Vikings fan: Let me give you the good news. A foot of snow is coming. Blizzard conditions and wind gusts as high as 35 miles an hour. That’s the GOOD NEWS. Because after that, something worse is headed to town. Patriots fans. And half-of Philadelphia — coming to eat your food, drink your liquor and watch THEIR teams play in a Super Bowl that looked destined to be a Minnesota home game.
That one’s gonna sting. A seven point lead, a PERFECT START, and then 38-straight. Five minutes of greatness, chased by 55 minutes of pain. So very, very Vikings of you. All the pity and sorrow dedicated to Bills fans and Browns fans, it’s time to chip off a seat and pour a stiff one for the Nation of Skol. That’s SIX STRAIGHT NFC TITLE GAMES without a Super Bowl appearance. And that’s AFTER four Super Bowl losses. Forty-plus years of getting close enough to taste it and then having it ripped away before even having a chance to play for the Lombardi.
Because a two-week party in Minneapolis just got canceled by Nick Foles. A season of destiny just went up in smoke. And this time it was Case Keenum crashing back to earth. Case Keenum picked a terrible time to remember he was Case Keenum. But even you had to know it was going to happen, Viking Fan. Because it always does. Before that, it was the Gunslinger going into New Orleans, taking an absolute beating, and then giving it away in the end.
Before that it was walking into Giants Stadium in 2001 and walking out 41-donut. Before that, it was the 15-and-1 Vikings, the most exciting offense ever assembled, taking a knee and playing for Overtime, where the Falcons ripped their hearts out. It was Gary Anderson picking a helluva time to miss his first field goal and the Dirty Birds winning as two-touchdown underdogs. I’d go on, but I think Vikings fans just Polar Plunged into Lake Minnetonka.
Yesterday it was 60 minutes of football against Nick Foles with the #1 defense in the NFL, a chance to get the first home-field advantage in the Super Bowl ever. And then it was a bottle to the head and a steel toed boot to the mouth. A ride to the hospital in concussion protocol as the Vikings were picking their chicklets out of the sod in the Linc before they even knew what hit them.
Vikings fans, I’d tell you there’ll be brighter days ahead but I’m not sure you’re ready to listen yet. But of all the interesting off-season’s ahead of teams, Minnesota might be the most intriguing. As good as Keenum was all year, he picked a helluva game to turn back into Case Keenum. And a guy who was in line to have a crazy, crazy payday — he’s still going to be stacking a lot more cash than the 2 million he played for this year — but that game could’ve cost him a legit 10 million dollars. Do you really think Minnesota can put a Franchise Tag on him after that? Guarantee him 20+ million when he rolled into Philly, tied a ribbon on the football and basically started tour-guiding the Eagles defense through the best bars and restaurants the Twin Cities have to offer?
It wasn’t just Keenum. Take Away the Miracle in Minneapolis. Say Marcus Williams made that tackle. That Vikings D that was supposed to be Super Bowl worthy got lit up for 24 points by Drew Brees in the second half, then gave up 38 to Philly, getting shredded by Nick Foles — 26 of 33, 352, three touchdowns, an absolutely ridiculous performance that Minnesota had NO ANSWER for. And they CALLED OFF THE DOGS.
Are good days ahead? Probably. The D will get right, Mike Zimmer’s too good of a coach to not fix things. The offense has weapons — Dalvin Cook will be back after his knee injury. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are maybe the most underrated 1-2 punch at receiver in football. Kyle Rudolph is a red zone monster. Whoever Minnesota decides to hand the offense over to at quarterback — Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford, hell, maybe they kick the tires on a trade for Alex Smith — they’re going to have weapons to play with.
But none of that feels very good right now. Not when you were 60 minutes away from playing in a Super Bowl at home. Not when you’ve got a blizzard bearing down on you. And not when you’ve got 2 weeks to wait for a party you thought you’d be throwing for yourself, only to find out you’re not even on the invite list.
Skol Vikings. First drink is on me.