Good afternoon Vikings fans in the UK, good morning to fans in the US, and welcome to my Vikings UK Blog. I decided to start writing this because, plain and simple, I love the Vikings, but I’ve also noticed a distinct lack of dedicated Vikings blogs out there especially from a UK perspective. Over the past 3 or so years that I’ve been supporting The Purple, I’ve come to rely on a few newspapers and the NFL for all my Vikings goodness, but it just isn’t enough any more (especially after last night). I needed a personal blog, a fans point of view, and having been unable to find many myself (not saying the ones out there aren’t good mind you), I’ve decided to start my own. But enough of that, I’ll talk more about my journey as a fan of the Vikes over the coming months.
Now I wish that I could start my blog on the highest of high notes, writing about how with 19 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter with the score tied at 28-28, 11 men stepped out onto the battlefield of the Superdome, ran a couple of yards, and setup a 48 yard Ryan Longwell field-goal which flew gracefully between the uprights and sent the Vikings to their 1st Super Bowl in 33 long years.
I wish I could, I really do. But I can’t. Because, with 19 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter, with the score tied at 28-28, we put 12 men out on the field, 12 men broke from the huddle, and as a result we were penalized 5 yards. The following play saw Brett Favre roll out to his right, and with a good 5-10 yards of open field (and Bernard Berrian) in front of him to run into, he instead threw across his body to Sidney Rice, and was intercepted by Tracy Porter at the 22.The game went to overtime, the Saints drove right up to the Vikings’ 22 and then 23-year old Garrett Hartley connected with a 40 yard field-goal to send the Saints to Miami where they will face the Colts for the Super Bowl.
This was my first “exposure” to the bitter disappointment which has befallen hundreds of thousands of other Vikings’ fans across the globe. I know this is gonna hurt for quite a while, but my love for the Purple is still there, and I know that after last night, it will never fade.
The thing is that we played the better football. We totalled 475 yards on offence, we got four touchdowns, and we came back to tie the game twice against the #1 seed in the NFC in their own backyard. We outplayed them; the only unfortunate thing is that we also outplayed ourselves. We turned the ball over 5 times which you can’t afford to do in any game let alone in the NFC Championship. We did blow our change of ending a run of 4 (now 5) consecutive NFC Championship losses. But, and it’s a big but, we can walk out of Louisiana with our heads held high. For the past 17 games (it would be 18 if we’d actually turned up against the Chicago Bores) win or lose, we’ve been the talk of the NFL, we’ve been the team which has inspired in the NFL, and we’ve been the life of the NFL. The 2009 Minnesota Vikings will be remembered in the history of the game, and not because of our tragic loss last night.
Our team, led by the 40 year old, former Green Bay P*cker Brett Favre has been electrifying. From the last minute Greg Lewis catch against San Francisco, through the missed Ravens FG by our former kicker Steve Hauschka, right up until Garrett Hartley sealed our fate last night, we’ve lit up the league, and our team has carried, in the words of ol’ Chilly, the “Heart of a Champion.”
It is for this reason that I think we can all be proud of our boys and optimistic for the future. This team is still capeable of reaching the big game next season, the hunger is there, the passion is there, and quite possibly a certain Silver Fox will be there.
Yes, he did what so many predicted, even at the start of the season, throwing the game away with his final action, but after last nights heartbreaker, the battered and bruised figure of Brett Favre lumbered his way up onto the podium for the post-game press conference and looked like he’d just been in the ring with Mike Tyson and a Bengal tiger. He was clearly a broken man, both mentally and physically. Over the course of the game, the Saints hadn’t sacked him once, but they hit him, and hit him hard, a total of 11 times! He didn’t lose us the game, the team lost the game (with a little help from the officials). And for many out there who want to blame Favre, just try and think about where we’d’ve been without him this season. Nowhere is the answer.
Favre says that he needs some time to think about whether he’s going to don Purple again next year, but “[he] wouldn’t say months” so let’s all keep our fingers crossed over the coming weeks. The cynics can roll their eyes at the old man, but he needs the time. Who wouldn’t after a game like that? Pat Williams says he’s 50/50 for next season, and I can’t blame him either. But I get the feeling that they will both be back. Despite the loss, and the pain the team are feeling I still get the impression that there is an unbreakable spirit between the players, and I think they will want another shot at that which has elluded the Vikings since they first stepped out onto a field.
So here ends my first post. It is my aim to update this blog at least once a week with all the latest news from the Purple World, and to hopefully fill the empty void which now awaits us until football season kicks off again. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations.
I leave you with one final question: