s being 0-4 in Super Bowls, taking a knee in the NFC championship game in 1998, playing in the Metrodome for three decades, the Loveboat saga, the close losses this season, watching the rival Packers — the fourth-youngest team in the league — carve up the NFL.
It all adds up to the pain and misery of being a Viking fan.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by email at email@example.com