I...well...I can't even...
Another Vikings gut punch. Sigh. Look, this sucks, but there's still a lot to like about this team, current situation notwithstanding. Don't get me wrong, this was a kick in the teeth. I mean, seriously...I thought the game was won. 27 yards, that's it. It's a chip shot. Blair Walsh makes that kick 99 times out of 100.
But with the Minnesota Vikings, nothing is ever 100%, is it? I'm not even sure what to write, I'm so pissed off/numb/dumbfounded/nonplussed/shocked/gobsmacked.
Numb. Numb is a good word, isn't it, Mr. Floyd?
Come on now
I hear you're feeling down
Well, I can ease your pain
And get you on your feet again
I'll need some information first
Just the basic facts
Can you show me where it hurts?
There is no pain, you are receding
A distant ship smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying
When I was a child I had a fever
My hands felt just like two balloons
Now I've got that feeling once again
I can't explain, you would not understand
This is not how I am
I have become comfortably numb
Your SMR that numbs the soul follows. Also, if you're new to this, welcome to Vikings fandom, kids. This is nothing. Like not even in the top 10 of all time gut punches,
Blue Chip Stocks:
Trae Waynes, CB: For a guy that took a lot of heat from the moment he was drafted, Waynes took a huge step today. He was excellent in coverage, and had a big interception at a critical moment of the game. I'm not sure if Terence Newman comes back next year or not, but I really like the Vikings secondary moving forward. Well, at least I really like Waynes, Xavier Rhodes, and Harrison Smith. They need a safety opposite Smith, but overall, this is a very good unit moving forward.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB: When you look at the stats, you might think this is an undeserving spot. But when you're playing the top ranked defense in the NFL in brutal weather conditions, I don't think it's an overstatement to say Bridgewater played a whale of a game. He kept the Vikings moving, didn't make any major mistakes, and drove the Vikings down the field in the 4th quarter and put them in position to win the game with a chip shot and DAMN IT MAN HOW DO YOU MISS A 27 YARD FIELD GOAL...but I digress.
Bud Grant, Original American Bad Ass: You're 86 years old, it's 20 below with the windchill and you're asked to be an honorary captain and do the opening coin toss. What's your chosen attire? You're Bud Grant, and you are impervious to things like the 'cold' and the 'elements'. You look at old man winter, unzip your fly, and piss in his goddamn face. You're Bud Grant, immortal, which means you wear a short sleeve polo shirt and a baseball hat. You only wore pants because somebody made you, or otherwise you go out there sans khakis telling everyone to kiss your frostbitten ass.
The entire defense: I told anyone who would listen that this game wasn't going to be another blowout. With Anthony Barr, Linval Joseph, and Harrison Smith back, this defense was back to it's dominating self. The defensive line played a great game, for the most part. The linebackers did a very impressive job corralling Russell Wilson and keeping him from making a big play, other than that one ridiculous fumbled snap LOLWTF play. The secondary was solid in coverage, and contested every catch.
This game turned on three plays, and only one of them was on the defense, which was the fumbled snap that turned into a huge gain and a first down...which eventually became a touchdown for the Seahawks.
Offensive line: When they needed to give Teddy some time, the pocket collapsed. When they needed to open holes for Adrian Peterson, they couldn't. Credit to the Vikings for not abandoning the running game, but there was very little room to maneuver today, and it eventually came back to haunt Minnesota. I'm not saying the Vikings need to address offensive line early and often in either free agency or the draft, I'm just saying the Vikings need to address the offensive line early and often either in free agency or the draft.
Adrian Peterson, RB: For a guy that's going to go to the Hall of Fame I can't help but think it's time to move on. I'm about damn done with the fumbles in critical playoff moments, and it gets more and more frustrating. You can make an argument that if Peterson doesn't fumble in either the 2009 NFC Championship game or in today's Wild Card game, the Vikings win both and advance. And maybe it's just me with rose colored glasses, but I have a sense that Jerrick McKinnon has outplayed Peterson the last few games, and the transition from Peterson won't be as hard as we thought. And if Minnesota were to draft a running back early on to share the load with McKinnon, you can even talk yourself into a near seamless transition to the post-Peterson years. But admittedly, maybe it's just me focusing on the critical, bone headed, back breaking fumble that led to the eventual game winning field goal.
