Tuesday Morning News – Caught in the Middle with Ray, Vikings were scared of Saints, and more from the Spielmeister

Good morning Purple Nation. This morning more stories have been milked from the teat of Rick Spielman who spoke at the Vikings’ Arctic Blast event last week.

Following on from his statements about the future of Chester Taylor and other free agents, Rick also touched on the loss to the Saints. It’s pretty much the same stuff that’s been said by players and fans for the last 3 weeks, but at least the guy is also trying to move things on, by looking ahead to next year, “You have to move on, you don’t have any choice… we are very hopeful that we can have a good draft and get some of these guys back and we’ll be right back where we were last year.” Rick will soon be in Mobile looking for Leprechauns and potential players for next year, they’ve certainly set some high draft standards of late, let’s hope they can keep up the good work.

Spielman’s other priority as mentioned was to keep hold of our unrestricted free-agents, but while the future for these guys is clear, the situation for restricted free agents is not. Defensive End, Ray Edwards is not happy about being “caught in the middle” with regards the current situation. As it stands, we have to offer Edwards a contract or another team can lay claim to him so our role is clear, but this doesn’t stop Edwards feeling left out in the cold. Most of his frustration luckily is aimed at the “pencil push[ing]” Commish, Roger Goodell, and also the Players union. We just need to make sure that we do retain his services and keep him sweet with us. Handle this right and he’ll be a loyal player for years to come, take advantage of his situation and he could understandably leave us at the first opportunity.

Edwards also took time to speak about the loss to the Saints. His comments have drawn quite a bit of interest however due to hinting that the team showed some fear as the game neared its unfortunate climax.

“There’s no room for fear in this game and I felt that there was a little bit of that there in New Orleans and that’s why they beat us,”

We’d had a few pieces of insight into the Saints game but this is one of the more interesting. Now I’m not surprised the team were scared as the end of the game approached, this was a chance to get to the Super Bowl for the first time in 30-odd years, but being scared and showing fear are two different things, and Edwards is right when he says we showed fear whilst the Saints didn’t and that’s what lost us the game.

Edwards also vents some frustration at the attitude of the Vikings’ coaching staff.

“We try to pride ourselves in trusting everybody that is on our team and I feel that it wasn’t [the case],”

On the one hand these comments are worrying. For a player to come out and say that they didn’t feel the coaches trusted their players at a given point isn’t what you want to be hearing, and there is a good chance that over the coming days that certain areas of the media will take these quote and run wild with them, particularly with his future undecided. But at the same time, he also accounts this breakdown in trust as a blip, a poorly timed blip, but a blip nonetheless. Either way, it is something that needs to be overcome because if we are going to make it to the Promised Land, we need to be able to cope with crunch situations.

From real news to happy go luck offseason speculation, here’s a little gem from Bleacher Report, and 10 Things for The Minnesota Vikings to do this Offseason. Some pretty standard stuff in there about Favre and Peterson, but also some interesting opinions on keeping Ray Edwards over Chester Taylor, getting a better player to kick the ball to touchback every time (something about Ferris Bueler), and also some scathing views on the true value of Jared Allen and telling it like is about Madieu Williams.

And that’s all folks, apart from another slightly dour FAVRE WATCH

Today, Daniel Beer reckons we need to worry more about Cedric Griffin than we do Brett Favre.

And Dave Carroll throws in his opinion on Brett’s season and on our options if Favre does pack it all in.

Have a good one everybody!

Skol!

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Thursday morning – Jared puts his ass on the line, Favre is a tough guy and Tebow sucks

It’s Thursday morning, I’ve necked a gigantor can of Monster Energy, and later on I’m going to be watching some skeleton bobsleigh! What a day lies ahead of me! Thankfully though, there is a healthy dose of Vikings goodness to keep me sane…

One of the names which keeps cropping up for the Vikings in the draft is Tim Tebow. The winner of the Heisman Trophy has seen his stock in the draft drop considerably in recent months, and he is set to take another drop following this post from Jacksonville Jaguars’ offensive lineman Uche Nwaneri. It’s a brutal assessment, especially considering it’s coming from a player from Tebow’s home team. This could result in one of two things as far as I can see:

1) The Raiders sign him.

2) We sign him.

