See below for my extended preview of the game.
There are some who argue that one shouldn't have a second favorite football team. I say, why not? There are no rules for being a fan, no matter what Bill Simmons tries to tell you. We're watching a game for pleasure, and so we should watch and root in whatever ways give us pleasure.
It's no secret on this blog of my admiration for Peyton Manning--he's my favorite non-Viking, and the Colts are currently my favorite non-Viking team.
But here's how it works for me: there is not even a tiny part of me that wants the Colts to beat the Vikings this weekend. At no point in my thoughts on the game have I imagined taking any satisfaction in a Colts win at the expense of the Vikings. I may root for Manning 15 other times this year, but on Sunday I'm hoping he stinks, that the Vikes sack him 10 times and intercept him 5 times and set him back at a 49-0 halftime deficit. My love of the Vikings swallows up anything else in sports.
When a team gives up a punt return for a touchdown, you know the special teams were bad. But I found the Vikes' kick and punt return games on Monday disappointing. A Viking offense that is predicated on running well and features an inconsistent passing game will have trouble going 80 yards downfield regularly. If the Vikings can start some drives at their own 40 or better, I'm optimistic about their chances of winning. Luckily, the Colts often struggle on special teams--it could be a good week.
Tony Dungy (Star Tribune, Pioneer Press).
Tarvaris Jackson (Sid Hartman).
Tarvaris Jackson answers questions (Access Vikings).
The Vikes are still having trouble selling tickets (Pioneer Press).
Artis Hicks may be hurt (Viking Update).
From Grant's Tomb: "as we head into game 34 of the Chilly era, the Vikings have needed to throw the ball, not a little better, but a lot better in just about every one of the previous 33 games."
The Packer fan at 'fuh-"baw amuses me: people who yell "Take that you fucking Swedes!" when the Packers beat the Vikings are funny in some weird way.
There are a lot of intriguing games in week two. Perhaps the two best teams in the NFC, Dallas and Philadelphia, play each other Monday Night. That makes it an interesting game to watch, but there are a lot of big NFC East games throughout the season for these teams to beat up on each other. It should be a fun game, but I'm not drawing any significant conclusions from the outcome. I will draw some conclusions from the Denver-San Diego matchup: if the Broncos win, they'll look an impressive 2-0 (a blowout road win followed by a home win against the division favorite) and the Chargers will look a disappointing 0-2. But if the Chargers win, then "they are who we thought they were." I swear, I don't think Buffalo is that good, but I expect them to beat an overrated Jacksonville team this weekend.
But after the Vikes lost week one, I'm really having trouble spending much time thinking about other games. It's not that it is a must-win game (when I projected the season, I had the Vikes losing their first two games but still winning the NFC North--they can still get to 10+ wins with an 0-2 start), but if they lose, there's going to be intense pressure and a thin margin of error. And come on, we all want to feel the joy of a Viking win again--it's been almost nine months! Some children conceived in the euphoria of that win are now out squinting their eyes and soiling their diapers.
I don't have a ticket for the Vikings-Colts game, but Sunday morning I'm heading over to the Metrodome with plans to buy a ticket from somebody on the street. Whenever I've gone to games, there are always plenty of people trying to sell tickets (sometimes at nice prices), so I'm not too worried about getting in.
Enjoy your weekend, everybody. Except Packer and Bear fans.