In terms of players, this offseason the Vikings need to find two cornerbacks, two safeties, two linebackers, possibly a defensive tackle depending on rookie Christian Ballard's maturation, two wide receivers, another tight end if Visanthe Shiancoe leaves as a free agent, a backup/3rd down running back, a left tackle, a center if John Sullivan signs elsewhere in March, a right guard, and maybe a right tackle.
But before finding all of these new players, they first must find a general manager.
Breaking news: this entry will not fawn over Don Shelby. Although, since he's an expert on everything -- just ask him -- I bet he has some ideas on why the Vikings are underperforming beyond anyone's expectations this year.
The answer is pretty simple: many players are performing way below expectations.
If you believe that this team would be 6-3, instead of 3-6, with a different head coach, then I would like to sell you some left-handed microphones.
That doesn't mean that coach Brad Childress is blameless. But I get the sense that many fans would rather go through the body scanner at the airport and have those images posted on YouTube than watch another game with Childress in charge.
The Vikings had 10 legitimate Pro-Bowl players last year. Of those, only two, running back Adrian Peterson and wide receiver Percy Harvin, are anywhere near a repeat performance. And even Peterson has failed in some key situations, most notably against Miami and New England at the goal-line.
A few different play calls or personnel groups do not make up for the Vikings trailing for long periods in eight of their nine games. Only against Detroit in Week 3 have the Vikings led for an extended stretch . Because of that, the pass rush has been non-existent. They are last in the NFL in turnover margin at minus-11. Their 23 turnovers to date are five more than all of 2009. Quarterback Brett Favre's interception rate of 5.5% is on pace to be the highest of his career.
The Vikings have the 25th-ranked red zone offense. Their special teams have shown warts. The defense can't come up with third-down stops. Linebacker E.J. Henderson should win Comeback Player of the Year, but clearly isn't the same player he was before his injury. Linebacker Chad Greenway is the only starter among the front-seven playing better than his 2009 form.
At what point can we say that the execution is just as bad as the coaching? On Sunday, Chicago won easily despite committing 11 penalties for 116 yards, throwing a red-zone interception, and missing an easy field goal. How is any of that Childress' fault? Childress is the same coach who won 12 games last year, and was one Favre interception from the Super Bowl.
No reason to pick Shelby's brain on this one. The reality is that the Vikings just aren't that good, and the players are to blame too.
"I did want to retire as a Viking." -- Randy Moss in Jan. '08
The happiest member of the Vikings' organization this morning might not be quarterback Brett Favre or wide receiver Percy Harvin. It could be No. 84, Logan Payne, who's stuck on the practice squad. If Randy Moss wants his old number back, Payne will make a lot of money. But what if Moss wants No. 81? Will Vistanthe Shiancoe give-in?
This trade is a fan's dream. It's also a reporter's dream. Judd Zulgad may not take off his Chicago Blackhawks hoodie until February. He won't have time.
Only the acquisition of Moss could shift my wife's Vikings' tentacles away from wondering if Kendra has officially moved to Eden Prairie to be closer to her husband, Hank Baskett.
Any move that upsets Packers and Bears fans is a good one. This is a "wow" trade. There are no guarantees attached. But this is monumentally impressive. Moss will have a chance to have a big-time impact starting Monday night against the Jets. He really only has to run a few routes.
We can now add Moss to a long list of Vikings' free agents after this season. Favre, Sidney Rice, Chad Greenway, Ben Leber, Ray Edwards, Pat Williams, Ryan Longwell, and Husain Abdullah are among the players only signed through this season.
The Vikings are all-in on this year, which is fine. The NFC appears to be the weaker of the two conferences. In other words, it's eminently winnable.
To quote Moss from years ago, "Super Bowl, homeboy!" It's a better possibility now. This much is known: the Vikings are a lot better on-the-field today.
Do the Wild really start their season on Thursday? Are we really just days before the 120th meeting between the Gophers and Badgers? Oh, by the way, the Twins are good enough to win the World Series. But does anything else matter on the local sports landscape today?