Wednesday Wilderness, the offseason speculation begins

Good morning Purple Nation! Well, we are most definitely into the long and lonesome offseason, with major news outlets starting to spew out their early predictions on next season. So far it looks like we are going to sack the entire team, re-hire them, trade half of them for Randy Moss, then trade Randy Moss for all 32 picks in round 1 of the draft, then give away Tim Tebow to Dallas, Ndkammonnkkgggffttwwqq “The Consonant King” Suh will end up at the Rams through pure goodwill, and then following a couple more crafty trades, we’ll have the same old team back, minus Chester Taylor who had a change of heart and took up Curling.

Phew! Now that’s out of the way, I’ll move onto what’s really being said:

Joseph Oberle on the Minnesota Vikings Examiner has a nice and easy to digest summary of the key issues facing every position during the offseason. He also states, as many already have, that our season was not a failure, and that we can build on it for next year. And of course, whatever happens in the next 7 months will be very fun to watch, so brace yourselves folks!

If you want something a little more meaty in term of analysis of the team, look no further than Vikings Gab, who are running a great series of articles on each and every position on the team.

They’ve also served up a couple of recent gems, including this classic picture from the Super Bowl, and a great analysis of Charley Walters‘ article yesterday concerning a deadline for Favre! I guess they don’t like him that much…

On Bleacher Report today, we have one of many Mock Drafts which are going to start popping up on a regular basis over the coming months. The key to this one is the addion of defensive players. I can’t argue with the need for a new CB, though a quality, strong player on the O-Line would also be nice to protect whoever is under centre next year. They also suggest that we need to take a QB in the first 4 rounds regardless of the Brett situation. Again, hard to disagree, after cutting John David Booty last year a fresh face is necessary. Defence, especially in the air was a real problem last season too, so some young blood to challenge the starters can only be a good thing, especially when the offense is so explosive.

Except that is, for Adrian Peterson. After disappointing numbers in ’09 (though still very good), every man and his dog has come out with suggestions on how he can improve. Most of it centres around ball protection, but Dave Smith on Bleacher Report has a more original idea which would see All Day going back to his playing roots, and actually being less patient. I must say that I quite like this idea. Peterson playing off instincts rather than being patient as he has been told the past couple of years is a risky tactic, but such is his talent that it could well work in his favour. But whatever AP decides to do with regards his approach to running the ball, protecting the damn thing must be numero-uno on his to-do list.

Right, that’s your lot for today! Except of course for your usual, but slightly lacking FAVRE WATCH!

Tyrell Jenkins reckons that another year of the Silver Fox would all but prevent Peyton Manning from breaking Brett’s main NFL records (the int record is probably already safe though…)

So come on Brett, come back! Do it for Peyton! Do it for the children!

Tuesday morning roundup – Left to wonder what could have been…

Good morning Vikings’ fans. I know I’m not the first to say this, but… Wow, we would have destroyed the Colts in the Super Bowl if we were there. I know I touched on this yesterday, but having seen a large part of the Super Bowl last night over a bowl of chicken wings, well…

What could have been… Isn’t that just our lot in life as a Vike? And there are so many out there who are wallowing in similarly depressing thoughts. I think my favourite so far is from Gonzo @  The Daily Norseman. It is very true that we had a successful season, some might even say a very successful season, but as Gonzo points out, this matters not because we have been there before. We’ve had successful seasons like this one, but they’ve all ended the same way, disappointment because we haven’t reached the promised land. And there is so much injustice in this considering that we’re one of the most successful teams in the league, but are still trailing behind teams like the Bucks! It really does feel like a kick in the gooch!

Moving onto the news for the day, and the bookies make the Colts favourite for 2011, whilst we are 12/1 according to Bodog. Whilst I feel our odds are fair(ish) (we’re the same as the Peckers and Ladyboys), they could go up or down depending on whether Favre stays for another year, but either way I honestly think we are in with a good shot next year. The Colts are going to be hungover from the SB loss, and the Saints could well become caught up in all the hysteria surrounding their win (don’t get me wrong, what happened to NO is a tragedy, I wouldn’t wish it on anywhere and I’m glad they have something to cheer about at last, but the media are making the SB win out to be a miracle cure for the city, which in my opinion just amounts to lazy journalism, but I digress). In the AFC I fancy the Jets to make it all the way this time, though the Ravens could well be a bit of a dark horse. And in the NFC, we are definitely up there, but (and it pains me to say it) the Packers could well make a charge late on, along with the Saints. So what have we learned? Don’t make pre-season predictions a couple of days after the Super Bowl.

On Vikings Gab, they have an article speculating that Big Pat is coming back. He may be nearly as old as Favre, but Pat Williams in a mammoth of a man, who seals our defensive line with a combination of brute strength and sheer width. He said after the loss to the Saints that he was 50/50 to retire which was a concern, but if he does return it will be a massive boost for the team. So our message is “Come home Pat!”