Either way, his future as a quality player is certainly in question. We’ve had a good track record recently when it comes to turning controversial players into stars (Harvin and Moss in particular), but if the kid has no ability then I’m sure Chilly and the rest of the coaches and scouts will avoid him.

Yesterday’s pics of Favre’s busted up leg and ankle have created quite the stir among the Vikings’ faithful. Some see it as a possible PR exercise to generate sympathy, and take the heat off Brett for his intercepted pass, though this isn’t washing with danzinski on The Viking Age. Whilst others have taken it as further proof of Favre being a super tough guy, and a possible sign that he is the Chuck Norris of the NFL.

Whilst on the subject of the battering Favre took against the Saints, former Viking and now Saints safety, Darren Sharper claims that the Saints aren’t a dirty team, they’re just a “bit grimy”.

“”[I]t is like taking a shower when you get up in the morning and are going to cut your grass.  You are nice and fresh when you cut the grass, but at the end you have a little griminess to you.”

Wow, I’d never thought of it like that, but when you use an analogy which sounds like it could have been written by brain dead troll, yeah, you know what Darren, you’re absolutely, bat-sh*t-crazy wrong! Obviously Sharper doesn’t want his team to be thought of as dirty, but when you beat the living hell out of a 40 year old future hall of famer, receive several penalties against you, then have the officials admit they even missed some roughing calls and then fine the team $30,000, it’s hard to argue otherwise, and no amount of gimptarded analogies will make people think otherwise.

But according to EA Sports, the Saints aren’t going to be on the receiving end of any comeuppance, after Madden NFL 10 predicted a Saints win in the Super Bowl, and as stupid as that may sound, it’s apparently been right five out of the last six times.

There’s some more news on the stadium situation today. The soup du jour is that we could use lottery money to help fund the stadium according to Gov. Tim Pawlenty. It’s hard to get too excited about this, but at least there are plenty of idea on the table.

Vikings Update has a table of our restricted and unrestricted free agents. Looking at it, our priorities should be to keep Chester Taylor and Ray Edwards. Both are integral parts of the team, and whilst Edwards is restricted, and should be easier to resign, we need to keep an eye on Taylor especially with an uncapped 2010 season. Big wages could lure him away, which would be a real blow, as he’s proven himself to be an excellent 3rd down back, and run blocker.

That’s your news for today, I’ll end as usual with another edition of…. FAVRE WATCH

The Vikings official website has the Maurice Jones-Drew interview with Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson from the Pro Bowl weekend. As expected he asks them about Favre, and then asks (or aks) the Mullett to make a personal plea for Favre to return:

“Silver Fox, we love you, everything but my backside loves you. But if you come back I will let you slap my rear end every single day in no gay way at all. But I will take that stinging pain and I will eat it [the pain I assume] every day.”

Wow! I mean wow! If that doesn’t work I don’t know what will… Well this might. The lovely folks at VikesFans4Favre have raised enough money to pay for this billboard in Favre’s hometown! Well done folks!

And that’s it… well almost. Just wanted to end with a tip of the hat to Bernard “Nard-Dawg” Berrian and Sidney Rice who were at a Charity gig last night for the Starkey Hearing Foundation. They posted a few pics of the night on their twitter pages, and it’s always great to see Purple Pride in the community.

Skol!

Favre is battered and bruised and more critical assessments of the Vikings’ O-Line!

Good Morning Vikings Fans!

Usually I’ll end my post with the daily FAVRE WATCH, but today it only seems right that I open with it. At some point yesterday, pictures started appearing of what is claimed to be Favre’s leg and his ankle following the Saints game. They are not for the faint hearted!

So it’s a tip of the hat to the Silver Fox, quite how he managed to play through that I don’t know, but it certainly puts a lot of athletes (particularly soccer players) to shame when you hear them moaning about breaking a nail. Brett Favre, Ironman extraordinaire, we salute you!

And the man himself will be making an appearance at this year’s Super Bowl… at least during the 2nd quarter commercial break, playing a 50 year old version of himself to advertise Hyundai’s 10 year warranty!

And finally in the Star Tribune, there’s an article on the financial impact of Favre this season, and the implication of whether he does or doesn’t return for another year.

And that’s your FAVRE WATCH for today…

Yesterday, I picked out a very negative view of our O-Line, and since then I’ve found a couple more views on why it should be one of our top priorities this offseason.

