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Bartender. . .REFILL MY KOOL-AID!

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Hell, just leave the bottle!

Alright, folks. . .you might have noticed a severe lack of enthusiasm over Minnesota's bye week.  I'd be willing to wager that it's the same lack of enthusiasm that I'm sure some of you felt as well.  Coming off a loss to the Packers (and it was nice to see Charles Woodson on the field for Green Bay last night. . .I thought he might still be holding on to Bobby Wade), a three-game losing streak in which every game was winnable, an offense that's been almost as exciting as watching paint dry for the better part of four weeks, a coach that appears unable to adjust. . .it's a recipe for malaise, ladies and gentlemen.

Well, you know something?  To hell with malaise.  I don't pay for NFL Sunday Ticket to deal with malaise.  I don't update this site every day to deal with malaise.  There are reasons to be excited about this year, whether the Vikings end up with a decent record or not.  "Like what," you say?  Well, let's look at a few of those reasons.

1) The NFC, as a whole, is terrible

Seriously, here's a list of all the teams in the NFC that have so much as an outside shot of winning the Super Bowl this year.

Dallas

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand there's your list.

Nobody else in the NFC is really that intimidating at the moment.  Sure, teams like Washington and Green Bay might be "good" football teams, but they don't scare anybody.  Outside of Dallas and San Diego (if they continue to put it together like they did against Denver yesterday), there's nobody on Minnesota's schedule that's markedly better than the Vikings.  Say what you will about Brad Childress' style of football. . .and believe me, I have. . .but it hasn't seen the Vikings get blown out very many times.  In many cases, one or two more plays in any given game would have turned the tide from a Vikings' loss to a Vikings' win.  Hopefully, those plays can start to happen as. . .

2) The Vikings are developing some serious young talent

Kevin Williams.  Brian Robison.  Ray Edwards.  E.J. Henderson.  Chad Greenway.  Marcus McCauley.  Sidney Rice.  Aundrae Allison.  Tarvaris Jackson.

Oh, and 2007 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Adrian Peterson.

How can you NOT like the Vikings' youngsters?  I know some of them (like Williams and Henderson) aren't exactly "young," but they're still closer to the beginning of their careers than they are to the end.  They're all talented, exciting football players, and they're all growing together in the current system.  It looks like Jackson's going to be back at QB when we travel to Soldier Field this weekend to take on Chicago, and so that means we're going to be getting back on the roller coaster for the rest of the year.  We can debate all year long whether or not Jackson was ready to go this year or not. . .the fact of the matter remains that he's this team's quarterback for at least this season.  If we get to December and it turns out that he's not the guy. . .well, it's a good year for quarterbacks in the draft this season.

I'm going to be as supportive of the guy as I can be.  Playing Kelly Holcomb or Brooks Bollinger at this point if Jackson is healthy does nothing for the Vikings' present, and it certainly does nothing for the Vikings' future.  We need to find out exactly what Tarvaris Jackson is made of.  The last time he took the field, he stunk out loud against a Detroit defense that really isn't very good.  This week, he's on the road again, facing the best defense that Minnesota has seen this season.  It might get a little ugly. . .but win, lose, draw, whatever the case may be, Jackson's our quarterback for the 2007 season.

3)  Mellencamp might be onto something

You know those Chevy commercials that air approximately 206 times during every football broadcast that you're sick of after the second or third time?  Well, then, this is going to be in your head all day long. . .

THIS IS OURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR TEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAM!

I've been a Vikings fan since 1984.  I, like you, spend the entire off-season looking forward to August and September.  Watching the Vikings isn't supposed to be something that makes your blood pressure skyrocket, and by God, I'm not going to let it be one of those things for me.  I'm going to make every effort to make watching the Vikings as enjoyable as I can, and I'm going to make every effort to pass that enjoyment on to you out there.

You can make it enjoyable, too, ladies and gentlemen.  Leave comments on the stories here, jot your thoughts down in the diary section, pass along links to Vikings-related stuff that you find interesting.

Be proud, be passionate. . .and, most importantly, be Purple.  Because that's what this is all about.  Wear your jerseys and hats and t-shirts, fly your flags, buy a Fathead for your wall, whatever it is you do to show your support for the Minnesota Vikings.

Watching a football game and following a team is something we do because we love it.  I know that I don't always keep that in mind, but it's something that all sports fans need to be reminded of at some point.  If the Vikings lose on Sunday, the sun is still going to go down on Sunday night, and the odds are pretty good that it will come up again on Monday morning.  Whether the Vikings finish this season 13-3 or 1-15 or anywhere in between, I'll be here. . .and I certainly hope that all of you will be here, too.

Continue enjoying your Monday, ladies and gentlemen!