Xavier Woods on a disappointing season: ‘We thought we had a good team’

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With one week left in the regular season, Minnesota Vikings safety Xavier Woods is stuck in that weird place between preparing for a game on Sunday and reflecting on the disappointing season as a whole. There will surely be a lot of the latter in the coming days, now that the team is officially ousted from playoff contention.

The Vikings checked all of the boxes on paper—franchise quarterback, a dynamic rushing attack, top-flight receivers and a talented defense with a dominant pass rush. And yet, despite all of those things, the Vikings are sitting at 7-9 with all of their elaborate postseason avenues blocked off.

There’s nothing left to do now but reflect, quite honestly.

“I’m definitely surprised. Speaking for all of us, I definitely thought we had a chance to make a run for the title,” Woods said, when speaking with the media on Monday. “Certain teams come into camp and know they have a good team, and so the team just kind of bluffs it. We thought we had a good team, but we just didn’t put it together.”

The Vikings plummeted defensively all the way to No. 31 out of 32 teams in yards allowed. They were giving up 385.4 total yards per game on average, which was the second-most behind the New York Jets. That obviously isn’t the best company to keep for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.

But there were definitely games when the Vikings looked like they might be destined for something or at least more than they ended up getting.

“We were inconsistent. We showed spurts where we could be a good defense, like the first half of our game against the Pittsburgh Steelers,” said Woods. “I think that was our best half of football the entire year, and then we just lost it in the second half. That just attributes to the inconsistency throughout the entire year.”

Injuries, COVID, and an inability to close out tight games concocted this head-scratcher of a season. It’s something Woods and so many others are struggling to wrap their brain around.