During the off-season, one beloved Minnesota Viking player named Jared Allen held his annual shotgun golf tournament, which goes to support his charity foundation, a foundation with the admirable cause of building accessible homes for military vets returning with disabilities.
Although it was not reported at the time, Leslie Frazier was actually in attendance at this tournament, and came up with a funny and novel idea for a practical joke, wherein he would tell the various Minnesota Viking players that rather than playing football, they were actually playing golf. He convinced his coordinators Fred Pagac and Bill Musgrave that it would be funny and would help build locker room camaraderie, as is often the case with a good practical joke.
However, a breakdown in communication led to some unfortunate results, when Musgrave and Pagac failed to understand that the joke was to take place in pre-season, rather than in regular season, resulting in the Vikings throwing away three consecutive double-digit leads at halftime.
"I’m very sorry about all this," Frazier said today at a press conference, taking full blame. "I didn’t understand why we were so good in the first half and then terrible in the second. I had a chat today with Musgrave and Pagac, and they gave me confused looks before saying, ‘We thought we were doing that practical joke idea’."
Players in the locker room reacted with a range of thoughts and emotions on the matter. Said Running Back Adrian Peterson- "Man, I really fell for it hook, line, and sinker. I mean, I can’t help but be pure, unadulterated awesomeness when I’m on the field. So when I powered through the last three teams and helped us build such big half-time leads, I thought, ‘crap, I gotta get out of the game or we’re going to end up with the higher score!’. So I sat, allowing the other team to end up getting the extra points. It was tough, but I’m a team player, and I wanted to do what was best for the Minnesota Vikings."
Wide Receiver Percy Harvin had similar sentiments. "I knew if I was out there for more than 50% of the snaps, we were going to build huge leads," he explained. "So I told Musgrave, ‘it’s best to just leave me on the sidelines- I’m sorry, but I just can’t help but get first downs and score’." He further explained that his puking on the sidelines last game against Detroit was not because of any stomach bug, but because "I was so scared that we had built such a huge lead there would be no way we wouldn’t come away with the higher score in the end, and we had been doing so well all season at letting the other teams out-score us, that I was just filled with fear and revulsion, thinking I had helped cost us a game."
Defensive End Jared Allen had a surprisingly mellow response to the whole revelation. "Do I still get to hit people? Cuz I’m really good at that and I like doing it," he asked. When he was told that yes, he would still get to hit people, he simply grew a big, childish grin and said, "Cool! Well, joke was on us anyways. Haha, good one coach!"
Taking things less well was Defensive Tackle Kevin Williams, who, due to the expletive-laden nature of his response, cannot be quoted here. He did furiously attempt to sack Fred Pagac in his office, which Pagac had attempted to fortify by having the entire starting O-line guard the doorway. However, Williams was nearly through all five men when the entire backup corps was called in to reinforce, and he was fortunately stopped within finger’s reach of Pagac.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb’s response was less clear. "Uh, yeah," he simply replied. "That’s why I haven’t thrown a single on-target pass all season. Yep, that’s the reason." His facial expressions however did not match his words, leaving reporters a bit confused.
Cornerback Antoine Winfield gave a message of positivity and hope. "Well, now that we know we’re playing football and not golf, you know, where the higher score wins in the end, I guess we’ll just stop throwing away leads now. It’s all good, we’ll just go ahead and win the next thirteen games. I’m sure 13-3 will be good enough to get us to the post-season." He then further added, "Plus, now that we know, there will be a lot more space in the locker room, seeing as we won’t have to keep bringing in all this golfing equipment." He then paused, scratching his head before musing, "We all thought it was weird that we kept bringing all that stuff and then never using it. Makes sense now…".
Leslie Frazier ended his press conference by reiterating that he took full blame for the confusion. "I should have clarified with my coordinators that the joke was not supposed to take place in the actual season, and for that I only have myself to blame. I should have also spoken to them sooner in regards to us losing with consecutively larger half-time leads. I really wasn’t understanding what the issue was."
The final player interviewed was Kicker Ryan Longwell. "I was consistently disappointed in my on-target field goals. I tried my best to miss, but I guess it’s just in my DNA to be really accurate. We were all really surprised, you know, at the cross-team camaraderie from our opponents, when they would celebrate at the end. We thought they were just being good sports and cheering us on for our win. Now we’re kinda ticked off at ‘em all, realizing now that they were actually celebrating their wins. We’re gonna just take it out on the next teams."