If you feel like three seasons worth of drama have already been crammed into 12 Vikings games so far in 2016, you’re not alone. It’s become one of those years in which we just seem to keep hopping from one bizarre/amazing storyline to another.
In an attempt to reflect on just what has transpired, I’ve decided to rank the 10 craziest things about the 2016 Vikings season so far (knowing full well that there is still time for plenty more plot twists).
1. Teddy Bridgewater’s injury: You have to start here, right? What had been a relatively quiet preseason received an awful jolt when the third-year Vikings QB suffered a season-ending and career-altering knee injury during practice. Less than two weeks before the start of the regular season, the disarray began.
2. Sam Bradford trade: Motivated by the severity of Bridgewater’s injury and a belief in an otherwise strong roster coming off an 11-5 season, the Vikings moved quickly to acquire QB Sam Bradford from the Eagles in a stunning blockbuster deal. It came at a steep price — a first-round pick in 2017 and another conditional pick.
3. Norv Turner resigns: Oh, right. Let’s not forget that in the middle of the season, the offensive coordinator who came in with head coach Mike Zimmer resigned amid struggles in pass protection and other offensive shortcomings. And it happened when the Vikings were 5-2!
4. Adrian Peterson’s injury: If Bridgewater was the Vikings’ most important offensive player coming into 2016, Peterson was their most proven one. He was stuffed against Tennessee and then injured his knee against Green Bay in Week 2. There’s a chance he could return for a playoff push, but even that is iffy.
5. Mike Zimmer’s eye problems: When the head coach is battling ongoing very serious eye problems — threatening his vision and forcing him to miss one game so far — and it’s only No. 5 on a list of crazy things to happen during part of a season, you know where the season stands.
6. Team starts 5-0: Given everything that has happened, the fact that the Vikings started 5-0 is amazing in and of itself. They looked like they were gaining momentum with each game and had the appearance of a legitimate Super Bowl contender early on.
7. Blair Walsh dumped: As the wheels started to come off, problems in the kicking game became more magnified. It ended with Blair Walsh being released — the first mid-year kicking change for the Vikings in more than a decade.
8. Vikings are 1-6 since 5-0 start: If the great start was surprising, the slide since then has been shocking. Minnesota is largely the same team it was before, but late-game situations have been its downfall.
9. Offensive line injuries: We can argue about how good the offensive line would be even if everyone was healthy (best guess: average, if everyone performed at a reasonable level) but the sheer volume of injuries — particularly to the two starting tackles — would make you laugh if it wasn’t so damaging.
10. Laquon Treadwell has one catch: A lot of us begged the Vikings to choose an impact wide receiver high in the draft. Fans at the team’s draft party were thrilled when Laquon Treadwell was the pick. And so far? He has one catch all season while ceding playing time to the likes of Adam Thielen and Cordarrelle Patterson — guys who have performed above expectations but are still surprisingly getting opportunities instead of a first-round pick.