The Wide Angle: Vikings fans and their love of the word ‘Noooooo’

Published 7:01 am Sunday, January 14, 2018

Being a fan of anything Minnesota is never an easy proposition.

There are disappointments, unexpected hurdles, tribulations and of course, good old-fashioned shenanigans.

Which makes being a Minnesota Vikings fan this year a bit of a high-wire act.

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Sure, we’re not on any kind of level similar to what Cleveland Browns fans have experienced, especially in a year that saw them winless [hey, at least you were perfect — at something?]. Vikings fans have had to endure their fair share of headaches and trials as well.

Right off the bat, a Minnesota fan has to acknowledge the four Super Bowl appearances, all of which ended in losses.

But more recently, we can all remember with some residual resentment, the Vikings’ loss to the New Orleans Saints in the 2009 NFC title game.

I can remember turning it off towards the end of regulation, sure the Vikings were done, only to turn it on later to see the game in overtime and the Vikings driving with the then ageless quarterback Brett Favre.

I thought, “holy crap the Vikings are going to the Super Bowl with a good chance to win it all.”

History in the making.

And then, after marching to the Saints’ 33-yard line, were penalized for too many players on the field.

Followed by what I easily termed the most irritating Vikings performance that I can remember watching. Brett Favre was forced from the pocket. With his armed cocked back, I thought, “Don’t pass that ball … *expletive.*”

What makes that so anger -inducing is that he only had to run a little bit further and then head out of bounds. That year they had Ryan Longwell as the kicker, indoors. He was so clutch that year he could have changed his name to And It’s Good.

But no, the man who excelled just as much at throwing interceptions as he did touchdowns, decided to force an unnecessary throw.

Ahhh, to be a Vikings fan.

This year the Vikings are once again dangerous, against a lot of odds I might add. Case Keenum was the third-string quarterback and despite a year where fans just waited for the bottom to fall out, Keenum just kept guiding Minnesota to wins.

The defense is frightening and the offense is finally catching up with an offensive line that won’t, on most snaps, put Keenum’s life in danger like it did for Sam Bradford the year before.

And now the talking heads of the sports world have even put the Vikings in a position to win it all. I’ve seen a couple people that for one reason or another have Minnesota not only in the Super Bowl, but winning it all.

Add to that the Super Bowl is in the glass castle that is US Bank Stadium and people are understandably excited.

Except, if you’re a true Vikings fan then in the back of your head you’re maybe thinking … “eehhh, let’s maybe just take it one game at a time.”

Looking at you Blair Walsh.

Certainly don’t believe the talking heads you find at ESPN or FOX Sports — especially at FOX Sports.

An example if you will – they’ve been wrong at most everything so far.

By about midway through the season, more than a few people who like yelling at each other for an hour, jabbered that there were really only two teams: the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Every so often somebody would make an argument for Dallas or Pittsburgh or on a few occasions, the Vikings, but more often than not that ended with, “Yeah, but is Keenum the guy and when will Bridgewater be back?” It’s almost like there was some sort of smug satisfaction to the Vikings failing.

But then Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz gets hurt and reports started surfacing that not all was golden in Oz as questions arose that Tom Brady was showing his age and then there was the tension with Bill Belichick.

About that time Dallas was getting back Ezekial Elliot at running back and the talking heads who were hedging on New England and Philadelphia all of a sudden started proclaiming Dallas the most dangerous team going into the playoffs.

Later that week Dallas was embarrassed and run out of playoff contention before the playoffs even got started.

This was followed by the Rams being the most dangerous team in the NFL playoffs. The Falcons disagreed and now they are playing in Philadelphia, L.A.

Oddly, they then started talking about Carolina being the most dangerous team in the playoffs. Drew Brees and the Saints all agreed they weren’t and promptly kicked them out of the Wild Card round.

So this leaves Minnesota, Atlanta, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Tennessee, New England, Jacksonville and Pittsburgh.

And more and more people are leaning on Minnesota as a favorite. This is scary new territory, because very few except the most zealous of Minnesota fans believe they are the favorites.

The rest of us will cheer and root for Vikings to play the Super Bowl in The Bank, but we also still harbor that little tick that wonders when the bottom will fall out.

I do hope the Vikings take it all. It would be historic and finally give the Vikings faithful that title they’ve always wanted.

However, I am keeping an even keel. Just in case, I’m earmarking what’s on the Food Network.