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The Vikings haven't made the playoffs in consecutive seasons since 2008-2009, when Brad Childress was coach and Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin were starring for the team. The pairing of coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman, which began in 2014, kept Minnesota from bottoming out, as the club never finished with fewer than seven wins. But postseason success was hard to come by, with just two playoff wins in eight years. Now, Zimmer and Spielman are out. The reset button has been pushed.

The problem is, where do they go from here? What can they do to get back on track?

You came to the right place. Here are five steps to help fix the Vikings:

1. Hire an up-and-coming GM

There's nothing inherently wrong with pursuing an experienced former GM to replace Spielman, but if the Vikings are going to start over up top, they might as well prioritize innovation. That could mean going especially outside the box, a la ESPN analyst and former personnel man Louis Riddick; or targeting a future GM like the Eagles' Brandon Brown, just promoted to director of player personnel in 2021; or giving someone like the Bills' Malik Boyd, a longtime scout, their first crack at the top job. No matter what, they need fresh eyes running the front office.

2. Hire an offensive head coach

Brian Flores might be the lone exception when it comes to defensive minds, but the Vikings have spent the past decade trying to get over the hump with a veteran coach from that side of the ball. It's 2022 now, time for a new approach. It's not like their defense, once a force under Zimmer, could be much more porous than it was this season. A beloved locker-room figure would be a welcome counter to Zimmer's more old-school bent, but the chief priority should be adding a proven game-planner, whether that's a trusted play-caller like ex-Eagles coach Doug Pederson or Bills coordinator Brian Daboll, or an up-and-comer like the Rams' Kevin O'Connell or Cowboys' Kellen Moore.

3. Shop Kirk Cousins

Cousins doesn't get nearly enough credit both in and outside Minnesota; he's a good starting QB with the rhythm to be efficient and the arm to make plays. But like Zimmer, his steadiness has rarely given way to greatness on the biggest stages. Can the Vikings win with Cousins in 2022, especially with a new coach? Yes. Should they field -- if not solicit -- offers for him anyway? Yes. Kellen Mond may not be the answer, and heck, even the top 2022 prospects may not prove elite, but Cousins is due $35 million on the final year of his deal -- all of which can instantly be saved via trade. Already in a tough salary-cap spot, the Vikings will not (and should not) outright cut Cousins, but they could stand to go all in on the rebuild by getting something for Kirk while they can.

4. Make tough decisions on defense

Yes, the defense is one of the biggest concerns, so it might seem backwards to consider cutting or trading big names and fan favorites. But the Vikings are gonna need more cap space one way or another, and even if they find a team willing to swallow Cousins' entire $35M price tag, they could afford to trim some money on a unit that consistently buckled in 2021. Veteran starters like Anthony Barr and Patrick Peterson should be allowed to hit the market, and it'd be wise for Minnesota to take calls on just about any of the following: Danielle Hunter (due $14.6M in 2021), Harrison Smith ($5.8M) and Michael Pierce ($6.5M).

5. Prioritize edge rusher and cornerback

Besides the QB dilemma (which, again, could be pretty dependent on the new coach and/or punted to 2023), the offense is in relatively good shape. Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn make up a mighty fine group of skill starters. They really need help on "D," though, where Hunter has been increasingly unavailable and Everson Griffen is set to depart once more. Relying once again on older plug-and-play CBs like Peterson and Bashaud Breeland, meanwhile, would be like putting Band-Aids on severe wounds.