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Vikings' offseason moves, embracing of uncertainty show commitment to building a winner

Mixed emotions from Vikings fans on Kirk Cousins news
Mixed emotions from Vikings fans on Kirk Cousins news 03:19

MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings' actions this offseason have finally shown an encouraging change in philosophy. The franchise is at peace with some uncertainty that could result in a short-term slide while keeping a long-term view at the forefront of their decisions.

The foggy picture ahead is much better than the consistent mediocrity we've seen from the team the last 15 years.

If the goal is to hang a banner, it's fruitless to build a team consistently in playoff contention without legitimate Super Bowl aspirations. It appears Vikings' general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah believes that, too.

Stay in contention, fill the stadium, give fans reason to hope... and only hope. It's time to be a less predictable organization. 

The Vikings have the ninth-highest winning percentage all-time and are the only franchise in the top 15 without a Super Bowl. 

The organization has shown this offseason its commitment to getting over the mountaintop.

MORE VIKINGS: Ex-Packer Aaron Jones gets a fresh start as the Vikings enter their post-Kirk Cousins era

When discussing trading up lots of draft capital to move up in the first round and select a quarterback, Adofo-Mensah said last week, "Just because something is risky doesn't mean you're scared of it." He continued, "It's uncertain, and we got to take our swing. That doesn't give us any pause."

That should sound like music to fans.

The Vikings won only one playoff game in six years with former quarterback Kirk Cousins. Blame it on roster management, former coach Mike Zimmer, the offensive line, the defense or Cousins — it does not matter. What does is this: the team was never a true Super Bowl contender with Cousins. There were too many deficiencies. That would have likely remained the case had he re-signed.

That's why fans should be thrilled with this offseason: They won't have to cling to an 'in the hunt' graphic all December as proof of their team's legitimacy. Instead, the team focused on the longer-term direction of the franchise.

The roster management contributing to consistent mediocrity is why the Twin Cities market is in the longest drought of any metro with four major men's professional sports teams in the country: 119 consecutive seasons without a championship appearance.

Prioritizing the hope of building a championship team — not a playoff team — is what counts.

The Vikings will likely be worse at the quarterback position for the next bit due to Cousins' departure. That is OK.

The team is in a position to draft a quarterback near the top of the draft, potentially higher than any other time in franchise history.

Adofo-Mensah and coach Kevin O'Connell have risked a lot on this offseason. That should be exhilarating for fans because, at the very least, they know what can't happen for the next few years: a 'relevant' team on paper in training camp not being relevant when it counts. 

The team has prioritized improving the defense, with notable acquisitions in end Jonathan Greenard, and linebackers Andrew Van Ginkel and Blake Cashman. Adofo-Mensah will have a ton of cap space heading into next year, likely including a quarterback on a rookie deal. 

MORE VIKINGS: Vikings to host NFL Draft party event at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 25

There may not be a Super Bowl in Minnesota any time soon. A lot has to go right, and first-round quarterbacks bust at an alarming rate.

Adofo-Mensah understands the risk.

"If you get the [quarterback] right, and he's your answer for 10 years, there's no price you probably wouldn't have paid," he said.

That should be encouraging for fans. Changing the organizational philosophy was the precursor to getting a glimpse of the Lombardi trophy. 

Now let's see how they do.

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