On Bleacher Report, Randall Granlund picks apart our starters, particularly McKinnie and Loadholt, and really hits home to everyone reading why it is so important that these concerns are addressed. He also suggests that we should switch from a zonal to man system which would make our boys a lot more effective. For me the key to our offence is keeping Peterson productive because he can control games. Favre was able to orchestrate big plays to get us back into games, but in the clutch, we need All Day to be productive and not wondering whether the line is going to make a hole for him to run through.

There’s also more heat on Bryant McKinnie, Andy Rarick reckons we need to get rid of the guy, and makes a very convincing argument, though I still doubt whether anyone at this point would be willing to take him off our hands, unless he really starts to make amends for his Pro Bowl boo boo!

I do wonder whether these stinging verdicts on our O-Line would have been as intense, had McKinnie just pulled out properly from the Pro Bowl or just shut up and played. But I guess we’ll never know. The O-Line has been sub par, particularly towards the end of the season however, and it is hard to deny this when you look at the beating Favre took against the Saints, and the reduced productivity and increased frustration on the part of Adrian Peterson. I am willing to give most of the players a little more time to improve. Sullivan in particular is still playing in the shadow of Matt Birk who was legendary at centre for us, and will have learnt a lot from this season. Time will tell on this matter, and the draft will shed some light on Chilly’s plans for the O-Line next season.

There’s been more talk about Tim Tebow, and why he’s the perfect fit for the Vikings. Now living in the UK, I don’t get any College Football, so all I really have to go on is what the press says. As a result I’m going to avoid assessing our draft options and instead try to give the best overview of them based on what I find around the web, so expect a compilation of mock drafts in the coming weeks. But that said, it is an interesting opinion on Tebow, who has gone all over the place in draft orders that I’ve seen so far, and there is no denying that with or without Favre, we need a prospect for the future. Could Tebow be that man?

And last of all this week, Tiki Barber has been giving his opinions on Adrian Peterson’s fumbling problems. His main piece of advice is that All Day needs someone to tell him that he needs to fix this, an authority figure who can hammer the point home, much like Tom Coughlin did with Barber. So come on Chilly, do your stuff!

And that’s it for today. Tomorrow, I’ll be taking a look at the results of my poll on the QB v Stadium situation. Once again, have a vote if you haven’t already, and feel free to comment if you think there is something else more important than either of these issues.

Monday morning Vikings Roundup – Jared tells Favre “Do the right thing”

Good morning all you happy Vikings! The Pro Bowl has come and gone, it’s the Super Bowl on Sunday, and given everything that has happened this season, it’s hard to give a crap about either.

As a result, I’m not going to sum up anything that happened last night, and it’s just too painful to look ahead to the Colts v Saints, because we should have been the ones who lined up to kick Manning’s ass!

The bittersweet nature of this years Pro Bowl for Vikings’ players is commented on by the Star Tribune today. And there isn’t much to add to that really. It looks like the guys enjoyed themselves which is what mattered, but it is a kick in the goolies to play in the same stadium as the SB, knowing you could have been there.

And that’s it, no more Pro Bowl talk for another year. Unless there’s any more stories around Bryant McKinnie, which there probably will be…

Vikings Update has an interesting insight into the sort of abuse that was thrown at Brett Favre during the NFC Championship game, if you need another reason to feel bitter about the game, and to hate the Saints then read on. Personally, I can’t wait for us to return to the Superdome next season and exact some revenge. Screw a cover 2 formation, let’s just sick every man, woman and child in Purple on Drew Brees. I’ll literally* shell out the $20000** for every late hit we unleash upon his midget ass!

*metaphorically

**the NFL accept monopoly money for fines don’t they?

And after what’s been a very quiet Monday, it’s time again for…. FAVRE WATCH

Today’s headline is a quote from HRH Jared Allen:

“Whatever Brett decides. We obviously respect him and want him back as a teammate. He was a great teammate. A guy in his position has every right to retire and if he wants to come back we’ll welcome him. Take your time. Make the right decision. Do the right thing, Brett. Do the right thing.”

You heard the man Brett, do the right thing! You know it makes sense.

