Reader Bryan B. checked in via e-mail Thursday morning to remind us all of the 1972 Vikings — a team with high hopes that finished 7-7 thanks to several close losses.

Kicker Fred Cox, as Bryan notes, played a role in that. Although he finished the season having made 21 of 33 field goals (63.6 percent, which was actually better than the league average of 61.1 percent that season), it appears his misses were significant. In those five games in which the Vikings lost by three points or fewer, Cox was just 3-for-9 on field goal attempts.

It would be fascinating to bring a time machine — and Twitter — back to 1972 to see how fans would have reacted to a team expected to challenge for a Super Bowl losing five games by narrow margins, with the kicker missing six times.

I dare say Cox might have been treated even more harshly than Blair Walsh, and that's saying something.

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