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RandBall: Is there still time for the Vikings this season?

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • October 21, 2013 - 9:44 AM

Five games into the 2013 season, the Vikings are already attempting the equivalent of a Hail Mary by starting Josh Freeman in tonight's MNF game vs. the Giants. That's not to say Freeman isn't better than the alternatives, Christian Ponder or Matt Cassel, but it is the final proactive measure of a desperate team when it comes to attempting to save this season.

The question: can this season be saved?

The inclination after a 1-4 start that came against the "easy" part of the schedule is to say that no, this year is already a lost cause. But as crazy as it sounds, we're not ready to say it's definitely sunk -- yet. Here's why:

1) Within the NFC North, all three teams above the Vikings have winning records -- but there is not a single team without its flaws. The Vikings have four division games left, three of them at home, and could still theoretically make some noise there.

2) The 49ers and Seahawks should both be at least 10-win teams. Whichever doesn't win the NFC West will be a Wild Card. Beyond that, there is not another non-division winner we would bet on to win 10 games. The second wild card really could be an 8- or 9-win team in the NFC.

3) Competent QB play goes a long way. Andy Reid came into Kansas City and could be the biggest reason a 2-14 team from 2012 is now the only undefeated team in the NFL. But don't overlook the play of Alex Smith. One subtle change can make a huge difference; with the Vikings, even as bad as the defense has been this season, better quarterback play might be the difference between 1-4 and 3-2 at this point in the season.

A loss tonight to the Giants would be pretty close to the final nail into the 2013 Vikings' season. But for now. we're not ready to drive it in just yet.

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