As you've probably been made well aware of at some point throughout the course of the day today, it is Valentine's Day. On today, this most
manufactured by Hallmark sacred of holidays, people's fancies turn to thoughts of love.
So, for today, the question is this. . .how, exactly, did you come to love the Minnesota Vikings?
For me, as I'm sure is the case for many of us, I was pretty much born into it. Having grown up in rural North Dakota, the teams of Minnesota were, obviously, the closest in proximity to us. We didn't get very many Twins games, or very many Timberwolves games, and pretty much no North Star games prior to their move to Dallas. But during the fall, we got every Viking game every week, regardless of the circumstances. Seriously, being as far out of the primary area as we were, I hadn't even heard of a "blackout" until I joined the Air Force and moved to Alabama in 2000. . .I just assumed that everyone in the city that the game was being played in got the game, whether the stadium had been sold out or not. The network affiliates out of Fargo that we got our channels through just always gave us the Vikings games every week.
But, both of my grandfathers. . .both of whom I lost at a very young age. . .were both fans of the Vikings. As I've mentioned before, the first season I actually remember paying attention to in Vikings history was the 1984 season, quite possibly the worst team the Vikings have ever fielded, but wherever we were, whether it was at home or at my grandparents' house in Minnesota or wherever, we were glued to the TV for three hours every Sunday, watching either a washed-up Archie Manning or Tommy Kramer or Wade Wilson making a futile attempt to lead the Vikings to victory. Their three wins that season came by a combined total of 11 points (a seven-point victory over Atlanta in Week 3, a one-point victory over Detroit the week after that, and a three-point win over Tampa Bay in Week 10), and though they had some close losses early on, once the team basically gave up on Coach Les Steckel, they were just getting destroyed, including a 51-7 curbstomping by the San Francisco 49ers in which the Niners scored the last thirty-seven points unanswered.
But, by God, there we were, every single week. . .hoping against hope that the good guys in the purple and gold jerseys could give us a victory to celebrate.
I think that's largely why I cheer for this team now, and will continue to do so. Because I know that one day I'll get to see the ending to this story that neither of my grandfathers got to see and that my dad, who has also been a Viking fan since the team came into existence in 1961, has also never gotten to see. That's what it takes to be a fan of this team. It takes the unwavering faith that, someday, this team will get theirs. And that, by extension, that we. . .the most deserving fan base in the National Football League, in my opinion (which is biased, and I don't care who has an issue with that) will get ours, too.
So, why do you all love Vikings football?