Buy: Blair Walsh's first three field goals. So many people were down on Walsh for missing that chip shot at the end of the game, and I get that. We'll talk about that in a minute. But let's talk about Walsh's season, from beginning to end. He started out in pre-season more wild than Miley Cyrus with a snootful of nose candy, but got things worked out, and once again became one of the most reliable kickers in the NFL. He kicked three field goals, two of which were from more than 40 yards, on a day when anything more than 40 yards on a field goal was 50/50, at best. He was responsible for all the Vikings points this day, and when he came out for that fateful 27 yard chip shot, every Vikings fan on the planet thought it was in the bag. That's how good Walsh has been.
Sell: The chip shot miss to probably win the game. Only on this kick, he wasn't. He missed it wide left (could it at least have been wide right for some damn misery symmetry like COME ON MAN), and the Vikings lost. It's inexcusable, missing a kick like that, yet if you're one of the shitbags that's sending him death threats or telling him to kill himself...over a damn game, fergodsakes...what's your answer? Draft a kicker? Cut him and sign a new one? What's your answer, Jim Finks? No, really, I want to hear what your kicker solution is once you've drawn, quartered, and burned Blair Walsh at the stake. Oh, you don't have one? You're just being overly emotional over a tough loss? Go figure.
Buy: Playing with house money. If I'm being honest, I went into this game thinking the Vikings were going to win this game. But I also thought that win or lose, this has been one hell of a season. No one...and I mean NO ONE...saw the Vikings winning the division and getting the number three seed in the playoffs this year. At best, we thought the Vikings could contend and maaaaaybe sneak in to a wild card spot. By just about any measure, they far exceeded the expectations we had for this season. It was, for the most part, a hell of a fun season watching this defense mature into a force, while watching Teddy Bridgewater and Stefon Diggs develop what we hope to be long term chemistry.
Sell: Happy with how this season ended. That said, losing this way sucks, man. Sucks. I think I would have rather been blown out, if I'm being honest with you guys.
Buy: This was a gut punch loss. You just hate watching your team lose like this. It sucks, you feel empty inside, and you question every decision in your life that brought you to be a fan of the Vikings on days like this. I mean come on...it was a 27 yard field goal. I'm fat, out of shape, and right now I'm half in the bag drunk...but even I could make a 27 yard field goal. It's not how this team was supposed to go out.
Sell: This doesn't crack the top ten of gut punch losses. But for all of you who are like THIS IS THE WORST LOSS EVER FIRE NORV CUT WALSH FIRE ZIMMER CUT PETERSON B URN IT ALL TO THE GROUND RAWR RAWR RAWR...chill the fuck out. In the pantheon of 'gut punch, get your teeth kicked in, what in the ever loving sweet Jesus did I just sit through' losses...this doesn't even register on my meter. Just off the top of my head, I got four Super Bowls, Hail Mary, Darrin Nelson, Wide Left, 41 doughnut, Nate Poole, and Bounty Gate that come before this, along with about another half dozen if I sat and thought about it. And for folks that think this is worse than Gary Anderson's wide left--please close your grocery hole, rookie. That was for the damn Super Bowl, not a wild card game.
Seriously, stop. Stop. STAHHHHHHHHHP.
Don Glover Quote Of The Week:
So what I usually do is just pull something my Dad says during the game as the DGQOTW, but today things just kind of became a blur at the end. We both just sat in kind of a stunned silence when Walsh missed the game winning field goal. So I got to the end of this column and I was kind of at a loss. So I improvised.
Me: Dad, is there anything you want to say to The Daily Norseman faithful?
Dad: "Son, there's always tomorrow. We got a beautiful new stadium, and something to keep playing for. I'm always going to be a Vikings fan, and I like that Drinkwater kid."
So, I guess we'll see you tomorrow, with something to play for in 2016.