Being a football fan of the Viking is not fun at the moment, to put it mildly. The horror show at the Giants is still far too fresh in the memory and the continuing revolving door at QB is not making things any better!
But at least we have the consolation of actually having won a game this year, with the victory at Wembley over the Steelers. The poor fans of the Jaguars (0-7) and Buccaneers (0-6) don’t even have the comfort of a single win to help put a smile on their faces!
So why are there reasons to be cheerful for fans of these franchises? On the face of it, there isn’t! But as the NFL has proved time and time again, things can change very quickly and this has been the case especially in the last few years.
Take, for example, the league’s only undefeated team – the Kansas City Chiefs. Currently riding high on the crest of a wave at 7-0, the Chiefs have already achieved a significant turnaround from last year’s 2-14 mark. A new head coach in Andy Reid and QB in Alex Smith, together with some shrewd off season moves, have helped to galvanise the franchise to the point that they are genuine contenders for the postseason in a division that includes the Broncos and deceptively strong Chargers. It helps when you have some strong players in place already, such as RB Jamaal Charles.
Anyone thinking that kind of turnaround is a one off needs only to look one season further back; at the Indianapolis Colts, Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings. These three teams had the first 3 picks in the 2012 draft, following poor seasons in 2011. The Colts went 2-14, the Vikings 3-13 and the Redskins picked second having traded up after a 5-11 season. Following a solid draft and off season moves, all 3 teams made the playoffs in 2012. Andrew Luck helped inspire the Colts to a 11-5 record, the Vikings improved to 10-6 and RG3 helped the Redskins to 10-6 and the NFC East title.
The Saints this season too have had a marked turnaround, helped by the return of coach Sean Payton following his suspension. Their 2013 season looks like being a vast improvement on 2012 – when their 7-9 season was not enough to make the postseason.
Turnarounds happen the other way too – just look at this year where the Vikings themselves, together with the Texans and Falcons, are falling a LONG way short of the form that took them to the postseason less than 12 months ago.
All this goes to show what an unpredictable league the NFL is and offers some comfort to the fans of the Jaguars, Buccaneers and Vikings. 2013 may be a bust, but with a solid draft and offseason then there is every chance that 2014 could see that run to the playoffs that all teams are after.
At least that’s what we can hope for as the trials and tribulations of 2013 continue.
Roll on 2014!!