Becoming a Minnesota Vikings fan was inevitable. It all started with my father who is a die hard Vikings fan. If you wonder how die hard of a fan, well picture owning up to about 8 seasons worth of recorded VHS tapes of just Minnesota Vikings games. So it was clear my fate had already been chosen, but little did I know what a roller coaster of a ride it would be.
This is a blur of a memory as I was only eight years old, but this should have waved as a caution flag for me as I was entering into Viking "fandom." It was 1998, the Minnesota Vikings were 15 and 1. They were unlike anything the NFL had ever seen up to that time, the highest scoring offense to ever step on the field under the electrifying rookie Randy Moss, the hall of fame great Cris Carter, Randall Cunningham, and Robert Smith as the core group. They also had a guy by the name of Gary Anderson, one of the greatest kickers of all time. "Anderson hasn't missed in two years." Those were the words of the late Pat Summerall. The Vikings were up by 7 with Gary Anderson looking to put the game away and send arguably the greatest team of all time into the Super Bowl. "Anderson hasn't missed in two years." I cant even put into words what the atmosphere was like in my living room after that game had come to a conclusion. To sum up the ending, for you all who aren't aware, Anderson would miss a chip shot field goal for the first time in two years and the Falcons would drive down the field and tie the game up as time expired. In overtime the Falcons would eventually eliminate the Vikings from the playoffs. My father and his friends who were also Vikings fans didn't even say a word to one another. I swear to you the man was speechless for a week and didn't even watch the Super Bowl. I remember thinking how does just a "game" affect someone so harshly. Well, I would soon find out.
It is the year 2000. This was the first year I can say I remember watching every single second of every Minnesota Viking game. I thought well being a Viking fan is easy, we were just in the NFC Championship game two years ago and here we are again with another chance to play in the Super Bowl. I remember the day just like it was yesterday.Falling asleep in my Daunte Culpepper jersey, waking up throughout the night excited to watch the game, getting up early to go to my fathers friends house to watch the Conference Championships. 41-0. 41-0. 41-0. How does a team competing for a Super Bowl birth lose 41-0. My memory of that game was actually comical. The game was over by halftime. It was the most pitiful performance I have seen from an NFL football team to this day. The next two years would be filled with losing and more disappointment.
One of the most daunting memories I have as a Viking fan came in the 2003 season. The Vikings looked to be unstoppable blowing out everybody in their path to start off 6-0. Then of course in typical fashion they would lose the next four and by the final week of the season they were 9-6 and needed one more win to solidify their birth in the playoffs. It all came down to the Vikings having to beat the Cardinals to get into the promise land. The Vikings were up 17 to 6 with under 2:00 to play in the game. I remember singing this ridiculously dumb phrase "We are going to the playoffs", behind the couch in which my father was sitting. I will never forget the stare down I received from him after that game had ended. The Cardinals would score a TD to bring the score to 17-12 and then they would recover an onside kick to get the ball back and..... well just watch the video up top for the rest. This was the first loss that I remember that actually lingered for months, it was after this game I realized I have become a die hard Minnesota Vikings fan. The next season would be followed by yet another great start this time 5-1 and losing the next 7 out of 10 to fall to an 8-8 record and not make the playoffs.
2005 through 2008 were rough years as well. Only making the playoffs once in this span and being knocked out in the first round. Of course these were my high school years so I never had to much to brag about. Mike Tice and Brad Childress were some of the worst head coaches I have ever seen in my life time. This time period can be summed up in one name really. Tarvaris Jackson. Is there even a word that justifies how bad he was? Gus Ferrotte was our best QB in this time period. Yeah, times were tough. If only I knew how long it would take for us to find this thing called a franchise QB.
The game that I will never truly get over. 2009 season. Vikings vs Saints in the NFC Championship. There is no doubt in my mind the Minnesota Vikings were by far the best team in the NFL that season and there was only one team who could out right beat the Vikings, and that was the Vikings, and with four turnovers that they did. I will never forget watching Chester Taylor run for about a 10 or 11 yard gain as we inched deeper into Saints territory. All I could think in my head was that is it, we are going to the Super Bowl. This time though I had learn from my previous mistakes and I kept my thoughts to myself. It was around this time my Step Mother had stepped into the living room and said these words to my father and I, "I have to watch you guys get into the Super Bowl." After that statement was made this happened.....
My Step Mother quickly and quietly went back into her room as we were in utter shock. That play to this day lives in my head, but the game wasn't over yet. We still had an overtime session to be played. It was the most sickening quarter of football I ever watched. The failed fourth down conversion by the Saints that they incorrectly called a first down that should have given the Vikings the ball at half field, the phantom pass interference calls, and then this happened. As I stood in the kitchen of my fathers house not wanting to watch and as my father was literally on his knees in front of the TV
By far the toughest loss to fathom. There were no words after this loss, I remember shutting my phone off due to the great friends I have as my phone was exploding with lovely text messages and voice messages. This is a loss that I am still not over today and I doubt I will ever get over this loss until the Vikings finally do what may be the impossible....win the Super Bowl.
The Minnesota Vikings have yet to have a franchise quarter back in my life time as a fan, the longest tendered quarter back we have had was Daunte Culpepper, an average QB who threw deep bombs to the most talented athlete of my generation Randy Moss. The Vikings have had countless of failures at this position, if you are a football fan then you know the names, no need for me to list them. In an era where we have been spoiled by great QBs my team cant seem to get it right. To win a Super Bowl and be competitive in this league you need a franchise QB. Teddy Bridgewater can you cure this curse that has plagued this franchise since its existence?
Here is some more fun memories, some before I was born.