I’ve been a Vikings fan as long as I have been watching football. Anthony Carter lured me in and I watched as they acquired Cris and they became one of the best tandems in the NFL at that time. I never had a great deal of optimism going into each season other than just my general desire for the Vikings to do well, of course I didn’t understand the game as well or pay attention to the off season as much but I still loved watching the Vikings every Sunday during my junior and senior high years. I remember getting pumped every single Sunday in ’98 as the Vikings tore through the league like a bulldozer through Paper Mache. I also remember the fury and subsequent heartache as Denny Green took a knee in the 4th quarter and played for OT as the Falcons kicked a FG for the win. I remember the Daunte years, the near MVP performance and the humiliating loss to the Giants in the NFC Championship game. I remember watching the beast that is All-Day Adrian Peterson as he shredded defenses with what most considered a “risky pick on an injury prone RB”. Also remember the heartache of 2009 as a lack of focus, coaching and a bad throw ended our Super Bowl run. However, none of those can compare to the rollercoaster ride or turmoil the Vikings have put their fan base through this year.
I came into the season with a guarded neutral feeling towards the season. I wasn’t expecting anything great, maybe a .500 season but if they had a losing record I would not have been surprised. I knew we were already behind the eight ball with the shortened off-season, a new coaching staff and offensive scheme but became slightly encouraged by the preseason performance. They didn’t “WOW” us but the Viking performed admirably and showed some real potential but I still went into the year with a neutral outlook and expectations. I felt at least this season could not possibly be worse or more difficult than last season. Unfortunately, thus far, I have been wrong.
I have never had my hopes risen more by the Vikings only to have them trounced on and dashed into oblivion. I fully expected the San Diego game to be a full out, taken behind the woodshed beating by the Chargers, especially with K-Will being out, but they surprised me and raised my hopes going into halftime with not only the lead but a dominate defensive performance. Then someone drugged our beloved Vikings and put doppelgangers in their place and threw the game away in the last few minutes. The next week I came into with a less than positive outlook, expecting the Vikings to match up well but not knowing what to expect and in the first half they blew away my expectations yet again! First half, Vikings 17, Bucs 0. I thought, ‘Maybe, just maybe, they learned from last week and will play through the second half. Yet once again, I was left heartbroken, like a geek who landed a date with the hot cheerleader for the high school dance, only to be stood up and de-panted in front of the whole school.
This week, I have to admit, I fully expected the Vikings to be blown out. In fact I would have much rather preferred that outcome because then hopefully something could be learned from it. However, like the Aerosmith song, it was the same ol’ song and dance, only more devastating because, let’s face it, it is still the Lions, a team whose opponents in the NFC North have owned ever since the days of Barry Sanders ended. I watched as a phenomenal first half performance by AD, Jared Allen, B-Rob and the secondary (for most of the game) was wasted by inaccurate passing, idiotic mistakes and bone-headed plays, and what seems to be a complete breakdown in the play calling. I fell to an all-time low I believe watching the second half of this game, wondering how horrible the stud players, AD, Harvin, Allen, Robison, Winfield, Greenway, both Hendersons and Cook (for this game) must feel. They all made plays, set up the team in a place where it can succeed only to watch it be pissed away.
I am honestly not sure what to make of the Vikings this year. They still have a good core it seems. The defense played well except for a few breakdowns but the coaching staff seems to have this Little League, everyone deserves a shot at playing mentality. I cannot honestly come up with one good reason why T. Johnson or Berrian are on the field, let alone the team. McNabb is making good decisions it looks like with the ball but he just can’t execute those decisions with the accuracy that we need. Too many of the passes end up overthrown, in the ground or behind the intended target. Perhaps we do roll the dice with someone like Ponder or Webb and see if they can put a W in the win column. I understand there are going to be growing pains but those only come because something is getting better which, as of right now, is much preferred to the current condition or outlook of the Vikings.