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Continued: Vikings head into days of wonder

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 29, 2013 - 8:28 AM

They also rank last in pass defense, 31st in total defense and 31st in third-down defense.

Spielman’s decision to release Winfield as a cost-cutting measure last winter stripped the defense of one of its best players and leaders. The Vikings unveiled a secondary that featured a disappointment as their No. 1 cornerback (Chris Cook); a guy who had never played the slot/nickel role (Josh Robinson) as Winfield’s replacement; and a rookie corner who figured to experience growing pains (Rhodes). On top of that, they lost their best defensive back (Smith) for eight games because of a turf toe injury.

The results should not surprise anyone.

“When you guys would ask me back in training camp, if you go back and look, I would always say that’s the wild card,” Frazier said. “How fast can we bring these guys along? I knew what our issues were. And then you get hit with the injury bug like we have, that really makes it more difficult.”

That word sums up the entire season: difficult. A season that began with optimism after a taste of the playoffs became a long grind marked by quarterback changes, blown leads and defensive breakdowns. And now uncertainty.

On Sunday, the Vikings will shut the lights off at the place they’ve called home since 1982. The organization has more than one construction job in its future.

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