The morning after.
I feel like I have a nasty hangover, and it takes a lot to give me a hangover.
This was a really, really tough loss to swallow, there was no question which team had more ability and talent on that field. But it goes to show that ability, and talent, aren't enough.
Congrats to the New Orleans Saints! In the battle of Monsters of the Mississippi, one at the north end and one at the south end, it was the boys from the delta who pulled off it. Well done, you guys were clutch.
I thought this was going to be Our Year, I really did. I was wrong, what else is new, it's happened before, it'll happen again, move along, move along, nothing to see here, folks.
Sure, there's things to b!tch about in the game, some missed penalties on the Saints, some really questionable hits on Favre, the really really obnoxious partisanship by the announcers who were all but weeping for the Saints to win. But the Vikings blew past all of that and never skipped a beat, none of it was a deciding factor in the game.
It's probably too early to writing about this, but it's catharsis time and me 'n the missus were awfully low last night over this one. It wouldn't have been as bad if the Vikings had simply been overpowered in the air, or on the ground, or defensively outplayed... but they weren't, and that's what hurts the most.
This time, they did it to themselves. They fumbled and bumbled their way through the game. Adrian Peterson is a great running back, but yesterday he was more a liability than an asset. Harvin is usually more reliable but he contributed to the dropsey-fest too. Favre got desperate and we saw flashes of the old 'gunslinger' trying to force passes out of reflex rather than making smart decisions. I counted, conservatively, two field goal opportunities with one of the most reliable booters in the NFL, missed. 6 points. Barring fumbles, that could have been 14. And that doesn't count the opportunities lost in failed 3rd down conversions which happened because Favre deviated from a proven winning formula.
The taste of this loss is bitter...
But then there's other considerations.
I'd rather we lose in the NFC Championship, than go to the Super Bowl and blow it there. Seriously. Best to not exceed our level of competence and add a 5th Super Bowl coulda-woulda-shoulda imaginary trophy to the ash-heap.
Yes, I said it. The Vikings are not competent to advance to the Super Bowl... THIS YEAR. The way they played against the Saints proved that. They had the talent, the ability, they had everything except the experience and presence of mind to HOLD ON TO THE DARNED BALL. Excuse me. Didn't really mean to yell, but I'll let it stand. Catharsis and all that.
So. That being said... I'm about to transition to looking towards the Pro Bowl. You know, the game where the Vikings have contributed almost 25% of the players for the NFC. --- [taking a short break to let the blood pressure drop ] --- . That should be an interesting game. One might even think of it as the last Viking game of the season. Sorta. Ok, maybe not. Still, we'll get to see a bunch of our best guys play one more time, so that's cool. Maybe they'll HOLD ON TO THE DARNED BALL THIS TIME. Oops.
Ok. And then there's the draft! Lots to look forward to, the Vikings management has proven to be exceptionally talented at picking up top talent. We have re-signs to look at, and of course, free agency. Who stays, who goes? Lots of good stuff ahead, before the pre-season begins.
Childress has bettered the team's record by a couple games each season he's been here... Two more games, next year, if he sticks to his schedule, and we'll be happier than pigs in a do-do wallow. Next year.
The Vikings are, over all, still a pretty young team. Sure, we got the old guy anchoring the D-line, and the other old guy anchoring the offense, and both could break out the walkers in the next few months, but that's ok. We know it's coming, and every extra year we have them with us is a blessing. The rest of the team is just entering it's prime, and they WILL be better next year, than they were this year. Our window has just opened and we have some time before it starts to close.
Also, next year is very special... it's the Vikings 50th anniversary. I wonder if, maybe, next year will be Our Year... it would make sense, historically, and being the anniversary and all. Hope's flame may flicker in the hurricane, but it never goes out. After all, I'm a Minnesota Vikings fan. :)