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Monday Morning Mailbag: Where Do the Vikings Go From Here?

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View game action images as the Vikings take on the Falcons on Sunday.

I think I speak for the majority of Vikings fans when I ask, 'What is going on with this team?' Are they going to admit that they are suddenly in a rebuild season, or are they still trying to say the glass is half-full? Coach Zimmer may not have ever had a bad defense but as they say, there is a first time for everything. It seems they have a little too much youth at the moment. It may bode well for years to come, but this season looks like it is a wash.

— Brian P.

We have improved on a weekly basis. We played Seattle tough. I feel like we were climbing out of a hole and just jumped back in. I do not know what is happening behind the scenes, but I feel we were not prepared. The players and coaches need to do a lot of soul searching. This is not Vikings football.

— Gerald Goblirsch

There is plenty of fan frustration after Sunday's loss, and rightfully so. I decided to put Brian and Gerald's separate questions together as they both pertain to the current state of the team through six weeks.

It was Zimmer's mentor, Bill Parcells, who had the infamous line that you are what your record says you are. The fact is, the Vikings are 1-5, haven't been consistent as a team all season and just didn't play good football on Sunday.

Through five games, there were improvements and areas to glean positivity from. The offense was humming and looked explosive, and the defense was coming off its best overall performance of the season, even if it was in a loss to Seattle.

But the on-field performance in Week 6 against the Falcons was embarrassing on both sides of the ball. Kirk Cousins threw a bad interception on the very first play of the game, setting the tone for nearly three quarters of poor play. The Vikings defense couldn't get off the field on third downs, and let the Falcons march up and down the field to the tune of 40 points and 462 yards.

Now, as the Vikings enter their bye, they will need to take a long, hard look at what they expect of themselves for the final 10 games in 2020.

Before the season, the expectation — both internally and externally — was that this team should contend for another playoff berth. The 2019 squad won a road playoff game and captured double-digit wins … that was where the bar set in 2020, too, even amidst all of the weird obstacles to overcome in 2020.

But through six games, it's clear the Vikings playoff hopes are all but dashed.

The defense has endured roster turnover and unfortunate injuries, but that unit just doesn't have the experience or depth to keep the Vikings in games, much less dictate the flow, like years past.

Offensively, there is plenty of frustration, from a quarterback who has a league-high 10 interceptions to an offensive line that has struggled to keep him clean for the majority of the season.

There are plenty of prideful people inside this organization, from the front office, the coaching staff and on the roster. But perhaps the rest of the season is played out with an eye on the 2021 season?

Who stands out that you want to keep around? Who has struggled and might not be back? And what does the long-term outlook of this franchise look like?

At 1-5, the Vikings to have to be among the league's most disappointing teams thus far. But their play on the field hasn't been consistent enough to earn a better record entering the bye.

I think it is time to move on from Kirk Cousins. He has the arm and can make the throws, but it appears the game is too fast for him. It shows in his interceptions, and his inability to throw the ball away to avoid the sack and his fumbles. It has become glaringly obvious that there are times he doesn't see and react to what he should. Yes, the offensive line has struggled in pass protection, but the turnovers are all his. His sacks, safeties, fumbles and interceptions have cost us too many games. The Vikings need to draft a QB, perhaps someone like NDSU's Trey Lance. I would hate to lose Coach Zimmer and General Manager Rick Spielman because the owners get tired waiting for wins that Cousins can't deliver. I have been a fan since 1961. I am 72, and I would like to see a Super Bowl championship just once before I go.

— Jerry Carrier in Lakeville, Minnesota

Thanks for the email, Jerry, and your longtime support of the franchise. I touched on this above, and in this breakdown of Cousins and the offense after the game, but you raise a fair question.

If Cousins continues to struggle for the rest of the season, what does that mean for his future in Minnesota?

Fresh off a Pro-Bowl season in 2019, the Vikings and Cousins agreed on a multi-year extension in March. The deal added two seasons onto his current three-year deal, meaning he is under contract until the end of the 2022 season.

The hope inside the organization was that Cousins would continue to thrive in a scheme that amplified his strengths: play-action and rollout passes built around a strong running game.

But through six games, Cousins is making mistakes that just leave you puzzled. His first interception Sunday — on the first throw of the game — was a throw Cousins said he might have made as a rookie in 2012, but shouldn't have in his 94th career start.

There was plenty of buzz on social media if the Vikings would bench Cousins at halftime. They did not, and he played better in the second half following his three first-half interceptions.

But after the game, Cousins seemed to note that he knows he needs to step up his game, or else he won't have earned his starting spot on the field.

"You just have to play well in this business," Cousins said. "And the reality is if the pace that I'm on in terms of the interceptions were to continue, I won't finish the season, you know what I mean."

Depending on how the Vikings fare the rest of this season — and what draft pick they end up with — perhaps the quarterback position is an area they look at in the offseason. That's a thought that wasn't on anybody's radar entering the 2020 season.

While I never personally met Sid Hartman, I always enjoyed his questions of the team. He was a true professional. Wishing the Hartman family condolences, what a truly amazing life. Miss you, Sid.

— Mike Boswell

When the news broke of Sid's passing during the second half of Sunday's game, I almost couldn't believe it.

It's been nearly five years since I moved to Minnesota, and I quickly learned what an icon and larger-than-life figure he was in the Twin Cities.

View photos of legendary sports reporter, Sid Hartman, who passed away on Oct. 18.

Sid, who turned 100 in March, was a guy that you thought would always be around. And as the sentiments poured in on social media, there were countless comments about how hard he worked and how his connections helped shape the Minnesota sports landscape for more than 50 years.

Even into his upper 90s, Sid was still working, and you could tell he loved it. He had a column on Adam Thielen in Sunday's Star Tribune.

Sid left an unforgettable mark on Minnesota, and he will be missed. What a legacy, and what a life.

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