There are very few things in the world that I really truly care about. The Minnesota Vikings are one of those things. I have been a Vikings fan since the day I was born, and will be a Vikings fan until the day I die. It’s not an easy life. I cried in 2009 after Favre gunslinged (gunslung?) the NFC championship away against the Saints. Just a few years ago Blair Walsh ripped out my still beating heart, set it on the ground, and hooked it wide left. It is one of the constants in the NFL. The Browns are always bad, New England is always in the AFC Championship, and the Vikings always lose the heart breaker in the playoffs. Not this year though.
I was lucky enough to be in attendance for the Divisional Round game against the Saints last week. It was easily the greatest day of my life. It all felt like a dream the moment that I walked into that beautiful stadium in Minneapolis. But not even in my wet dreams could I come up with an ending like that game had. A lot of people have asked me “how was it being there for that?” and I have had a really tough time putting the moment into words besides saying that it was unbelievable. Just imagine being surrounded by 60,000 plus people, all feeling the same feelings as you. Feelings of anger and that creeping, familiar, disappointment that Vikings fans feel every single season it seems. It was eerily quiet in the stadium for the whole final drive. No one had anything to say, and no one needed to say anything. Every single one of us had been there so many times. This team was too good to lose in their first playoff game, but it looked like all hope was lost. And then it happened.
I was sitting on the opposite sideline of where Diggs caught the pass. I saw him go up and catch it and immediately said “get out of bounds!” and then he landed and had nothing but wide open field in front of him. After that it was pandemonium. Pure blissful pandemonium. I didn’t even know what to do with myself besides jump and scream. I probably said “holy shit” upwards of 100 times in a row. Everyone was hugging and laughing. One lady in front of me was just standing there bawling her eyes out. It is something that I will never forget. Even when I’m older and have some serious Alzheimer’s I’ll remember that day. Shit like that transcends brain disease. It’s been almost a week and I still get chills every time I see a replay of that play.
For the first time in my life I am confident that the Vikings aren’t going to let me down this year. They definitely have a good enough roster to win it all. Them and the Patriots are the two best teams left and I think most people (besides Jags and Eagles fans) want to see those teams in the Super Bowl. It will be the first time in history that a team will be playing the Super Bowl in their home stadium and that place will be bonkers. All they have to do is take care of business in Philly. Even if they play the Pats in the Super Bowl they are going to win it. For the first time in history they have the cruel bitch called Destiny on their side. They have the ability to beat any team in all three aspects of the game. A lot of people are worried about their only weakness on paper. The Quarterback position. I am not one of those people. Case Keenum might not have a neck, but he does have a set of titanium nuts, and has shown that he is not afraid to step up and make the plays that he needs to. I know that by saying all of this I’m just setting myself up for even more disappointment, but I don’t give a flying fuck. I genuinely believe that this is the year for the Vikings to finally bring it home.
For more thoughts and analysis on the Vikings and the rest of AFC/NFC Championship weekend, check out the latest episode of the Loaded Box Podcast!