It is on days like this that you really realize what is lost for fans during a lost season. Today's game should have been one of intense, back and forth emotion. There would be frustration (how are you letting one guy get a billion receiving yards?) and elation (the comeback). There would be awe (Adrian Peterson dragging us to victory yet again!) and perplexity (a penalty there?!?!?!?). When the game appears won and then is not, and the game appears lost and then is not, and then finally Adrian Peterson drags them there yet again and it is finally won.
Imagine what you would have felt today if the Vikes went into the game 6-5, even. This might go down as a truly memorable game: we'd be talking about bypassing the Hall of Fame waiting period and voting process, hell, bypassing the Hall of Fame itself, and just start carving Adrian Peterson's face into whatever rocky hillsides we could find in Minnesota (there are some!).
Instead the Vikings are 3-8-1, the Lions have everything set up for themselves to win the division, and this game is ultimately forgettable except as just one more example of Adrian Peterson heroically fighting to make a bad team compete.
We learn things (Greg Jennings might not be a long-term free agent bust if he gets competent quarterbacking), but we don't get the real passionate joyfulness.
That's what we've lost: even in a closely fought, interesting, back-and-forth, crazy game, we don't get passionate joyfulness.