Bleacher Report has an article on the Legacy of Brett Favre

We are left to wonder whether signing Donovan McNabb would be such a good idea after he “pulled a Favre” in the Pro Bowl last night… Still, it’s better than pulling a T-Jack.

And finally, Serena Williams said last week that she has drawn inspiration from the Silver Fox. Talking last week she said “He went out a champ[…]  Hopefully, he’ll come back.”

And that’s it for today, I’ve now got to watch some snowboarding, whilst simultaneously trying to ignore the replay of the NFC Championship which is playing on the other TV in the room… it burns!

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Vikings Pro Bowl Preview, McKinnie-Gate dominates headlines

A very good morning to all you Vikings fans on this beautifully crisp Sunday morning. Apologies for no entry yesterday, damn did I miss a lot of gossip!

Well one story anyway, involving our “Pro Bowl’ offensive tackle, Bryant McKinnie. Following his earlier tweets that he wants to get in the best shape of his life, it seems that old Big Mac has spent most of his time in South Beach living it up in the club, rather than training with the rest of the NFC ahead of the Pro Bowl today.

Consequently he’s been kicked off the team. Now McKinnie has gone into damage control, posting all sorts of explanations onto his twitter page, mostly along the lines that he’s wasn’t feeling strong enough to play in the game and had been in touch with his trainer about this and was looking to pull out anyway.

There has been plenty of opinion on this from all over the web, but from where I’m sitting (In bed with a hot chocolate, watching Federer destroy Murray), the issue of what McKinnie was actually doing in Florida is irrelevant, though he could have been a little less obvious about what he was doing on his twitter. It’s more the fact that he should have just not turned up for the Pro Bowl in the first place. If he was injured, then pull out and let someone else take your place. McKinnie’s actions could well damage the reputation an event which was already struggling for recognition within the grander scheme of the NFL, and it’s certainly rattled a few cages within the game.

In contrast to McKinnie’s Pro Bowl attitude, our All-Pro, and 7th consecutive Pro Bowl selected guard, Steve Hutchinson is raring to go tonight, despite having shoulder surgery lined up in two weeks time. His “old school” view on the game centres mostly around the game just being plain old fun, and an opportunity to see a lot of players who you might not see on a given season. The Star Tribune also reports in the same article that Jared Allen is also looking to pick up a few sacks in this game. I think it would really be a hoot though if he lined up on both the AFC and NFC D-Lines just so he’d have another shot at killing Aaron Rodgers, who starts for the NFC team.

In that same article there’s some info on the 2010 season with regards free agency. It reports that if the new Collective Bargaining Agreement isn’t in place by March 5th, then the Vikings will not be able to acquire any Unrestricted Free Agents unless we offload some of ours first because we made it to the NFC Championship game. This could prove both interesting and potentially damaging, as free agency is something we’ve come to use to our advantage in recent years. There are more details on this story here too…

There’s a very good interview with Fran Tarkenton by Ryan Michael. There isn’t any real Favre-bashing in there, it’s more of a good interview with one of the greatest players ever to wear purple so check it out.

The Star Tribune have a good interview with Jon Gruden, who coached the Bucks to Super Bowl glory in 2002, and is now on Monday Night Football duty. Obviously Favre is the subject of the day, but he also addresses the age old question of what we have to do to get over the hump and finally win a championship.

The Saints have been fined a total of $30,000 for 4 late hits last week, 3 of which were on Favre. How about fining the referees for missing those calls too? Just sayin’…

And finally it’s time for a very muted FAVRE WATCH

And pretty much all there is today is comparisons to a “Classy” Kurt Warner who retired yesterday. I must say that Warner has earned the right to retire, but to call him classier than a 40 year old legend of the game who got beat to crap last Sunday and came back for more is a bit of a cheap shot in my opinion.

And that’s it, it’s b-fast time now!

Season officially over, Chilly takes the rap for the 12th man, and my 10 points to put the Vikings on the road to recovery.

The weather has gotten awful cold in London these past few days. The mittens are on, the scarf is out, and the sleeping bag is opened up as an extra duvet on the bed. But I’m pretty sure it’s a lot colder in Minneapolis.

With a few days to digest everything that had happened, not only on Sunday but throughout the season, Brad Childress took to the media podium for the last time this season, to dissect Sunday’s loss and look ahead to 2010.

