Minnesota Vikings fans are delusional if they think they can win the Super Bowl without Adrian Peterson.
Fans thought the season was over when Teddy Bridgewater went down with a torn ACL, but Rick Spielman seemed to save the day by swinging a huge trade for Sam Bradford.
Bradford played great in the Vikings' week 2 win over Green Bay, and fan enthusiasm went even higher.
And then Adrian Peterson went down with a knee injury of his own and despite the euphoria associated with beating the Packers, fans found themselves holding their breaths.
Now we've learned that Peterson will miss at least this season and may be done for good. And we've looped right back around to where we were after Bridgewater's injury.
With Peterson gone, the Super Bowl now seems out of reach.
This may sound like an overly-pessimistic view, especially in light of the Vikings' week 3 win over defending NFC champs Carolina and overall 3-0 record, but let's face facts: the Vikings can't keep winning with the formula they used against Carolina.
As great as the Vikings' defense appears to be, they are not going to keep stuffing people the way they stuffed Carolina.
Eventually Minnesota must complement their great D with a viable offense. And without Adrian Peterson drawing attention from defenses, they have zero chance of mustering that offense.
The Vikings' offensive line is brutal right now and the running backs they have are not going to be able to overcome that.
Sam Bradford is getting pounded behind that line and he will continue getting pounded.
Rick Spielman may have seemingly saved the season when he rolled the dice on Bradford, but unfortunately he can't make a similar big trade and apply a quick fix to the O-line.
Peterson could have still put up numbers and kept defenses honest, even with a terrible line. Jerick McKinnon, Matt Asiata and Ronnie Hillman can't put up numbers and won't keep defensive coordinators up at night.
With no running game, Bradford will have an even harder time staying on his feet. Without Peterson drawing attention, Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph and company won't find as many opportunities to get open.
Face facts Vikings fans: Minnesota's hopes of a Super Bowl vanished the second Peterson's knee gave way.
The Vikings will still have a good season and in all likelihood will make the playoffs, but until they can get that offensive line fixed and find a viable running back who can take pressure off the QB, they will remain a second-tier club.