In the LA Times, Sam Farmer rated our game vs the 49ers and the win @ Lambeau as the 9th and 10th top games of the season respectively. Yup, both cracking games, both sure to be remembered for some time. Sadly the 1st and 2nd best games are of course the Saints wins in the SB and NFC Champ…  so that sucks.

Sammy Sucu wrote an off season wish list for the Vikings’ . It’s hard to disagree with any of these points, and it reaffirms the belief of the majority of Vikings’ fans that we need Favre to come back for another year.

Okay folk, you know what time it is… FAVRE WATCH! Today with added beard.

Okay so maybe I lied about the beard, but instead there’s an extra helping of speculation and opinion.

Charley Walters reckons we need to hear from Favre by March 5th.

 And ESPN’s Andy Schefter thinks Favre will come back.

Cor blimey guvnor! A rather spiffingly empty Favre Watch if ever I saw one. But that’s the joy of the lottery. Sometimes there be gems, sometimes there be cat litter. Skol!

So that’s it then? The Vikings enter the wilderness, Favre watch hots up, and there’s a smiling dog to cheer you up

So, the exclusive, yet sorry “Never Won a Super Bowl Club” is now one member lighter. Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints, 2010 Super Bowl Champions.

Okay now the niceties are out of the way, we can get on with day one in the offseason wilderness. We have a few stories to keep an eye on and help pass the time, the main one being the classic will he/won’t he over the Silver Fox. There’s also going to be some stories around both Warren Sapp and Bryant McKinnie who appear to be in varying degrees of trouble. After all that blows over, it’s draft time, and between April 22nd and April 24th the Vikings will acquire (hopefully) the players we need to sustain another Super Bowl campaign. And then there’s going to be another empty patch before the teams come back for training camp and then a totally pointless but nourishing 4 pre-season games. It’s going to be a very long summer indeed.

Now that the Saints are Super Bowl Champions, there’s already talk that we will be their first opponent as the first prime time game of the season. Our 50th year as an NFL franchise, playing the team that edged us out of the NFC Championship in a thoroughly heartbreaking game and went on to win the Super Bowl makes for the perfect headline, and if Favre comes back it could be an even bigger draw. If this game is scheduled, it’s going to make the build up to next season even bigger, and more nerve racking. We want revenge, we all want revenge! we want to beat the living hell out of all of them, especially Brees who escaped our O-Line, while Favre endured a beating which could still trigger his retirement. We owe them, and a win would re-galvanize the team in the wake of that crushing defeat. Basically what I’m saying is, bring it on!

The Vikes Geek blog has run a story about the Saints win and how it could bolster the likelihood of Favre’s return. Running along the lines of, the Saints were better than the Colts, and we were better than the Saints (despite turnovers we ran them all over their pitch), Favre would be mad to pass up the chance to play with these guys again. We can therefore take some comfort in the Saints win… Now personally I’d have much rather the Colts won because I’m just plain bitter about losing to New Orleans, and they’re a dirty bunch of )(*&^%$$ £^*($&(£*£IO£( £&^%£”^ $!”£$”$ *****, but this is a positive way of looking at last night’s result. In time I hope I can come to share the same point of view. But until then, like many Vikings’ fans, I’m left to wonder what could have been had we managed to beat the Saints, rather than throwing it away, because let’s face it, we would have decimated the Colts.

There are more details emerging about Bryant McKinnie’s and his partying habits. Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald has an extensive report detailing the time he met McKinnie, along with a report on all the other shenanigans that out OT has been embroiled in. It is not a very shining report, and it does make me wonder whether this guy should just be gotten rid of, because he seems to care more about partying and spending $20,000 a night, rather than repairing his image.

On the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, there is a report on the Vikings’ low revenue stream and how some NFL owners are trying to dissolve the current revenue sharing scheme which sees around $15-20 mil being transferred to the Vikings’ from other clubs every year. Of course it is concerning that we need the money in the first place, but something which could see this disappear is surely a wake up call to get a new, higher capacity stadium built, and improve the franchise so it can compete financially with the rest of the NFL.

Rick Alonso, also from the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reckons we are a strong team even without Favre.  He cites the fact that we would still have a high number of Pro Bowlers even if Favre left, and possibly Pat Williams too. Despite these potential losses, and Chester Taylor too to free agency, our key offensive players are still developing so the future is a bright one… So there’s more to be cheery about!

And that’s about it for today. The only thing left is FAVRE WATCH

After announcing it on the site last week, here it finally is: Brett Favre as the 2020 MVP!

KFAN radio in the Twin Cities have also launched their own Billboard for Brett campaign. Check out TheVikingShip for a pic… I’m now wondering if I should stick one up here in London, just in case Brett decided to vacation here.

And finally, in case the blues have got you by the short and curlies, and you can’t make it through; here’s a little something which might cheer you up… it’s a Japanese dog who really loves his owner:

All glory to the smiling dog

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!

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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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: