Vikings

What Would a Vikings In-Season “Hard Knocks” Look Like?

Photo Credit: Raj Mehta (USA TODAY Sports)

Nothing gets football fans excited for the upcoming season like HBO’s Hard Knocks, an all-access show chronicling an NFL team’s training camp and preseason. This summer, Hard Knocks covered the Dallas Cowboys in the show’s 16th season.

Last Thursday, the NFL announced that Hard Knocks would return this year for the first-ever episodes that cover a team during the regular season. The Indianapolis Colts will be the team spotlighted, and the first episode will premiere on Nov. 17.

The Minnesota Vikings have not yet been featured on Hard Knocks, which is disappointing for football fans everywhere, considering all of the eye-catching content that this franchise has produced over the years. Could you imagine HBO following Brad Childress while he picked up Brett Favre from the airport? Or how much differently the Teddy Bridgewater knee injury may have been covered in 2016?

The Vikings are never short on drama and wacky storylines. The 2021 Vikings are no exception, and it’s slightly disappointing to see the NFL and HBO go with Indianapolis.

However, let’s say the Vikings were the subject of the upcoming Hard Knocks season. There are several plot points to follow with this team already after a disappointing 0-2 start. But which ones would get the most attention?

COVID-19 PRotocols and Vaccination Statuses

During training camp, Minnesota was at the center of attention as COVID-19 forced the team to be without three of its four quarterbacks for nearly a week. Third-round draft pick Kellen Mond tested positive for the virus and missed a significant amount of time while starting quarterback Kirk Cousins and second-year man Nate Stanley were forced to miss a few practices.

Even though Cousins and Stanley did not test positive, NFL protocols forced them to stay away from the team and its facilities because they were not vaccinated. Fans and media alike saw this and quickly realized how much it could impact the team during the regular season.

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer wasn’t shy when asked about his stance on getting vaccinated. It made many fans wonder how he handled the issue behind closed doors. Is Zimmer having one-on-one conversations with unvaccinated players? How do the vaccinated players feel about some of their teammates remaining unvaccinated despite the strict protocols? Perhaps Hard Knocks would reveal the answers to these questions.

How Mike Zimmer Handles the Hot Seat

Is Zimmer on the hot seat right now? Maybe. The seat is indeed warming up. Minnesota is off to an 0-2 start for the second consecutive season, and it doesn’t look like things will improve soon based on the upcoming schedule. After seven seasons and two playoff victories, it appears as if Zimmer’s tenure is starting to lose steam.

Do players have conversations about the head coach’s job security? Does the head coach discuss his status with members of the front office or his coaching staff? A look behind the scenes at that drama would require some popcorn.

The Vikings Kicker Curse

Is there something going on behind the scenes that causes Vikings kickers to struggle so much? Once again, they lost to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2 after multiple short kicks were missed. The Vikings have cycled through kickers at an alarming rate.

How does Greg Joseph handle the drama of missing a 37-yard field goal to win? How do the players and the coaches react after a loss like that? Fans are all too familiar with that feeling of despair when a Vikings kicker misses an important one. What is the locker room like when that happens?

Kirk Cousins

There are so many angles to cover when it comes to Cousins. He has one of the largest contracts in the game and is far and away the most scrutinized player on this team. Just by the way Cousins handles himself, there are many questions we’d love answers to. He isn’t super active on social media, has a pretty reserved personality, and doesn’t reveal a ton when speaking with the press.

What is life like for a quarterback making over $30 million in a season? Does he feel the heat from fans who may want to move on to a different starting quarterback? Does he feel the pressure of carrying this franchise to a Super Bowl? How does he interact with his teammates every day? What about the relationship with Zimmer? We see flashes of emotion from Cousins during games, but does he have that fire behind the scenes?

Of course, there are ample storylines that come up out of nowhere in any given season with this franchise. One would think the Vikings would be on the shortlist of franchises to be featured on Hard Knocks the next time they are eligible.

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