Well, we did it. I feel like we just won the Super Bowl. Tonight we beat the Green Bay Packers to make it into the playoffs. Yes, just to MAKE it into the playoffs. But it’s much more than that. It’s been a long, rough and frustrating road.
Being a Minnesota Vikings fan for the past three decades and constantly seeing them crumble in the 4th quarter starts to wear on a fan. I don’t expect to win the Super Bowl. Not yet. I like little gains. Gary Anderson (Mr. Automatic) missed when it counted. Brett Favre threw a pick when he could have just ran and fallen down (albeit, he’s a throwing quarterback, so I get it). The days of Cris Carter, Randy Moss and Jake Reed (three deep) in 1998 was the most incredible and entertaining year. It was perhaps the best I’ve ever watched even though I was stationed in Boulder, Colorado as a freshman in college. I watched all the games I could on my color, 13-inch Panasonic TV in my dorm. I watched them go 15-1. That never happens to us Minnesotans.
When Brett Favre came to the Vikings, the magic came back. First of all, the ridiculousness of the who transaction was just that. And to lose to the New Orleans Saints in overtime in 2009 to go to the Super Bowl for the first time in 1976…well, lets leave that alone. Somewhere Gary Anderson, the sweet, quiet gentle man coined Mr. Automatic, must be in rehab these days. Poor guy.
But tonight was different. We played exceptionally well. We beat the Super Bowl Packers. We didn’t crumble in the 3rd or 4th quarters and I can honestly say it was the best game I’ve watched since 1979 (when I was officially registered as a Vikings fan and entered the world). Oh, and tonight Adrian Peterson came within 9 yards of Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record. It was a good night.
Our 2nd year QB Christian Ponder had some crappy, recent weeks. He flailed, he threw interceptions and he looked like a rookie with little experience. He got married. He was ripped by the critics. But on this night he played with a confidence I didn’t think he had. My girlfriend Tara is a Florida State grad (Ponder’s alma mater) and said he had it in him. I wouldn’t know. But he did it. The critics gotta feel dumb. And Blair Walsh (A south Florida guy to boot – literally) hit the game-winning field goal. Twice, actually. The Packers iced him as he kicked the first field goal by calling a time out. 2nd one was up…and good.
We head to Lambeau Field to play the Packers next week. It’s going to be horribly difficult. We don’t have some key players (Percy Harvin), but we’ll give it our all and hopefully Peterson will sit in a protective room until then so he can break the record.
Win or lose, tonight was reason to celebrate. 2012 was a great year. The Vikings just put a nice, fat cherry on top. Super Bowl win? A big stretch, but you never know. But to see a team come together and pull a David and Goliath win as they did tonight makes this Minnesota boy enjoy the fact we won and didn’t blow it in the final minutes of the game. Congrats Vikes.
Here’s to a helluva 2013.