Around the Horns: 2011 shades of ugly

October, 18, 2013
10/18/13
8:00
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Welcome to Around the Horns, our daily look at what's happening on the Vikings beat:

Chad Greenway first invoked the year when the Vikings lost 35-10 to Carolina on Sunday. Leslie Frazier bristled when he was asked about it on Thursday. Around the Vikings' facility in Eden Prairie, Minn., 2011 might as well be a word with four letters, not a year with four numbers.

The Vikings went 3-13 that year, matching the worst 16-game record in team history, finishing last in the NFC North and ending the season with Adrian Peterson undergoing reconstructive knee surgery. The year began with a failed experiment at quarterback (Donovan McNabb), a putrid secondary and questions about whether Frazier would keep his job. And as Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes, the Vikings' 2013 season is starting to bear some resemblance to that year.

"In 2011, the Vikings went into their sixth game with a 1-4 record, a struggling secondary and their best defensive back — cornerback Antoine Winfield — sidelined indefinitely because of a neck injury," Craig writes. "This year, the Vikings head into their sixth game with a 1-4 record, a struggling secondary and their best defensive back — free safety Harrison Smith — sidelined indefinitely because of a turf toe injury suffered in Sunday’s loss to the Panthers."

If the Vikings' season ends up anywhere near where their 2011 campaign did, it will likely carry some dire consequences for the organization. It would essentially mean their rebuilding program has taken a major step backward after a 10-6 season last year, and would probably call into question whether Frazier and general manager Rick Spielman should get another chance to lead the team. We're a long ways from that, but as Craig points out, the Vikings' path to this point has traveled some of the same ground.

Here are today's other Vikings stories of note:

Ben Goessling

ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter

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