So, now what? Well ...
*We know the Vikings are 1-3, playing with a quarterback who has a bad elbow (tendinitis) that he was seen grabbing often late in last night's game. We know this QB, who looked terrible for much of three quarters, looked unbelievable for a hope-inspiring stretch, then sealed the Vikings' fate with several missed throws on the final two drives, could possibly be suspended at some point this season for lewd conduct. So we know this team is in deep trouble. It still has potential. But it's in deep trouble.
*We know the Vikings' run defense isn't what it used to be.
*We know Monday Night Football didn't shy away from the Favre off-field news. The broadcast didn't dwell on it by an means, but the text messaging was addressed head on in both the pregame (video below, found at CP) and again briefly at halftime. This shouldn't necessarily be surprising considering the NFL's acknowledgment and the threat of disciplinary action certainly elevates the story a few notches, but we weren't quite sure what to expect considering ESPN's previous treatment of Favre.
*We know Randy Moss can still be a factor. We can't help but wonder what life would have been like with Favre, Moss, Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin all available and healthy at the start of training camp (and yes, Moss wouldn't have been necessary if Rice was healthy, but still a guy can dream). But we'll take the existing reality, which says that the Vikings' offense is as dangerous right not as it has been at any point in the season, and should continue to get better. You know, as long as a 41-year-old's dangling elbow (among other parts) doesn't undermine the whole operation.
*We wondered on Twitter last night if the Vikings should pull Favre in favor of Tarvaris Jackson. It was 50 percent serious, 50 percent frustrated venting. But as long as he's healthy enough to wing it and allowed to play by the NFL, Favre's the guy. Let us never speak of this again.
*We really thought the Vikings would win this game. We really thought they needed to win this game. We still worry tremendously that this thing could turn into a downward spiral and that even with a softer later schedule the hole might be too deep. But we're also starting to come around to the line of reasoning that says just getting into these NFC playoffs -- even as a Wild Card -- would make the Vikings dangerous. Let's see if they can knock off the similarly disappointing Cowboys next week, and we'll go from there.