MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Football season in Minnesota has been laid to rest for the next few months, and it’s a time for reflection.

The Minnesota Vikings cleaned out their lockers and said their goodbyes Sunday at TCO Performance Center before hibernating for the winter after their loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday.

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The Vikings performed respectably well this past season. They turned around an offense that was in danger of being completely inept, and grinded and fought through a season that tested their resolve.

They have also learned quite a bit about themselves. The players know they are capable of so much, and, at the very least, defensive end Everson Griffen has identified one way the Vikings can improve for the next season.

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“It was a great year for us. You know, it didn’t end like we wanted it to end, but San Fran, they came out with a great game plan and they won the game,” Griffen said. “But, you know, I’m proud of the guys in this locker room, I’m proud of this team, and, you know, we just got to figure out a way to win in a big situation then. You know, yesterday, we didn’t get that done.”

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Not only are the Vikings done for the season, but the team has lost one of its coaches. Offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski is on his way to the Cleveland Browns. That team saw what he accomplished in his role, and they seemed to be impressed.

If anyone understands what Stefanski went through to get this opportunity, it’s wide reciever Adam Thielen.

“Really cool to see a guy that just, you know, has grinded, and made it through several different coaching changes, and, you know, stayed here for a long time, which in this business doesn’t happened very often,” Thielen said. “It’s just a testament to him and his character and really how appreciated his was in this organization. And I’m happy for him to get that bump.”

Now, after Saturday night, you might doubt him. But overall, he was able to fix an offense that was committed to running, with an offensive line that would let you down in big games. And it performed quite well given the circumstances.

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Maybe the Browns think he can fix their offense. It would be a tall order, but if Stefanski can do it, he will be a hero.

Norman Seawright III