Well that sucked! In what was essentially an elimination game against our most hated division rival, the Minnesota Vikings got blown out against the Green Bay Packers 33-10. Rookie quarterback Jaren Hall got the start, and boy was I rooting for him. Unfortunately, he was unable to do much on offense and turned the ball over a couple times. This led to the Vikings benching Hall in favor of Nick Mullens to start the second half. Mullens was a little bit better, but it was too little, too late as the energy was completely sucked out of U.S. Bank Stadium.
There were a couple of silver linings for the Vikings. NaJee Thompson was a stud on special teams and recovered a botched punt, and the duo of Ty Chandler and Alexander Mattison looked respectable. Overall though, it felt like a no-show on all fronts. The offense played like crap, which gave the defense little motivation to be on their A-game. The Kirk Cousins injury really killed the entire team’s morale. Coaches and players tried their best to make the best out of the situation, but it’s clear that this team is just mentally drained.
For me personally, what I’ll remember most from last week was my experience going to a game at U.S. Bank Stadium with my family, rather than the game itself. That’s where my happiness really comes from. I could complain about the Vikings playing like shit, or be dejected because my favorite team is now essentially out of the playoffs, but I’m not doing that today.
Up to this point, I hadn’t been to a Vikings game with my dad in nine years. The last time I went to a game with my dad was in 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium, which was Teddy Bridgewater’s first start against the Atlanta Falcons. The Vikings won that game by a score of 41-28, and the entire stadium erupted chanting: “TEDDY! TEDDY! TEDDY!” I was hoping for a similar outcome with Jaren Hall, but I didn’t really get my wish.
The first thing we did when we arrived to the stadium was check out our legacy brick, since my dad had never seen it in person before. Back when U.S. Bank Stadium was under construction, fans were able to purchase a personalized brick that would be placed near the longship by the front of the stadium. So I was fortunate enough to get a legacy brick as a Christmas present that year. I knew my dad loved the Vikings just as much as I do, so I made sure to put his name on it. The brick reads: Clyde and Tyler Ireland Skol Vikes!!!
After taking a photo with the legacy brick, we waited in line outside until the gates opened at 5:20. We scurried to our seats at section 344, got some concessions before the lines got busy, and settled ourselves in. Not too long after, I took my little brother Zack to meet Tom Schreier, who was my old boss at Zone Coverage. The reason I took my little brother along with me was because he wants to be a writer like me and he actually applied at Zone Coverage when he was in middle school. For obvious reasons Tom wasn’t able to hire a middle schooler, but it was cool for Zack to get to meet the guy who runs the site that he wanted to write for. Maybe it’ll happen one day.
Then, I made the trek to the opposite side of U.S. Bank Stadium to meet up with this guy named Jason. He’s one of my X/Twitter mutuals, and he has built a decent following as a Vikings social media influencer with 4,000+ followers. It took me 25 minutes to get there, because the walkways were jam-packed at this point. By the time I met up with Jason it was nearing kickoff, so we didn’t talk much. That being said, it’s always nice to meet people you interact with on social media in real life and I hope to meet some more people I know from X/Twitter soon.
By the time I made it back to my seats, a shirtless Kirko Chainz was sounding the gjallarhorn, and U.S. Bank Stadium was rocking! The energy level was high for the first few drives, but once the Packers established a 17-3 lead, things started to die down. Just as I started losing interest in the game and glanced down at my phone, the person sitting next to me told me to look at the Jumbotron. Apparently, a photo I took with my family was on the jumbotron, which was really cool to see. I was able to get a photo of it, which is something I’ll be able to brag about for the rest of my life.
That was pretty much it! I got drunk by the 3rd quarter as the Vikings were getting blown out, and the Packers fans in attendance were chanting “GO PACK GO!” Meanwhile, the Vikings fans were sitting there completely dejected. Yet, I can’t help but think that this game was an enjoyable experience for me regardless of the result. I saw the Vikings play a football game with my loved ones, I got to catch up with my old boss, I met one of my friends from Twitter, our photo was plastered on the Jumbotron, and we got to see our legacy brick.
All in all, it was a cool experience and I’m very thankful that I got to spend time watching the team I love with my family and friends. Skol Vikes!