If the 2016 Minnesota Vikings are going to finish their season as they intend it to end it – deep in the heart of Texas at NRG Stadium in Houston – what has happened to the team in the last three weeks would be rejected by even the sappiest honey-drippers of Disney Studios writers.
As the script would be written, it had the formative improvement of 2014, when Mike Zimmer – actor portraying him yet to be determined (is Kurt Russell willing to dip his bucket in that well again?) – came into a locker room of players unfamiliar with his particular style of playing defense. He brought in a grizzled veteran of offensive coaching in Norv Turner – Sam Elliott would be a flattering portrayal.
Act I would be the baby-step ascent of the franchise. One game into the new regime, the face of the team is taken away and the team struggles to be competitive. They show flashes of what the minister is preaching, but the flock isn’t quite getting the message.
Act II would be the return of the franchise player and the improvement that the individual players working for the collective good of the group could achieve – winning the final game at Lambeau Field would likely require a John Williams score.
Act III would involve the heartbreak of the playoff loss to Seattle – Blair Walsh would prefer someone like Zac Efron, producers are leaning toward Casey Affleck.
Act IV would be the start of redemption in the 2016 offseason. What is past is prologue. What is coming is good with the potential of being very good.
Act V is all that has transpired in the last three weeks. This is where even Disney execs call the BS card into place. They don’t know football. They know making movies about football. There is a significant difference. Just watch Draft Day to get a full realization of that piece of realism – although it should be noted that Draft Day is the unfortunate fiction of Lions Gate Studios (blame Canada).
Even by that far-fetched stretching (rupturing) of the NFL reality scenario, a team based on defense and a superstar running back taking care of the offensive side of the ball couldn’t fathom the particular plot twist being thrown into the mix by the 2016 Vikings.
To recap, in three weeks, you lose your up-and-coming quarterback, your Hall of Fame running back and your left tackle who will miss his first NFL game Sunday, despite playing seriously hurt for about half of his 66 career games.
Like all the classic Disney films, all hope seems lost. The Vikings have about as much chance of survival as a nurturing mother figure -- human or animal. Look up Disney movies and find a living birth mother.
The trending topics right now are that the Vikings are done, despite being 2-0 out of the gate with a win in their pocket against Green Bay.
Act VI has yet to be played out. When it is, the script will either have the heartwarming quality of the underdog success story or end up on a pile of spec scripts destined for the recycling bin. They don't make movies about teams that finish 8-8.
A lot of teams with great potential have folded and collapsed due to injury. Did anyone pick Dallas for 4-12 before 2015 season started? As players will tell you, from the second day of training camp until getaway day, you are sore, but you have a job to do. When you lose your brothers in arms, they can be replaced but not forgotten.
The 2016 Vikings have suffered as many significant losses on one side of the ball as any team in recent memory. If you were to pick a Ground Zero scenario of three players exiting stage left, what would be the worst three? Their quarterback. Their Hall of Famer. Their blind side protector.
Those are the three the current edition of the Vikings have lost.
The final 100 days of 2016 and the first day of 2017 will write the final act in this melodrama.
If things go south, it won’t be a story that gets recalled years from now.
If things stay north, get your popcorn ready.