Monday night was a beat-down. It was an assault on sensibilities. If you cheer for the purple, it was no fun to watch.


It was all those things, yet the thing it was the most is this: a reckoning. It was, to be sure, a settling of accounts due. If you thought 2010 was the Vikings' reckoning, you were wrong. That was a season built on what proved to be faulty optimism and dependence on a carryover effect from 2009. But 2011 ... this is where the price is fully being paid by the purple for years of, at best, a dependence upon veterans at key spots and at worst systematic roster neglect and/or miscalculations.

In today's toss-happy NFL, you must be able to defend against the pass. And you must be able to give your quarterback enough time to throw the ball. And you must give him a certain functional set of targets at whom to throw.

The Vikings' two best players, by a long shot, are a running back and a defensive end. That would have been fantastic in 1975. It's still very nice to have those two guys now. But you need so much more. You need a cohesive, physical and -- yes -- talented group in the secondary. You need to invest heavily in your offensive line. You need a long-term solution at quarterback, unless the last eight Super Bowls won by Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady were a fluke.

We get the idea the Vikings now know all these things. Solving them will be another matter, and it won't come easy.  We're three games into the Christian Ponder era -- an era that provides optimism based on what we've seen, but one that will include plenty of mis-steps and growing pains. We couldn't tell you a single player who definitely factors into the long-term plan in the secondary or on the offensive line.

It's a by-product of how this team was constructed over the previous seasons. And the reckoning came against an arch-rival with so much roster depth and so many home-grown long-term positional solutions that it makes you wince.

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