To say the 2021 NFL season was a disappointment for the Minnesota Vikings would be an understatement. The Vikings, who featured a talented roster on both sides of the field, entered the year with aspirations of returning to the playoffs after failing to do so in 2020. But like the previous season, Minnesota will not be taking part in postseason action once again this year, after failing to miss the playoffs for a second consecutive campaign.
On Sunday afternoon in the regular-season finale at US Bank Stadium, Minnesota returned home and took the field one last time against the Chicago Bears in a game of lasts for the team and possibly personnel throughout the organization (on Monday the Vikings fired Mike Zimmer). And much like the entire regular season, the Vikings Week 18 contest was a perfect microcosm of their 2021 season.
With many questions now present with the off-season underway for Minnesota, it was another disappointing game to put a bow on a frustrating year for the purple and gold.
Minnesota Vikings Week 18 Game Was a Perfect Microcosm for Their 2021 Season
Questionable Play Calling
The Vikings Week 18 game began like others fans witnessed far too often this season, with Minnesota featuring questionable play-calling specifically on the offensive side of the ball. Under first-year offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak, the Vikings offense was less-than-impressive during the 2021 season even while featuring some of the top talent in the NFL.
There is no reason Minnesota’s offense should have struggled to put up points like it did the entire year and once again in Week 18, but one of the things that held back the offense both on Sunday and in the other 16 games was the play calling by Kubiak and the coaching staff.
The Vikings offense is a unit that has the likes of Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, and Justin Jefferson, among others. That should be more than enough firepower to make Minnesota one of the more feared offenses in the league. Yet that group seemed to have been held back this year, and once again in Week 18, they did not take chances down the field and lacked aggressiveness.
Against a Bears team that is not what it used to be defensively, the Vikings offense struggled to move the ball down the field and continued to settle for dink-and-dunk plays that resulted in too many punts. When Minnesota finally was aggressive in the fourth quarter, they were able to move the ball and ultimately put up points on the scoreboard. But when that only happens less than a handful of times in a game, a team is not going to win many games.
The questionable play-calling was an issue all season long in Minnesota, and it would not be a surprise if Kubiak was fired before the team returns to the field in 2022.
Continued Disappointment in an Underwhelming Season
Going into their final game the season was already lost for Minnesota, so there already was not much to play for. But with the entire Vikings team taking the field and ultimately playing in the game, they were viewed as a team that should come away with a win against a Bears squad that isn’t as good.
But yet again, Minnesota played down to its opposition like fans have seen many times, and were disappointing yet again. The Vikings Week 18 showing was filled with many face-palm-worthy moments and put a bow on a year that could have and likely should have ended much differently for Minnesota. The team had multiple opportunities to not only win games throughout the year, but even had a shot at the postseason as late as Week 17.
The Vikings 2021 season was full of underwhelming performances, including Week 18, and will likely lead to an off-season of change in Minnesota.