Unsurprisingly the main talking point was, what the Star Tribune has dubbed “The 12th-Man Game”. Chilly was very open about what had taken place, and took responsibility for what had happened, a very noble thing to do considering that this could haunt the team for many years to come.

It appears that going into the time-out there were 2 conversations that took place about the upcoming play:

“The initial conversation was about a personnel grouping with a tailback and a fullback and we ended up settling on a tight end, three-wide type of operation and we had the fullback in the huddle.”

Fahu Tahi was that fullback; and with a short timeout, Brett Favre communicating with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, and the other coaches “over communicating with their position group”, Tahi (who was apparently squatting on the other side of the huddle) was never spotted.

“That’s my mistake…  It hurts a great deal and it hurts everyone a great deal. So, I’m disappointed that it happened.”

This could well be the defining moment of Childress’ career. We had a chance of making it to the big game, and instead it put the team under enormous pressure which resulted in the interception, and as a result, we couldn’t even give Longwell a shot of making a field goal to seal it. But it wasn’t the sole reason we lost, and this is why I think Childress taking responsibility can help the team recover.

The loss wasn’t because of one giant mistake, it was a collection of many, and if the whole team can accept that, then we have a chance of moving on, keeping the locker room spirit that was so powerful this season, and challenging again next year.

But there is a lot that needs to change if we are to, so I’ve come up with a 10 point plan which can help the Purple come back next year:

1) Adrian Peterson needs to fix his fumbling problem. He can do this by living up to his nickname “All Day”. As in he needs to carry a football with him all day throughout the off season, and every time he drops it, he loses that weeks wages. But let’s not make it too easy for him. Let’s set the Vikings’ running backs coach Eric Bieniemy on him, and for every time he can make him fumble the ball, he gets the lost wages as a bonus.

2) Get Favre signed up as soon as possible. If we can’t sign him, we get someone else. I’m not totally sold on McNabb, but as my previous blogs have said, I don’t trust Tavaris or Sage to make the coffee, let alone a touchdown pass when it’s really needed.

3) Put the O-Line up against our D-Line, only their mammas are at QB and they have to protect them from Jared Allen and Ray Edwards. They did not protect Favre enough on Sunday. True he was never sacked, but he got hit hard enough to make him consider whether he’d actually make it through another season alive.

4) Improve the secondary. Nuff sed.

5) Keep the team together. There has been so much talk about not only how good this team was, but how much spirit there was in the locker room. We lose anyone and it could destroy this, and then we’re really up the creek.

6) Sort out the new stadium. I love the Metrodome, it may be old and crumbling, but it is a terrifying place to come to if you’re the visitors, as out 9-0 record testifies to. But time is running out on a new pad, and it is another pressure factor on the team if they’re wondering where they’re gonna be playing in a few years. And I for one would like to have an outdoor stadium. I never went there, but I hear the old Metropolitan Stadium was the coldest most inhospitable place on earth. Bud Grant refusing our team heaters on the sidelines because the fans didn’t have them really created an extra bond between the team and fans, and I think an outdoor stadium could be just as effective as a noisy dome when it comes to crushing the spirit of the opposition. But right now I’d take anything as a new home, because the thought of the Vikings moving away from the Twin Cities is too much to bear.

7) Pick wisely in the draft. This goes without saying really, and we’ve had a couple of good drafts recently, but with 30th overall, our chances of picking up another Percy Harvin is slim. We should know more about what we need once Favre Watch ends, but one suggestion I heard was to draft QB Tim Tebow from Florida. His stock has dropped a lot recently so he could still be available, and with no real future at that position, with or without Favre, he could be a good addition. But then again, our secondary needs beefing up, and with rumors that the Patriots are interested in Chester Taylor, a new RB might be on the menu too…

8) Find some way of improving our road record. Go train overseas for a few weeks (come to London!), go somewhere that is unfamiliar and outdoors, we could have sealed home field if we hadn’t lost to teams we should have beaten on the road last year (Chicago, and Carolina in particular).

9) Further to improving All Day’s ball retaining skills, we need to make sure he gets his 2000-yard-a-season mojo back, and isn’t too disheartened by this year’s problems. The O-Line wasn’t as sharp without Matt Birk at centre, and if they can make a few more holes in opposition D’s then our offence could be even more deadly next year

10) Keep the faith. This season wasn’t a disaster. It was magic! Pure magic, and whilst the magic ran out, it was one hell of a ride, and it will be remembered more for that than the 12th-Man Game.

