At 5:28 PM Central time, this site welcomed its one millionth visitor.
One million. Good lord, that's a lot.
When I was first blessed with the opportunity to run this site nearly three years ago. . .our third birthday is a week from Friday, if you're scoring at home (or even if you're by yourself). . .I never in my wildest, craziest dreams thought that it would ever grow into something this size. I had no idea that a website that I was the driving force behind could ever become what I think is the standard-bearer for the Minnesota Vikings' corner of the blogosphere. Really, there are so many things that are going through my mind about this at the moment, but I'm so completely humbled by the size of this that I really don't have the words to express them all.
A little more than three years ago, I came across SBNation. . .and more specifically Windy City Gridiron. . .while I was looking for stuff about the NFC North. As I read WCG, I said to myself, "You know, I think I could do something like this." Not because I thought I was a better writer than the guys at WCG, mind you. . .they've done outstanding work over on their site. . .but because I thought that I was the sort of passionate fan that could talk about the Vikings pretty much all year, on just about any topic that related to the Beloved Purple. So I found a contact address and asked if they had any interest in a guy that would love to do a Minnesota Vikings' blog for the network.
Tyler, one of the head guys at SBNation and the founder of SBNation's first ever blog (Athletics Nation), wrote me back and asked if I had anything that I could submit as sort of a writing sample. And so I had to turn to my personal blog, which I had been toiling on in relative obscurity, to see if I had anything. I had put together a lot of rants about the Vikings on that site, but I wasn't sure if I had anything that was worthy of something as big as SBNation. I dug through my archives, and I found this story about my reaction to learning that Daunte Culpepper had been carted off the field in Carolina. It wasn't a very long story, but I thought it pretty well summed up how I felt about the situation.
After a few days, Tyler wrote me back and told me that they were willing to give me a shot. On 10 July 2006, I made the first post on this website. This was followed by the first actual Vikings post on the morning of 11 July.
And now, the odometer has rolled past the one million mark. It's mind-blowing. I really have no other way to describe it.
There are so many people that need to be thanked at this point. I didn't get here by myself. . .after all, I'm sure that no more than 500,000 of those 1,000,000 hits belong to me.
The first would definitely have to be my wife Casey. . .who I lovingly refer to as Mrs. Gonzo around these parts. . .who has given me more encouragement to pursue this website than anybody. I couldn't ask for a more wonderful, understanding wife than her. Three full seasons of my ranting and raving about the Vikings. . .she actually hears the ranting and the raving, while you all get the benefits of getting to read my thoughts in relative silence. And, yet, she puts up with me anyway. She truly is something special, and she deserves every bit as much credit as I do for this site being where it is today.
I have to thank Tyler and the rest of the folks behind the scenes at SBNation. They took a chance on some guy who had no more formal writing experience than writing for his school newspaper in high school and his ranting and raving on his own personal website, and gave him the keys to the car, the gas to get to where he needed to go, and money for munchies along the way. There is not a better company on the internet to work for than SBNation, and anybody that's spent any length of time on any of the 201 sites that make up this network would likely have to agree.
I need to thank the rest of the SBNation writers, and in particular the ones that comprise SBNation's NFL community. From e-mail exchanges to rivalries with other sites to discussions about football in general to podcasting and everything in-between, the people that write for the other 31 NFL blogs in this network make up the most talented group of individuals that I've ever been associated with. Having managed to stumble my way into this group of people is akin to Zach Morris pulling a 1502 on his SATs and actually getting into Harvard.
(Yeah, a Saved By the Bell reference. Yeah, I'm old. I've learned to deal with it.)
I need to thank all my co-writers that have contributed to the site to this point. Eric, Andrew, Mike, and Anthony have all done outstanding jobs to this point. Sadly, other opportunities have opened up for Andrew at this point, and he will no longer be a contributing writer to the site. Well, it's sad for us, I mean, but it's great news for Andrew, obviously. However, Anthony, Eric, Mike, and myself will continue to carry the flag for this site for as long as SBNation will have all of us.
Most of all, I need to thank each and every one of you readers out there. Everyone that's ever put up a FanPost. Everyone that's ever typed up a FanShot. Anyone that's sat here with us through the 49 game threads this site has seen in three seasons of Vikings football. Anyone that's ever commented on any other story on the site. Heck, anyone that's even just lurked here and read what we've had to offer. Every single one of you is what makes this site what it is. Your praise, your criticism, your feedback. . .those are the things that make a blog great, and you guys come through in that regard every single day. From the bottom of my heart, thanks to each and every one of you for making this possible.
I've been told that the first million hits are the toughest to get. The road to the second million has already started. And I hope that each and every one of you out there will help us get to that point.
Thank you again, Viking Nation.