Amazingly, the Minnesota Vikings are still game planning.
The Vikings went so far as to name certain players as starters for their upcoming game against the Baltimore Ravens. I mean, come on guys. Baltimore? You think you're going to go to Baltimore, go play outside in the cold, against a team performing well against the run, having Matt Cassel named as your starting quarterback, and bother competing? Just send the practice squad, man. It'll be more enjoyable.
Yet, in a way, we've already seen that sending out the practice squad WASN'T that enjoyable, because the guys that have been starting at certain positions pretty much this entire year, have more or less been a mistake. Case in point? When Head Coach Leslie Frazier named MLB Audie Cole as the starter for the next game (and likely the rest of the season), moving LB Erin Henderson to the outside, and essentially admitting that starting Erin Henderson in the middle all year has been a mistake.
So let's get this straight. The Vikings did the unthinkable and actually drafted a player in the 7th round who – SURPRISE! – actually knows how to play football. He showed this early when he intercepted two passes, returning both for touchdowns – on consecutive plays, mind you – in a preseason game against the Buffalo Bills. This stellar play earned him many game day deactivations in his rookie year, and occasional spot duty on special teams. OK, fine. Rookie luck, right?
Well, Mr. AuDiesel essentially went into his second year with little confidence from the coaching staff that he could get things done. The Vikings ended up drafting another middle linebacker (this one with two robot knees, so I GUESS I kind of get the allure), and another outside linebacker, Mike Mauti and Gerald Hodges respectively. Funny story, Hodges (drafted in the 4th round) has played in seven NFL games so far, which must have been on special teams, because he has no recorded career stats yet. The other guy, Mike Mauti, who was drafted lower because of obvious knee concerns, but maybe a little because people didn't think he was as good as Hodges?, has recorded TWO tackles so far this season, plus (probably) some special teams action.
Audie Cole? Well where do you want to start with his 2013 season? Cole was cut on November 7th by the team, seemingly viewed as expendable, while Christian Ponder or Josh Freeman were not, so the team could sign OT Kevin Murphy to the roster. Don't ask. Amazingly, the Vikings were able to sign Cole back two days later, as another team left him hanging in the wind. Cole got his first two starts of his career recently, and has tallied 15 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 pass defended. Not bad for a roster cut, huh? And so what now? BOOM! He's your future at middle linebacker.
Which begs the question; WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING, COACHING STAFF?
From cutting Antoine Winfield and Bobby Felder so they could do things like sign Greg Jennings and keep AJ Jefferson around, to trading Percy Harvin, to signing Josh Freeman for a single game essentially, to cutting and almost losing your future starting middle linebacker in Audie Cole, it's become pretty damn clear these clowns have no idea what is going on. And now, with four games left, they are finally figuring things out; starting Matt Cassel over any other slab of quarterback meat, getting Cordarrelle Patterson the ball in creative ways, cutting AJ Jefferson, starting Cole at linebacker … My god, it's like they actually are trying to win now that they've already lost everything.
And that, is what your Minnesota Vikings are all about.