I was going to save this for later on this week, but after this Sunday's game against the 'Phins, maybe this will help put things into perspective.
There's a brand new DVD out, entitled 'The History of the Minnesota Vikings'. I pre-ordered it thru Amazon and I just got it a few days ago. 50 Years of Purple and Gold!For those who don't want to read through SOME of my pitiful highlights, I'll give you the upshot now. Buy This DVD Set. Now.
There's two DVDs in a single box form-factor, and personally I appreciate the space savings. Each DVD has about 3 hours of rockin' Viking footage!
The first DVD covers the history of the Minnesota Vikings from the first draft of the first year, through today. 50 years of Purple Excellence!
The second DVD has the following special features;
- America's Game - 1969 Vikings
- America's Game - 1969 Vikings
- Bud Grant - The Quiet Leader
- The Stars and Robert Smith
- Peterson and Bienemy - The Odd Couple
A review of a small sample of it follows the jump :)
For those who remember the original squad that stood up in 1961 or the succeeding squads that came after, this is enough to bring tears of joy to your eyes. If you never heard of any of those guys from the way-back-when, this DVD is your chance to meet them. Hugh McElhenny, Tommy Mason, Fran Tarkenton, Norm Van Brocklin, Carl Eller, Jim Marshall, Bud Grant, Joe Kapp, and so many more.
Some of the early footage has clearly been somewhat enhanced, but it's all to the good. When you watch the early games you can really see the difference in how the game was played. It was a much more down and dirty, in the trenches style of gridiron warfare and some of these boys were just plain hulks charging down the field.
For me, the biggest treat was watching #10 scramble again. Yes, there's been plenty of great QBs before, and since, but for my money it's Fran Tarkenton all the way. When he dropped back to throw, it didn't matter what happened, you always had the sense that he was looking for a way to make things happen, to snatch victory one more time. You were always content with his play because you knew, even if he threw an interception, that there was no question he had done the very best job that could be asked of a QB.
The next best thing was the highlights of the old Purple People Eater squad. Eller, Marshall, Page, and Larson. And Paul Krause holding down the secondary. Great memories there! Watching the footage of them blocking kicks and punts is a real treat too, there was a time when no team in the NFL came close to the Vikings in blocking the booters.
Something else that comes back to life is what it's like to watch games played in the old Met, in the snow. They showed one game where, after the Vikings one, the fans came down out the stands and flooded across the field to carry the players out! How things have changed!
You get to watch the entire team mature from a group of tough guys to a group of professional tough guys. Everything they had done well in the '60s, they did even better in the '70s. When Tarkenton returns the tenor of the team changes and Foreman puts the stamp on it with his amazing runs.
The Purple People Eaters become a force of nature, shutting down most of the NFL and giving the Vikings multiple records of least points allowed in a season. Again you see them playing in snow storms, and Marshall talks of how the team used to start chanting "Odin, Odin, Odin" as the temperature fell in the stadium, freaking out the other teams. Remember back then, Grant didn't allow the Vikings to have heaters on their sidelines and if the sunshine teams wanted heaters, they had to bring their own.
The footage shows the '74, '75, and '76 squads terrorizing the Redskins and Cowboys, and yes, they show the infamous Pearson pushoff with a commentary by Paul Krause who was right there to see it and was pointing at Pearson on the field. That was also the game where Tark lost his dad, who had a heart attack during that game. They also show the footage of Sammy White being nailed by Tatum and Thomas in Super Bowl XI, another grudge I personally do not forget. I also don't forget that Sammy caught that damned ball.
You watch the passing of the torch from the early squads to the new. Tommy Kramer comes in as Tark's successor, and you see Foreman and Ricky Young as a dominating backfield. Ahmad Rashad and Sammy White were an amazing WR tandem and you get to see why.
This was Kramer's time and you can see why we thought he was the future. The old Met is left behind for the Metrodome, and while it's been a great stadium, you can really see what was lost when the open-air games were gone from Minnesota.
Unfortunately, we get to see Les Steckle and Steve Dils again, memories best left forgotten.
Kramer's favorite targets were Steve Jordon and Anthony Carter and Hassan Jones, just amazing. And it's always nice to watch Jaws getting sacked once again, never did like him very much, can't much stand him now. The defensive secondary is held down by Carl Lee and Joey Browner patrolling downfield, and if you never got to see those guys, watch closely. Along with Keith Millard, Chris Doleman, and Al Noga, they made sure that in 1988 the Vikings average margin of victory was 3 touchdowns!
- - - - - - - - - -
Ok. That's it. No more (and there's lots more to see :) ). Go get this DVD and watch the thing yourself, this is DVD set is a real feast for any Vikings fan.
It's well put together and it really shows you that the Minnesota Vikings are a team which has ALWAYS been a threat to win, and has a 50 year tradition of excellence in professional football, a record that stands up against any other team in the NFL. Yes, Super Bowl victories are the final measure of success but that takes nothing away from the consistently great football which this team has brought to the grid. There's so many great moments, so many great players and great squads, that quite frankly there's not enough time to dwell too much on the few down periods or bad moments in the franchise's history.
If you were there from the beginning, this is a romp through memory lane that will have you ready to leap to your feet just like you did the first time through it.
If you're a newer Viking fan, this is an invaluable look at the amazing history that came before, and you'll know why some of those old guys are held in such high regard even today.
If you're brand new to the Vikings, this is the DVD that will bring you up to speed and demonstrate that you've come to the right team. The Minnesota Vikings.
Watch this, get a sense of the history and the momentum of the Minnesota Vikings, and you'll know that even without a Lombardi, there's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of and a heck of a lot to be damned proud of. Hopefully the powers-that-be will get the stadium issue resolved soon and we can look forward to another 50 years of Purple and Gold football in Minnesota.