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Vikings face uncertain offseason after blowout loss

The Minnesota Vikings were favorites in their NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Minnesota had advanced to the contest on the back of a 61-yard Stefon Diggs miracle touchdown. It was laying three points going into Lincoln Financial Field. Maybe it shouldn’t have been.

The Vikings scored the first points of the night but then allowed 38 unanswered in a 38-7 blowout. That leaves the Eagles going to Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, Minnesota in a state of both shock and uncertainty.

Minnesota had all the stars line up. The Vikings were able to win the NFC North due to their own talent. Although it was also the break of Aaron Rodgers’ right clavicle, shelving him for 10 weeks and putting the Green Bay Packers on ice. The Seattle Seahawks lost a trio of defensive stars in Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman and Cliff Avril. This led to a 9-7 season and a missed trip to the playoffs. The Dallas Cowboys regressed with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott taking a step back. While the Los Angeles Rams still were a year away from being a major force.

Factor in the Minneapolis Miracle, and the torn ACL of Carson Wentz, and everything lined up for Minnesota to finally get back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1976. Still, the Vikings came up a game short and face the possibility that things are about to radically change.


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For starters, all three of Minnesota’s quarterbacks are free agents. The Vikings could use the franchise tag to retain one of Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater or Sam Bradford, but the cost would be more than $20 million. However, Minnesota has a projected $57 million in cap space, so the option is certainly available to general manager Rick Spielman.

Before Sunday, the choice seemed to be Keenum, but after a three-turnover affair that saw the veteran crumble under pressure, new questions arise. Is Keenum more than a one-year wonder that will likely improve with more experience as a starter, or is this his ceiling? Then there is Bridgewater, who hasn’t played in two years following a gruesome leg injury. Can the former first-round pick and 25-year-old come back and deliver on the promise we saw in his first two seasons, or will he fail to completely recover from such a setback?

Bradford seems to be the easy choice, considering he has been injury prone throughout his career. It would be a shock if the Vikings are all to retain the former No. 1 overall pick in a quarterback-starved league.

Regardless of their decision, the Vikings are going to look different come 2018. Unfortunately for them, so will a loaded NFC that is bound to be healthier — and even tougher — come September.

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