I have been a Minnesota Vikings fan my whole life whether the team wins or loses. Have I had heartbreak? Absolutely!! My first year of season tickets was 1998 when I watched the Falcons do the Dirty Bird at the Metrodome. My wife and I flew to New Orleans for the 2010 NFC title game between the Vikes and Saints. It was just last year the team started out 5-0 and the talk of the media in their first season in US Bank Stadium and then we watched them win only 3 more games all year and finish 8-8.
The offseason comes and I look forward to the combine then the draft and I am pumped up again for another season and then when Training Camp comes I al overcome with hype and excitement created by myself.
I am 52 going on 53 in January but the number 52 has so much meaning as it was the 52nd and last Training Camp ever in Mankato and Super Bowl in Minnesota is 52 and the retirement of 52, Chad Greenway.
This Training Camp was so emotional for me as I had spent the last 24 years going to camp. I had met so many wonderful fans, watched hundreds of hours of practice in the Mankato heat, met and got pictures with over 400 different players through the years and the autographs and keepsakes made this camp so hard knowing this was it. I went to school at MSU-Mankato and have seen 2 of my daughters graduate from there so the ties and bond to this school just was extra full of emotion living through the nothing is forever is so real.
The home opener came on 9/11 and Adrian Peterson came back to US Bank with his New Orleans Saints in what was a major media hype game. What a storybook with long time Vikes, AP coming back to face his old teammates. The NFL had to love this storyline in hopes the viewership would sky rocket. Peterson’s first carry was good for 8 or 9 yards but after that is was Vikes defense shutting him down. It was strange but real hearing the boo birds every time Adrian’s name was mentioned over the PA system at US Bank. The Vikes took care of business and started the year out 1-0.
The Vikes traveled to Pittsburgh which I feel is a very tough place to play and what made it even harder is after watching Sam Bradford throw for 83 percent completion vs the Saints he was out this game and the beginning of Case Keenum’s taking over the quarterback duty. The Vikes lost and I guess I was ok knowing it was only 1 game with 14 left.
The Vikes had 3 losses on the season and maybe the most disappointing to me was the 14-7 loss to the Detroit Lions at home which was the team’s only home loss on the season. Yes, a loss to Carolina was tough to take but in that game just too many mistakes but in the Lions game I don’t remember seeing anything I liked in a totally flat game.
The Vikes faced a Bears team on Monday night football and we got the news the Bears would start the #2 overall pick, Mitchell Trubisky in a Bears home game. I thought oh boy this is all we need.
The Bears game that night might have the most meaning to me all season for different reasons. I got a call on Friday October 6th my dad had choked and was taken to the hospital so I headed up to St. Paul Region not knowing I was coming into. I got there and found him on life support and on Sunday October 8th my dad passed away at the age of 74. He was a Bears fan but also a Vikings fan so to see him die the day before the Bears-Vikes game was extra emotional.
It was the craziest rest of the seasons for me seeing the team I love go on an incredible run only losing 1 game I may have ever been part of as a fan.
The road wins which I know the team does not typically have good luck on we saw different with road wins in Washington, Atlanta in their brand new stadium and the Lions on Thanksgiving Day. Is this our year?
I will never forget the touchdown celebrations by the team with the Leap Frog, Duck Duck Grey Duck, or how about the soccer slide by Thielen in London? I loved Stefon Diggs in the home game vs the Bears after he scored and reenacted Dorothy from Wizard of Oz clicking his heels 3 times, there is no place like home. I give an A plus for this fun in the end zone all 2017 season.
This whole season was next man up as we saw rookie sensation, Dalvin Cook go down for the year and see Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon take over and what a job. The turnovers we have seen in the past by running backs just did not happen this season.
The offensive line last season may be the worst I have ever seen in my life at any level and this 2017 season we see rookie center, Pat Eflein come in and anchor maybe one of the best Vikes OLines I have seen in some time.
How about the team losing their long snapper and tight end David Morgan step in never having snapped and did such a good job he got the game ball from Coach Zimmer.
Case Keenum I could not be happier for as he had an unreal regular season. His guiding the team to this incredible run thus far has been so fun to watch. I offer up the same as the running backs and that was the very few interceptions Keenum threw has to be complimented. I say this about Case and that is I don’t know if he would win a 100 yard dash but his asset to me is his quickness. The amount of times defenses got almost to him and with his quickness to escape a pass rush. He was almost like a version of Houdini with his disappearing acts on apparent sacks to be.
The year Adam Thielen has had thus far has to be a top 5 NFL story. A kid out of Detroit Lakes High School and onto Minnesota State University to make it on the team as an undrafted free agent and with his year his jersey sales were a top 5 in the NFL. He hauls in a career high 90 catches and breaks the 1000 yards mark being the first wide out since 2009 to do so when Sidney Rice did it.
The year Stefon Diggs has had thus far becoming the fast to reach the200 catch mark in his career with the Vikes taking only 40 games to do so with Randy Moss and Percy Harvin taking 42 catches. The receptions he made at times during the season in double coverages were jaw dropping. The incredible catches while getting pounded and yet hanging onto the ball leaves a fan speechless.
The defense I could write a 10 page or more on my thoughts on their performance this season. We saw Everson Griffen get a sack in 8 straight games and ended the regular season with 13. The performance by Linval Joseph all year has been awesome with opponents having very little success running up the middle.
The linebacker play by Anthony Barr and Eric Kedricks leaves me speechless at home games watching their pursuit all game sideline to sideline has been amazing.
The secondary has been incredible with Xavier “Rhodes closed” Rhodes game in and game out shutting down such guys as Julio Jones, AJ Green and whoever the Packers would put out there.
The man who needs my praise is Trae Waynes who has showed more and more each game why the Vikes thought so highly of him. I thought he may have played his best game of the season at home vs the Bears.
It’s stillhard to believe when the Vikes shutout the Packers at Lambeau was the first shutout in 24 seasons. I guess if it’s going to happen what better place to have it happen.
The Vikes finished the season #1 in the NFL in defense which I can’t speak highly enough of. The home games with the crowd noise and the defense being so stifling makes me super excited to see the Purple take on anyone at US Bank. I say good luck to whoever comes here.
It’s been a magical year thus far and seeing so many national media predicting the Vikes will represent the NFL in the Super Bowl. Las Vegas has the Vikes with 2nd best odds at 4:1 to win the Super Bowl behind the 2:1 Patriots.
Will the Vikes be the first team in NFL history to play in their own stadium in the Super Bowl? I hope so with all my heart. My hope id my dad will be looking over my shoulder in rooting on my team at US Bank.
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