That being said ... and with full knowledge that despite their 5-3 record the Vikings have really only played two good complete "team" games this year (San Francisco and Tennessee) ... let's all hold off on the "season's over" gloom and doom this morning.
This team is, as noted, still 5-3. The schedule stiffens considerably down the stretch, but there are still wins to be had. We are not in "wait 'til next year" mode.
However: we are in "wait 'til next week" mode. Because the game that is now 9 days away in Seattle will be the one that defines this season, not the one last night. If the Vikings can play well and win in that hostile environment -- the Seahawks are 3-0 at home this year, having defeated the Cowboys, Packers (sort of) and Patriots -- they still have a realistic chance of getting to the bye at 7-3 and taking momentum into that grueling final six-game stretch. If Ponder can re-discover his functional play-making ways that he was showing at the start of the year, we can stop (for now) thinking about whether he really is the QB of the future.
Seattle plays close games featuring good defense. The score will likely be in the teens, and the game will hinge on turnovers and third downs (unless it turns on simultaneous possession). The Vikings can play that way. Heck, that's practically the Leslie Frazier blueprint. Maybe the Bucs were just a bad matchup -- a better-than-advertised team that played about as well as they could? We'll know more in nine days -- and we'll know whether it's time to panic or start thinking playoffs.