It's all falling apart, and the hardest part is we all know why. The Vikings rode a wave of resiliency and masked deficiencies to a 5-0 start this season that had plenty of us talking about the Super Bowl. They're 0-4 since, and the only thing keeping them afloat is the alarming mediocrity of the NFC North (Packers fans, let's go out for beers).
If you thought this was 2009 — a quarterback coming in at the last minute and turning a weird season into a great one — my friends, I believe we were mistaken. The closest parallel now feels like 2003, when the Vikings started 6-0 before losing to every 4-12 team in the league and missing the playoffs at 9-7.
The reasons for Sunday's 26-20 loss to Washington are all too familiar, but they bear repeating: The Vikings right now can't run, can't block, can't reliably kick, can't stay healthy and can't get out of their own way.
Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. firstname.lastname@example.org.