And finally this week it’s time for FAVRE WATCH

Day 3: Brad Childress wouldn’t be surprised “one way or the other” if Favre decided to retire or re-sign, would you like a cushion for that fence you’re sitting on?

Tiger Woods’ “wife”, Elin Nordegran is taking refuge at the Favre ranch to avoid the media spotlight, though personally I think the White House would have been more low key at this particular point  in time.

And, Tony Romo is going to replace Favre at the Pro Bowl. So that now means my chances of watching the Pro Bowl is about the same as me surviving 5 seconds of a Shakira record.

Until tomorrow…

26/01/10 – The cold, hard light of day

Last night, with a kind of morbid curiosity, I sat down with my fiancée to watch the highlights from last night. Enough has already been written about the game, the mistakes, the fumbles, the interception, and the poor calls from the refs. All I’m going to say is that it still stings, and is going to for quite a while.

What I’m being forced to do is to try and take solace in just about anything, for example:

1) I’d much rather we lost this, than lost another Super Bowl. Really! If you look at Super Bowl losers over the past 9 years, with the exception of the Cardinals, and possibly the Eagles, all the other teams have faded into obscurity or are in the process of decline. The Patriots, Bears, Seahawks, Panthers, Raiders, Rams and Titans all lost Super Bowls, and out of this list, only the Titans are starting to recover. Now of course I am making the assumption that we’d have lost to the Colts, but judging by our apparent curse, this is a pretty fair assumption to make.

2) The team could be galvanised further by this loss. Like I said, it’s not a Super Bowl loss, and given the manner in which we played and the bad luck we had in the game, there are still a lot of positives.

3) At least I don’t support the Cowboys. I mean I’d have to bathe in bleach every day just to try and wash all that icky fail off my skin.

More mourning in the coming weeks I’m sure, but for now it’s time to move on, sort of…

The Minnesota Star Tribune is taking a look at all the talking points from the game, and for me the biggest factor in our loss, the 12th man on the field. In quite possibly the understatment of the century, Chilly said on Sunday night that “We just had a fullback in there and we changed up and broke the huddle with 12… You can’t call back-to-back timeouts, either. I thought we slipped up there.” Slipped up. Really? I think it was more like dipping your nuts in honey, walking out into the woods, and then acting all surprised that a hoard of fire ants have rendered you infertile. It was not a slip up, it was the mother, brother, any other sucker of all “slip ups”! It was walking straight into the lions den armed with an etch-a-sketch and a pen lid.

Now it seems that Tahi might have been the full-back who wasn’t meant to be there in the huddle, and he was understandably cagey when questioned yesterday during the final locker room media day, fending off questions with a “Coach Childress will talk about it because I really don’t know what happened or what was going on. They’ll know more about it than I do.” I can’t imagine what he’s going through if he was the one at fault, but what is more likely in my opinion is that it was one of the coaches who sent him out there. More answers could come today though during Chilly’s final presser of the season, so more on that tomorrow.

There is still no news on the extent of Cedric Griffin’s injury, though all signs are still that it’s a torn ACL. Also added to the injury list is Antoine Winfield, who re-injured his foot in OT. Hopefully these will all be cleared up by the start of the new season, but I’m particularly concerned about Winfield, who was a shadow of his former self when he came back from injury this season. With any luck the off-season break will do him the world of good.

So with the Pro Bowl coming up this weekend, and very few of our players who were selected actually going, the only things left to do are to wallow in the defeat some more, fantasize about next season, wonder whether we’ll draft a new star QB or the next Troy Williamson, and stay tuned in to…

FAVRE WATCH!

In today’s edition, the Wilf’s could offer the old man a mega contract to stay on next season, Darren Sharper reckons he should come back, and ESPN’s Ed Werder claims Favre told him it’s very unlikely he’ll be back. *

*All items in Favre Watch should be taken with water, after meals, and in the knowledge that 99 times out of 100 they are concocted by the Jagermeister Troll (a bit like the Absinthe Fairy, only 300lbs and sporting an overgrown handlebar moustache)

Vikings miss out on another Super Bowl – Not the best way for me to start out

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: