In the past, the Vikings have had drama, and even an aura of tragicomedy. Think of the personalities, for better or worse, that have been with the Vikes in the past 15 years: Dennis Green, Cris Carter, Red McCombs, Robert Smith, Randy Moss, Mike Tice, John Randle. There was always a story, a narrative, a grand drama being played out. Now the Vikings are just a deeply flawed team. I want to say "bad team," but that doesn't quite suit it. This is a flawed team, and all it's flaws can easily be identified on the field; problems covering the pass (especially from the slot and middle of the field in general), no pass rush, penalties, conservative play-calling, no playmakers on offense. All very tangible problems. Fixable problems, even. None of the sense of grand tragedy that accompanied Gary Anderson's missed kick, Nate Poole's catch, 41-0, or a bawdy boat scandal. Just a flawed team. That's what we have now, for better or worse.
The quick game notes:
--Coverage of the game went about like this: Brett Favre Brett Favre Brett Favre Brett Favre.
--Troy Williamson consistently makes me scream.
--Jim Marshall played in 282 consecutive games. Don't forget this.
--Donald Driver is the only Packer that you MUST consistently cover. And somehow, against the Vikings, he finds himself covered by linebackers.
--Much like Fox Mulder, "I want to believe." In this case, I want to believe Brad Childress is the coach that can get the Vikings back to the Super Bowl. But 3 first downs! Three first downs!
--With 0 TDs and 2 INTs, Brett Favre remains 7 TDs away from Marino's record and 5 INTs away from George Blanda's record.
--I want Favre to retire in part to preserve Marino's record, and in part so I can learn to stop hating. The hatred and frustration is turning my sportsfan soul cold and black.
--The Vikings have ZERO pass rush. ZERO.
--No, the Viking run defense isn't great just because teams throw on them more than run on them. Look at the yards per attempt, people! It's not that hard.
--Aaron Kampman destroyed the Viking offensive line.
--I was glad to see Collinsworth slurping up Antoine Winfield. Winfield does get beat in coverage more than you'd like a CB to get beat, but he is the best tackling DB in the league. Maybe the best open field tackler in the league, period. He did all he could to win that game. So did Pat Williams and Kevin Williams. BUT THREE FIRST DOWNS!?!?
"Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now" by A.E. Housman
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
Of my threescore years and ten, forty-four will not come again. And so I'm left with forty-four chances to see the Vikings win a Super Bowl. If I'm lucky.