When I was nine years old for the first time I watched the Super Bowl with interest – the Minnesota Vikings vs. the Kansas City Chiefs. The Vikings were tough – the defense was the famed Purple People Eaters – Eller, Page, Marshall, and Larsen up front. Lonnie Warwick called defense from the Middle Linebacker position, and in the secondary Paul Krause was on his way to setting career interception records.
Alas, the Vikings lost to Lenny Dawson’s AFL Champs, the Kansas City Chiefs, but I’m sure I was optimistic that next year we’d win. The Vikings made it to four superbowls during my school years. They were one of the top NFL teams of the 1970s. The game against the Chiefs was January 11, 1970, they’d also play in 1974, 1975 and 1977. Every time they lost. Most of the games weren’t even all that close. But for four years they were one of the dominant teams and I knew it was only a matter of time.
The Vikings have had good teams over the years. Tommy Kramer’s passing arm got them to the playoffs often in the 80s. In 1998 it looked like they could be the team of destiny as rookies Daunte Culpepper at QB and Randy Moss at WR lite the league on fire, going 15-1 for the season, favored to make to the big game. I recall the agony of that overtime loss to Atlanta.
More recently, former foe Brett Favre came to the Vikings and helped engineer an amazing season in 2009. The Vikings went 12-4 and yet again lost the NFC Championship in overtime, this time to the New Orleans Saints. So close!
The memories – back in 1980 I was home with my dad from college to watch the Vikings vs. the Browns. If the Vikings won they’d make the players. But they were stuck with just 14 seconds and 80 yards to cover. Then one of the most amazing catches ever won the game as Ahmad Rashad caught a hail Mary from Kramer (and the play before that with Ted Brown was pretty nifty). My dad and I lept to our feet in the den. My mom, outside carrying bags of groceries dropped them and came running – watching us through the window she thought my dad was having a heart attack. Watch the video, it’s exciting:
I have been going without cable or satellite for going on two years. I haven’t missed it except for sports, which almost always requires some kind of pay TV. I saw the World Cup finals at a local pub, but this year I’m thinking I need to get Direct TV and order the NFL pass. The Minnesota Vikings look real this year!
They have Matt Cassell, an efficient, smart quarterback who has in my opinion the best Running Back in history, Adrian Peterson, to hand the ball too. He has one of the most dangerous break away wideouts – Cordarrelle Patterson – who they got by trade with the New England Patriots, the Vikings foe next week. Patterson never played for the Patriots, the Vikings traded to get the draft pick to choose him before last season. Today he had a touchdown run of 67 yards and over 100 rushing yards!
Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave has instituted an offense that is designed to use the Vikings tools in a more unpredictable and creative manner. Last year, you knew what the Vikings would do almost every play – now they can keep foes on their toes. Most importantly defense minded rookie Head Coach Mike Zimmer has turned what was a subpar defense last year to what dare I hope is powerful unit. If today is a sign of what they are capable of, this could be a big season!
So tomorrow I’ll have to decide – do I call Directv? Do I spend the money to maybe see what I’ve been waiting over four decades for – a Vikings team bound for a Super Bowl victory? Gee, when I put it that way, the answer seems clear!