Today's win is being compared to two other games from Vikings past: the (relatively) recent game in Week 3 against the 49ers, and the playoff destruction of the Cowboys in 2009. Both games were huge, both were against quality* opponents, and both propelled the Vikings to bigger and better things.
*I guess the Cowboys were ‘quality'. Kinda. I dunno. I mean, they won a playoff game before that, right?
So why is everyone wrong? Why was this game BIGGER?
Because we weren't at home.
Even in our last great run, 2009, the Vikings really were far more the home team than the away team. Games like Carolina, Chicago, and Arizona (pretty sure I have that chronologically incorrect but whatever) later in the season showed it was a bit of a weakness for us. And had the 2009 NFCCG been played in the Metrodome, we most likely would have won. (Oh, it would have helped if the Saints* hadn't been, you know, putting money on intentionally harming Brett Favre too, but that's aside the point.) Conversely, we never lost a home game that season.
2010 and even more so 2011 gave us very little to be happy about but it was pretty much of the same. \At home, we were considerably more dangerous than away. (OK, not really in 2011- we weren't dangerous anywhere.)
Now of course, home field advantage is a something that affects most of the teams in the NFL (except again really bad teams that just will lose no matter what). This isn't anything particularly special in that sense for Minnesota. However, the difference between great teams and mediocre teams is what happens when you're away, when the crowd is against you, when the turf is unfamiliar.
And today, the Vikings were a great team.
Adrian Peterson was relatively bottled up. I mean, for him anyways. We were forced to rely on our passing attack and our defense. The dangerous Texans came prepared and caring- a first round bye was on the line. And again... we were away.
I am honestly struggling to think of the last game I've seen as a Vikings fan that was so huge for us, that we so thoroughly dominated, and that was not on home base.
I really don't have much more to say than all of this. Vikings fans, drink up and celebrate. This win was HUGE. We destroyed the twelve and
two three Texans. It wasn't close. When it looked like it might get close, our defense grabbed them by the throat and choked them unconscious. Our playoff chances are soaring as we speak, with the Cowboys having lost and the Giants being dominated by the Ravens. And now, TWICE IN A ROW, we have triumphed in unfamiliar habitats. Honestly, a few weeks ago I would have written in BOTH the Rams and the Texans as losses simply because they were away. After today, anything and everything is genuinely looking possible.
And don't worry about me, I'm fine. I'll be all pessimistic and pissy tomorrow with a Compliment Sandwiches piece where I break down everything good and make us all feel bad about ourselves again. It's just... after today, not even I can be unhappy, not even a little bit.