Whatever good luck ritual Vikings fans observed this week as the underachieving Minnesota Vikings rallied for an overtime win against the Arizona Cardinals at the Metrodome-please, do it again next week.
Joking aside, luck had less to do with Sunday's win than simply the will not to give up. Our DN fearless leader Chris wrote about how the Dallas Cowboys were in essentially the same situation as the Minnesota Vikings, as an underperforming, talent-laden team. But for all the similarities in their records, the Vikings have stayed scrappy even in their losses. While making it close won't negate a loss, it does show that the Vikings didn't give up. Not giving up doesn't guarantee a dramatic win like the one over Arizona on Sunday, however, giving up does guarantee you won't have an opportunity to turn things around. Clearly, the Vikings' players aren't giving up and that give this fan reason to hope.
My pessimistic side actively fights getting carried away with hopes of a winning streak because I know it's going to take more than one win to salvage the Vikings' 2010 season. But, despite my highly-developed pessimistic side, I'm going to give over to some giddy optimism for a little bit longer.
Why not hope that Sunday's victory marks a turning point for the Minnesota Vikings and their 2010 season? If they've done it before, I have great hopes that they can do it some more.
Part of what made the Vikings' win on Sunday so exciting is that, for most of the game, it really looked like the Vikings had every intention of sleepwalking though all four quarters and waking up to yet another loss at the hands of a beatable opponent. The Minnesota defense let Cardinals quarterback, Derek Anderson, have all the time in the world to throw the ball. Vikings special teams allowed the Cardinals to score 14 points. And, while Brett Favre marched the Vikings offense down the field consistently throughout the game and spread the ball out to so many different receivers one almost needed a copy of the roster to figure out who had the ball on any given play, the offense struggled to punch it into the end zone.
There were great plays, like the Herculean effort where Greg Camarillo dashed from the opposite side of the field to knock the ball out of Arizona safety Kerry Rhodes hands and turn what would have been a pick-six into a touchback giving the Vikings back the ball. But even with great plays like Camarillo's, the Vikings suffered from the same uneven play that has been an issue all season.
Then, with the Vikings trailing by 14 points late in the fourth quarter, they flipped a switch and they started playing like the team they knew they could be. And, if they believed the sound bites they have been feeding the media all season, they played like the team they knew they were.
In Monday's issue of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reporter Jeremy Fowler in his article "Stay of Execution" had this interesting glimpse into the Vikings' mentality during Sunday's game, something that might have been eclipsed in the excitement of the Vikings' much-needed win, but may have had a role in making it happen:
But the most important throw Favre made all day was a bullet in the direction of his locker room, calling anyone who criticizes coaches behind the scenes "a coward."
Look in the mirror, he challenged, and make the team better.
Much has been made of Randy Moss' moving half-time speech to rally the Vikings when they struggled against the Dallas Cowboys and I don't doubt that it was inspiring, but when Favre told his teammates to look in the mirror and find a way to make the Vikings better, they could see him living out those words on the field in every play. Favre's list of injuries are starting to read like a bad joke, the pass blocking has been sub-standard, the available receivers change each week, and yet he's out there on his broken foot trying to make something happen-not giving up.
This coming Sunday the Vikings, a team that's probably better than their record, will face the Chicago Bears, a team that probably isn't as good as their record, in Chicago. If the Minnesota Vikings team that showed up at the end of Sunday's game against the Cardinals is the one that shows up to face the Bears, and if the Vikings are still looking in the mirror for ways to help the team, it's hard not to believe they could win it.