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The Vikings Are Still Better Than Anyone Thought

It was a long night for all of us out here in Vikings land. Just like they have in their last umpteen appearances on prime time television, the Minnesota Vikings went out and completely stunk up the joint, getting blasted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the tune of 36-17. . .and frankly, at times, it didn't even feel like it was that close.

Christian Ponder, once again, didn't look particularly good. The defense got completely obliterated by rookie running back Doug Martin, who ran for 135 yards and added 79 more in receptions, finding the end zone twice. Josh Freeman completed barely 50% of his passes, but his tosses found the end zone three times. Once again, it appeared that everyone in a Vikings' uniform that wasn't named Percy Harvin (7 catches for 90 yards and a touchdown) or Adrian Peterson (123 yards and a huge 64-yard touchdown on just 15 carries) pretty much forgot to get off of the bus.

And yet, despite all that, I'm not terribly angry. I'm not depressed. I'm not going through any of the usual emotions that tend to pop up after a Vikings' loss. With the week that my wife and I have had. . .hell, even just the last 48 hours. . .I think I've gained some new perspective on things, and that losses just aren't really worth getting bent out of shape over. So, I'm going to attempt to put this in a positive light.

Consider this. . .if I had told you back in July or August that the Minnesota Vikings would be 5-3 after the first eight games of their season, would you have taken it? I'm guessing that you probably would have.

Yes, the Vikings have dropped two out of their last three, and didn't look particularly great in the game that they won. But considering that many "experts" had this team finishing a 16-game schedule with no more than three or four victories, I'm outright ecstatic over being 5-3 at the midway point of the season. I'm not sure how many of us were expecting the Vikings to make the playoffs this year anyway. Honestly, even I. . .the man whose glasses have a darker purple tint on them than anyone I know. . .thought that if everything went perfect and the Vikings got some bounces to go their way, they'd go 8-8. And still finish in last place in the NFC North.

Adrian Peterson is back, and is back to being every bit the beast that he was prior to his knee injury. Once again, the man averaged over eight yards a carry, had an incredible 64-yard touchdown run, and is now the all-time leader for 100-yard games by a Vikings' running back with 30. Percy Harvin causes people to hold their breath every time he touches the football, and is still a very young player. Jared Allen is still getting after quarterbacks at a pretty decent clip, and some of the Vikings' younger players are showing plenty for the future.

We're halfway through a season that many of us expected to be a rebuilding year. The Vikings have ten days before they play the Seattle Seahawks out on the west coast. Hey, it's not a prime time game, so maybe the Vikings won't be awful and will be closer to the team that started out 4-1 than the team that's dropped two of their last three.

But, whatever happens, this team is already better than just about everybody thought they'd be. Try to keep that in the back of your mind this evening and into tomorrow.