Another loss was added to the loss column this Sunday, as the Vikings let another lead slip away from them in the closing moments of the game, again begging the question: What did we learn from this contest?
It's not as if the Vikings played a terrible game—offensively that is—but it was pretty much what everyone has been used to seeing this season, with the Vikings keeping the contest close only to fall late in the game in an almost inexplicable manner.
Let's take a look at a few other lessons.
Vikings running back Toby Gerhart put in yet another stellar performance for the injured Adrian Peterson, rushing for 91 yards and catching eight balls for 41 yards.
Gerhart showed both poise and patience running the ball while also showing just how difficult of a back he truly is to bring down.
A wonderful example in a trying time to say the least.
Imagine this Vikings offense another year from now, with some added experience under Ponder's belt, and one, or even two quality competitive receivers on the field.
The receivers on the field for the Vikings right now are playing no better than bench level, with little separation at the line and poor route running.
Don't get me wrong, in a replacement role, or filler role, these guys would be rather ideal, but aside from Percy Harvin, nobody on this team is starting wide-out material, lending notice to the fact that the Vikings absolutely need to target a high-profile receiver either in the draft or in free-agency.
For anyone to think that this guy isn't going to throw a few picks here and there—especially to the better cover-men in the league—would just be silly.
For Christian Ponder, however, his first time around the May Pole as a pro isn't really going that bad at all, especially when you consider what he has to work with.
Ponder is already known for his football intelligence and his high learning curve, and we are beginning to see signs of that growth, maturing at a torrent pace.
At this point in the season, there is really no reason to not let some of these younger players occupying rental space on the bench play.
When your season is basically over, it is almost customary for teams and coaching staffs to allow these players to suit up, put on their hat and get out there and show what they've got, something the Vikings should begin doing next week.
I won't get too involved with this, as I am doing another more in-depth piece on this topic later this week, so ya'll have to wait!
In hindsight, there are several points to this season that many of us can simply pick apart and say: "if the Vikings [ENTER TEXT HERE]."
But the fact of the matter is, this is the perfect time to begin taking a forward look at the offseason and the possible aspects that can take a season left in ruination, and cultivate the new year into a reversal of fortunes.
Between the 2012 NFL Draft, NFL free agency and a full offseason, the Vikings have plenty to look forward to this offseason, even if the 2011 season has left a stain in their mouth.
We as writers and fans already know that this team is a bit better than their horrid 2-10 record suggests.
I can easily make debate over the notion that the Vikings could've easily been 7-5 right now, but they're not, and here we are.
This type of situation allows a team, and their fanbase, to begin mentally exploring the vast amounts of opportunities that will be ahead of them as solutions to what exactly ails them.
Does it fix the current situation? No. But there always comes a point where you have to let go, even if you don't want to, in an effort to explore other options, and find a new way—exactly where the Vikings are.
And where these Vikings always are, winds up being the same location—in spirit—as their fan-base.
Keep with me all week, as I begin to take a look at what the future holds for the Vikings.