It all begins today with the National Football League’s Wildcard games.
This is the year that the Minnesota Vikings exorcize their demons one week at a time.
Think about it… what are arguably the biggest disappointments in Minnesota Viking history?
For my money, I’d list them this way
- Every Super Bowl loss. I don’t care if it was the first against the Chiefs or any of the other three against the Dolphins, Steelers and Raiders, they all sucked. Super Bowl Sunday was one dark blotch on the entire decade of the 70s.
- Gary Anderson’s missed field goal in the 1999 NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons. I mean the guy NEVER missed. EVER. But that one time, he did. And the Vikings’ shot at a redeeming Super Bowl win died.
- Bountygate and Brett Favre’s ill-advised pass against the New Orleans Saints in the 2010 NFC Championship game that, once-again, ended what we all hoped would be a Super Bowl season.
This is the year the Vikings settle all family business.
Of course, it will require the Falcons and Saints to do their parts and win their Wildcard games this weekend. But once the Falcons eliminate the Rams and the Saints send the Panthers home, the Vikings’ Redemption Tour can get underway.
First up, they get revenge for 2010 and end the Saints’ season. And if they just happen to beat up Drew Brees so badly that he retires from football, well, that would just be karma.
To set up the next exorcism, the Falcons will have to dump the Eagles, but honestly, does anyone really see Nick Foles leading his team to a playoff win against, well, anybody? I don’t.
That sets up a do-over of 1998’s gut-punch and this time the Vikings have a kicker that has already missed his first field goal of the season… and his second… and his third… and his fourth… and his fifth… and his sixth. Let’s face it, the last thing Kai Forbath will have to think about as he lines up to kick a potential winning field goal is, “this would be a bad time to miss my first field goal of the season.”
Just to be safe, of course, it would be best if the rest of the team spends the first 59 minutes of the game destroying the Falcons so we don’t have to wonder what Forbath is thinking when he sets up for a clutch field goal (or PAT attempt, for that matter).
That brings us to what we’ve all been looking forward to – the Vikings hosting the Super Bowl in their own home stadium.
Now, I know most of the prognosticators are saying they’ll face the New England Patriots in the Big Game. And that would be fun, I agree.
It would also be very cool to see the Buffalo Bills somehow weave their way through the AFC playoff minefield and set up a contest between the two franchises with easily the sorriest Super Bowl histories in the NFL.
After all, one fanbase would finally have something to really celebrate.
But no, the Vikings must face either the Kansas City Chiefs, who topped the Joe Kapp led Vikings (yes, Joe Kapp actually led a team to the Super Bowl… I still don’t understand how that happened, but it did) in the 1970 Super Bowl, or the Pittsburgh Steelers, who out-defensed the Vikings in 1975’s version.
Either the Chiefs or Steelers would serve as an appropriate representative from which the Vikings could garner vindication for all four past Super Bowl losses.
That path, extinguishing the flames of the Saints, Falcons and either the Chiefs or Steelers and leading to the franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy, all taking place in U.S. Bank Stadium, no doubt in front of Bud Grant, Fran Tarkenton and a host of past Vikings greats, would finally put to rest all of the ghosts that have haunted the Vikings over the past five decades.
Make it so.