Sunday Should Mark the End of a Minnesota Vikings Era

Photo: Jim Mone - AP

The Minnesota Vikings are prepping for a week 8 matchup vs the Green Bay Packers, scheduled for Sunday at noon. Every year when the Vikings play in Green Bay, they first fly into Appleton Wisconsin where they stay in a hotel on game night eve. Then, they bus to Green Bay from there.

For six (6) seasons, Mike Zimmer has stepped off the Vikings bus at Lambeau Field with largely the same players walking down with him, especially on defense.

Everson Griffen (6), Linval Joseph (6), Xavier Rhodes (6), Trae Waynes (5), Harrison Smith (6), Eric Kendricks (5), Danielle Hunter (5), Anthony Harris (5) and Anthony Barr (6) have all been there. On offense, the team has had guys like Adam Thielen (6) Kyle Rudolph (6) and Stefon Diggs (5). Even Kirk Cousins is about to play in his 3rd meeting in Lambeau, as a Viking.

Landscape is Changing

The Zimmer era was already turning over, before the 2020 season started. Four of the nine defensive roster staples listed above, moved on last offseason. But the turnover could get even more desperate, if Minnesota falls to 1-6 on the season by losing to Green Bay on Sunday… especially with the Tuesday (Nov. 3) NFL Trade Deadline looming.

The current narrative, surrounding the jobs of Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman, is one of safety. After all three of Spielman, Zimmer and Cousins received new deals in the offseason, the Wilfs seem inclined to keep life at TCO Performance Center status quo.

Their patience seems virtuous… until the Vikings go into Lambeau and lay another egg this weekend, like they did vs Atlanta a week and a half ago.

If that happens, then all bets are off.

This is a week-to-week league and the Wilfs have a business to run. If the Vikings fall to 1-6 in ugly fashion Sunday, then depleting the roster becomes a smart business move. The upcoming 2021 NFL Draft has Trevor Lawrence, who grades as the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck.

That’s before you even get into Justin Fields, who some think is even better. If the losing continues this weekend, then it’s time for Minnesota to start selling off this roster as quickly as they can… not just to attain future assets, but in an effort to lose more games, as well. Obviously, the first to go are the easy decisions. Reiff, Rudolph and Anthony Harris… goodbye.

Then, it’s time to look a bit deeper. You can’t get rid of Kirk Cousins by Tuesday, due to his contract, but that’s ok since he isn’t very good at winning in 2020 anyway! Starting next week, that becomes a good thing.

Lose Now to Get Better for Future

Beyond Kirk, there is a lot of interest in Adam Thielen (32-yrs-old next season), who will bring back a 2nd round pick (or better). Harrison Smith would garner a 2nd or better (plus more), too. I’m keeping Eric Kendricks because you won’t get anything near what he will do for a rebuild anyway.

How many games can the Vikings win the rest of 2020 without Reiff, Harris, Smith and Thielen. Who would even play safety?


Should Mike Zimmer and/or Rick Spielman have a problem with these moves, then cut them loose too. Writing their unemployment checks now might be difficult, but it’s a worthy loss if you’re living to make a bigger dollar on your investment 3 or 4 years from now.

Offseason Departures

Come offseason, it would be time to complete the cleanup. If the Vikings are able to finish 2020 with a record terrible enough to draft the QB of their future, then it’s time to say goodbye to Mike Zimmer (if he’s still around) too. You need to get a bright offensive (mostly QB) mind, to help bring along our new QB. Sorry Mike.

I don’t have an opinion on Rick Spielman. If the Wilfs want some sense of normalcy through this rebuild process and they think Spielman can be a star without Mike weighing him down, then I’m fine with that decision.

Goodbye Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter, depending on what he wants for a contract. Look again to deal Kirk Cousins, if anyone will take him. If not, he’s a perfect placeholder for your new QB and cap space shouldn’t be a problem by this point.

The sooner the Minnesota Vikings hit the tank/rebuild button, the higher their 2021 draft pick will be and the better future outlook they’ll have.

Another loss this weekend should force Zigi’s hand.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Vikings