It happened again.
In what's beginning to look like the template for the season, the Minnesota Vikings started strong against the Detroit Lions on Sunday at the Dome. It was a brilliant 30 minutes of Vikings football followed by 30 minutes of disappointment as Detroit roared back to beat the Vikings 26-23 in overtime.
Reading the sports page after a Vikings' loss is about as refreshing and satisfying as that first Monday back to work after you spent your vacation trying to recover from severe food poisoning. That Monday morning postmortem of what went wrong during Sunday's game is the sort of thing that requires a medicinal dose of coffee and, in my case, black eyeliner.
That's what I wrote last week. But, if I thought that I was feeling low last Monday, it was nothing compared to what I was feeling yesterday. Knowing that I was going to have to marshal my courage to read the sports section, reliving the latest baffling meltdown, and exploring just how screwed the 2011 season could be just three games in was too much. I went on strike.
If you can stomach more talk about the Vikings' loss, join me after the jump. If you can't, well, I don't blame you.
This is becoming my theme song.
Yesterday, instead of being a dedicated blogger, I took the day off from football. I went to Ulta (cosmetics store, chick Mecca) and sniffed perfumes (Coco Mademoiselle is my current fave) and looked at nail polish. We all cope with disappointment in our own ways.
And it isn't as if DN readers have been at a loss for reading material. DN writers have posted 14 front-page stories about Sunday's loss to the Lions and its causes, implications, and possible solutions.
Once again, after the Vikings successfully controlled time of possession in the first half, their opponent adjusted in the second half, regained offensive momentum, and reversed fortunes to capture the win. Nobody's happy about the situation and, judging from player quotes, they aren't quite sure how to fix the problem. But the person who is probably the least happy with the Vikings and the Monday morning walk of shame through the sports section is team owner Zygi Wilf.
If you have followed DN during the last year you know that the Minnesota Vikings are in the market for a new stadium. A new stadium building project would mean thousands of construction jobs for the state of Minnesota in this down-turned economy as well as ensuring that the Vikings stay in Minnesota. Despite how straight forward that seems to me, the negotiation process has not been an easy one. Every time the Vikings organization has met some requirement to advance the process, there's a new hurdle and backlash. While a winning record would not necessarily guarantee a stadium or even smooth the process, a losing record makes things more difficult.
From a fan perspective, I can watch the Vikings lose just as well at home as I can in the Metrodome. Actually, if I suspect the team is going to lose, I'd prefer to be at home. Curling into the fetal position is much easier on my couch than on the seats in the Dome. That attitude, while not surprising, doesn't do much to help sell-out home games at the Metrodome. If a game doesn't sell out, then it's subject to a local media blackout. I'm not a captain of industry, but it seems to me that a local media blackout would be remarkably bad when you're trying to convince voters in that local market (Ramsey County) to approve a county-wide tax increase to help fund a new stadium.
During his tenure as the Vikings' owner, Zygi Wilf has shown patience with his coaches. He let's them make the personnel calls and the decisions on what to call and whom to play. But with his team facing one of its worst starts in a decade and fans booing the team off the field on Sunday, one can only wonder how long Wilf will abide these second-half meltdowns. His head coach says that 2011 isn't a rebuilding year, but if this is a season when the Vikings are supposed to be viable contenders you can only shake your head and wonder for what exactly Leslie Frazier and his coaching staff are trying to contend. Sole possession of the NFC North basement? Woo-hoo, we are the champions.
With all the uncertainty facing the Vikings' future and whether or not the team will even remain in the state of Minnesota, Wilf does not need the uncertainty he has with his team's on-field identity. If the Vikings are truly a good team with a shot at redeeming this season, then why can't they put together four quarters of good football? And, if the Vikings are really no good, then why are they playing such dominant lights out football in the first half?
My gambling record isn't great, but I'm willing to bet that Zygi Wilf will want those questions answered. While a good record isn't necessarily going to impress Ramsey County voters, a losing franchise that can't sell out the Metrodome isn't the sort of thing that inspires voter confidence. Since the Vikings organization wants a new stadium only slightly less than John Goodman wants a double Whopper with cheese, if the Vikings fall next Sunday to the Kansas City Chiefs, I wouldn't be surprised if there are some personnel changes in the Vikings organization.
If the Vikings lose to the Chiefs next week, I suspect there will be some people in the Vikings' organization who dislike Mondays even more than I do.