Yes, Christian Ponder played terribly last Sunday. Yes, the Vikes had way too many penalties. And yes, they let the Cardinals hang around instead of putting then away when they had the chance.
Fortunately, for at least this week, I don’t care.
The reason I’m not dwelling on these glaring shortcomings is because the Vikings are 5-2, which is the number of victories most “experts” thought the purple would have for the entire season.
We Viking fans have to take a moment and soak in the unexpected success our favorite team has achieved thus far. We have to appreciate that it appears as though the Vikes nailed the draft this year, as their top three picks (Kalil, Smith, and Robinson) have all been very good to excellent. Most importantly, we have to remember that the Vikes were not supposed to be any good this season, yet they are 1/2 game out of 1st place almost halfway through the season. We have reasons to smile, so why not enjoy it for a bit?
What else do we have to celebrate?
How about Adrian Peterson coming back from ACL surgery in only eight months, being the NFL’s 3rd leading rusher, and still looking like he has yet to hit his peak?
Or the rebirth of the Vikings defense, which has been getting plenty of sacks, turnovers, and big hits, all while allowing the 6th least amount of points, an impressive ranking that would surely be a few spots higher if Ponder hadn’t been serving up easy points to opposing teams the last few weeks.
What about the special teams, which has scored TDs, covered kicks fantastically, and had a rookie kicker rocket long field goals and touchbacks with ease?
Then there is the continued evolution of Percy Harvin, who, now that he has been incorporated more heavily into the offense, has turned into a legitimate MVP candidate.
Why worry about the few areas of ugliness when there is so much to love right now? Why complain about a few dead trees when the forest itself is so beautiful? The bottom line is that the Vikes are winning, so who really cares how they get it done?
At this point, the Vikes are not a Super Bowl caliber team, but they have shown they are at least playoff caliber. Good defense, special teams, and a running game can take teams quite a ways in the NFL. Let’s be glad we have that; it’s light years beyond where this team was last season.
Let’s not forget that Christian Ponder has looked very good for most of this season and is still very early into his career. I think he’s earned the chance to have the rest of the season play out before any of us make a final judgement as to whether he is a true franchise QB or not. Just imagine how much better he could be if he had decent pass protection and another talented receiver.
So the next time you want to cry and moan that your favorite football team, despite vastly outperforming all expectations, is not good enough, just remember the only wise words to ever escape from the pie hole of former Vikings head coach Mike Tice: “Enjoy the season”.
That’s what I’m doing, at least for this week.