(What, you thought we were going to go with that same REM song that you've probably heard eight thousand times today? Heck no. . .we're a classier lot over here.)
So, might be a bit late to the party on this. . .there are only about eight and a half hours left for the apocalypse to potentially hit in the Central time zone. . .but I asked the rest of the staff to give me their favorite Vikings memory in case the world did happen to end today. Here are the responses I got back from the crew.
Ted: I've had a lot of fond memories going back over the years, but probably my favorite one is from 2009. The Brett Favre lead Vikings came to St. Louis, and my Dad and I went. Folks were just starting to take this 2009 team seriously--they were undefeated and coming off the Metrodome Miracle and the big Monday Night showdown against Green Bay at home. The Vikes were starting to hum, and it felt like this team was going to go a long way.
So I got two tickets, and we went to the game. We were decked out in our Favre jerseys, and close to half the stadium was in Vikings garb. We saw AP run for two scores, Favre throw a TD pass, Jared Allen return a fumble for a TD, and had a great time with some fans that are now DN regulars. My Dad isn't as mobile as he once was, so we put him in a wheelchair so he wouldn't get so tired, and it's like he became an unofficial mascot for Vikes fans. As we were leaving the Edward Jones Dome, damn near every Vikes fan we passed high fived my Dad, and he was pumping his fist, whooping and hollering, acting like a little kid. It was awesome.
Arif: Week 3, 2009. The year before, I had entered my first fantasy league ever, placing fourth on a team all but captained by Adrian Peterson, who I snatched in a gimme first pick for being game enough to join. I knew nothing about football then, barely liking the sport in Week 1. But on this late September day, which also happened to be my birthday, I was wearing a borrowed Antoine Winfield jersey and fake eye black while watching with some screaming friends at home, both of whom knew much more about history and football than me. The paper-thin apartment walls had revealed to us that the neighbors above us and on both sides of us also had the game on, and in our anonymity and distant camaraderie we became allies of sorts. The first play of the game was a strip-sack by Jared Allen, and it would remain exciting from there on out. With 3:26 left in the game, the Vikings had one score to go. Brett Favre led the team to the 49ers 47, but there was nothing doing.
But holding the 49ers to a 20 second drive gave the Vikings hope again. I was pessimistic, but my friends told me that I "didn't know Brett Favre," and that I should wait. And with 12 seconds left, Favre rolled out left, avoided a sack and delivered a bullet to Greg Lewis-only in the game because of an injury to Darius Reynaud. The units around me erupted in noise and we all celebrated with abandon. We grew silent as the officials reviewed the play and erupted in cheers once more. Chills ran down my spine as I contemplated sharing this fantastic moment with the strangers living near me. Now, I knew Brett Favre.
Kyle: Uhm, Cowboys game circa 98 (Thanksgiving), Cowboys game circa 09 (Div playoff game). Honestly, it's just a coincidence.
(I think that Kyle isn't a big fan of the Cowboys. Just a hunch.)
Eric: October 4, 1992, at the Metrodome. In what would be Mike Ditka's final year in coaching the Bears, Chicago had a 20-0 lead after three quarters. Early in the fourth quarter, Jim Harbaugh called an audible and threw a pick-six to Todd Scott. I had second row seats behind the Bears bench and Scott caught the interception directly in front of where I was sitting, right around the 32 yard line. Needless to say, Ditka wasn't too happy. Since I was sitting so close, I was able to hear just about every word Ditka screamed at Harbaugh as he came off the field. The stream of expletives coming out of Ditka's mouth would have made even the heartiest of sailors blush. Eleven-year-old me was incredibly entertained.
Throughout the rest of the fourth quarter comeback by the Vikings, I watched Ditka overturn a table full of Gatorade cups at least 3 times. The look on the water boy's face was priceless--he'd quietly sigh to himself and start refilling the cups every time. And each time Harbaugh dared to get within ten feet of Ditka the rest of the game, coach would have 15 more curse words ready for his quarterback. As a late Roger Craig touchdown followed by a Fuad Reveiz extra point sealed the 21-20 comeback for the Vikes, I couldn't have walked out of the Metrodome with a bigger smile on my face.
For me, personally, I think I'd have to go with January 9, 2005, with the Vikings going in to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers in the wild card round of the NFC playoffs. This game was so awesome for so many reasons. . .the "experts" all universally picking against Minnesota, despite the Vikings' two losses to Green Bay that season coming by a combined six points, and both lost with no time left on the clock. (I still distinctly remember Steve Young saying that picking the Packers in that game was "the easiest pick he'd made all season.") Obviously there was the "Moss Moon" or the "Moon over Lambeau" or whatever moniker you want to put on it, and Joe Buck's subsequent hissy fit over the whole situation, the reason I can't stand Joe Buck to this day. It was awesome because Daunte Culpepper, who should have been the MVP of the NFL that season, whipped the Green Bay defense up and down the field, because there were four Vikings' interceptions of Brett Favre that afternoon. . .just so many reasons.
The best Vikings memories, in my opinion, come from when the team has the odds stacked against them. . .that game at Lambeau, the 1987 playoff game in San Francisco that resulted in Joe Montana getting benched, the Joe Webb show in Philadelphia in 2010. It's a part of what makes watching this team and watching the NFL in general so awesome.
What are your favorite Vikings memories, everyone?
By the way, with the world not ending, it's a perfect opportunity to purchase Minnesota Vikings tickets. You can do so at the link right there.