It was 1984. Bud Grant was gone. Les Steckel was chosen to be the Vikings' 3rd head coach all-time. A visit to the Pecos River learning center was meant to bring a team commitment to winning. It didn't. It became the biggest joke in Minnesota Vikings' history, second to only the Herschel Walker trade.
That year the Vikings went 3-13. They lost their last six games with scores like 51-7 and 34-3. The three wins they did acquire were by a combined ten points. It was bad. Grant had retired after the 1983 season with the 8-8 record and 4th place in the division. It was time for a change.
With pathetic ness in pro sports comes the inevitable early draft selection of the following year. That year Minnesota's 3-13 season resulted in the 3rd overall pick. Unfortunately it was given to Houston. The Vikings did, however, possess the 4th pick from Atlanta, and parlayed that spot into Chris Doleman. Not Jerry Rice, but not bad.
Now sitting at 2-12, the Vikings face the Washington Redskins and Minnesota-killer Rex Grossman. In any other season I would be irate at the possibility of losing this game. Not 2011. I pray for it. Literally.
With the Colts Timberwolf-like victory on Thursday the door to the first pick in the draft was opened. It will still take some work, hoping the Colts beat the Jaguars (possible) and that the Vikings continue to lose (probable). It's almost too easy. The way Minnesota has been turning the ball over, and the method in which the secondary continues to play tag vs. actual coverage, there is serious thought of the first pick and Andrew Luck. And that would be a bonanza.
I will let the others debate Luck or Christian Ponder, but one thing I do know, if we can afford to trade a good quarterback we might heal faster. Back in the day Minnesota traded Fran Tarkenton and used the picks to develop an offensive line that pushed them to the top in the 1970s. The opportunity arises again. If Minnesota were to somehow end up number one, there could be three or four first-round picks waiting. And no one needs them more....
If we can believe in miracles, and get the lucky spot, here is what I want (for Christmas)...
1. Trade the number one pick for years of number one picks.
2. Use the picks to improve offensive line, wide receiver, and the defensive secondary.
3. Start rebuilding now.
Teams have shown that the turnaround time in the NFL can be short. Minnesota possesses plenty of quality talent, Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Steve Hutchinson, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Chad Greenway to name a few. But there are large holes. Our safety situation is to the point we should not call them safeties anymore, rather oppositional opportunities. Our offensive line is missing a left tackle that will be here for a while... I think USC has one we need. Certainly Harvin will need another receiver to stretch out the field, guys like Aroshomadu and Jenkins do not make anyone backpedal.
No, I will watch my Vikings and hope they lose. If they win, I will of course be content, deep down I always want them to win. But when you are 2-12, and possess as many holes as we do, there comes a realization that something needs to change for the better.
And it is not a return to the River.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all the fans.