Short Fan Diary of a 42-year-old Former Viking Fan
I grew up in a small town in Tennessee in the 70s as a child before moving to Nashville. I was a HUGE Vikings fan as a kid as my mother was from Minneapolis and my relatives from St. Cloud would always send us Vikings and Twins stuff. My father taught at the University. My mother was a nurse, even delivered George Mikan's baby, and attended the 1965 World Series (which I did not find out until 1991). I was inundated with Minnesota sports as a child and even remain a faithful and loyal Twins fan to this day. I saw the Twins twice in Chicago this past summer and was lucky to see one game at the new stadium (the Kevin Slowey 7 inning no-hitter). However, nothing is more emblazoned on my mind than than my fascination with and following of the Vikes as a youth.
The iconography of the teams (the Dallas star even today makes me bitter), seeing Bud Grant on the sidelines, exhaled breaths in the cold, Jimmy the Greek always giving the Vikings the "intangibles," Tarkentons's snap count and pass turning into the CBS every Sunday, Page, Eller, Marshall and football announcers always saying that no introduction was needed of the players as these guys had all been with the team so long. I remember like yesterday even though I was young the Pittsburgh and Oakland Super Bowls, the stupid Hail Mary, the game against the Bengals when Fran broke his leg, and Tommy Kramer's own lucky pass to Raschad against the Browns.
Fran Tarkenton was my hero and I loved to watch him scramble. He could make any play unpredictable. In retrospect it was amazing to think what a 5'10" guy with no arm in his mid-thirties was doing to get to 3 Super Bowls. Not to mention all the other 30-somethings. Maybe since he was able to overachieve is what I liked about him. I remained a Vikings fan for years and years, but I remember what the end looked like. It was the 1998 season when the Vikings went 15-1 and were the favorites to win it all. The one and only Vikings game I ever saw in person was December 26, 1998 at small Vanderbilt Stadium (like Monday night coming up).. I had already moved away and was back home to see my Mom with my 2 young kids. I was rooting for Chris Carter (wow great hands) and this new guy Randy Moss and was most pleased as the Vikes stomped the "Tennesse Oilers."
Well they botched the NFC championship game. By the next fall, following most of my friends back at home, I was a became a Tennessee Titans fan, saying goodbye to the Vikings.
The game on Monday, on the 29th anniversary of the last game at Met Stadium, brought back my memories to the fore. Too bad they are not playing the Dolphins.
Good luck Vikings! If you like the accommodations Monday, maybe instead of a redundant stadium, someone can pony up to expand TCF field to 80,000 seats as planned as an option and that can be your home on Sundays, outside where the game belongs.