The columnists for the Minneapolis Star Tribune are an odd bunch. Sid Hartman is the crazy old man who long ago abandoned logic and clarity. Jim Souhan doesn't really seem to care about making insightful comments about sports--that would actually get in the way of his attempts to write unfunny predictable jokes.
But the worst columnist of all is Patrick Reusse. Reusse is your typical bitter arrogant sports writer, with one strange feature--he seems to love insulting fans. He seems particularly to delight in making fun of Viking fans. And I've scoured the Lexis-Nexis for Reusse's columns to find the evidence (all quotes are from the Star Tribune via Lexis-Nexis).
First of all, here are a few nouns Reusse has used to describe all or some Viking fans: "Purple fanatics," "Purple Faithful," "zealots," "MMWs (Monday Morning Whiners), "Purple loyalists," "goofballs," "ungrateful louts." That tells part of the story. But let's look at some of his statements about Viking fans in the past few years to get a clearer picture.
Reusse: "Followers of the Minnesota Vikings are a collection of ungrateful louts… Hoots and sarcasm. That's all you horn-heads had to offer for a noble veteran willing to risk torn muscles to serve as a pinch punter for a couple of weeks."
Reusse: "Amazing, isn't it? Minnesota football fans will salute a returning troublemaker, while the baseball fans will have only boos when A.J. Pierzynski, merely an agitator, comes to the Dome this weekend with the White Sox."
Yes, just above he described Viking fans as "ungrateful louts" for booing punter Darren Bennett. However, he is amazed that Viking fans would cheer for a player who scored 100 regular season and postseason touchdowns for us.
Reusse: "Once the full squad is assembled, there are 29 Mankato sessions planned between Monday morning and the evening of Aug. 17, allowing the Purple zealots to surround the plateau of fields and hoot with delight any time Troy Williamson doesn't drop a pass."
Reusse: "The sulking and whining you find around the office and on the job site following a Vikings loss was delayed by 24 hours this week, since the beloved Purple was making its return to "Monday Night Football" after a two-season absence. Beyond that change in their weekly schedule, the result could not have been more spectacular for the masses of Minnesotans who live to complain about the injustices and inadequacies that accompany a Vikings defeat."
Sometimes Reusse makes fun of Viking fans who are positive about the Vikings. And sometimes he likes to make fun of those who actually complain when their favorite team loses a game.
Reusse: "Admit it, MMWs. This was a splendidly gray Tuesday to serve as an initial gloomy Monday of the fall. You had the chance to bash the officials, the quarterback and the coach.
What more could you ask ... the whiners' hat trick?"
Reusse: "Frequent puzzlement was expressed by the Purple Faithful and in the local media as to why Vikings owner Red McCombs was not rushing to make a lucrative offer for an extension to his sideline boss, Mike Tice."
I don't recall too many members of the Purple Faithful expressing puzzlement over Tice not getting an extention--what I heard was puzzlement over why Tice was an NFL coach.
Reusse: "Oct. 30: Tice introduced George Bush at a Target Center rally and gave a Vikings' No. 1 jersey. He told the crowd that Bush's presence in the White House made him feel safer.
Reaction: "It was a privilege for Tice to introduce the president of the United States. He had every right to do so."
Oct. 31: The New York Giants came into the Metrodome and took a 34-0 lead, before putting it in a cruise for a 34-13 victory.
Reaction: "If Tice would have been motivating his team and not wasting his time at a political rally, we would have ended the Giants' jinx today, even with Randy limping around.""
Evidently Reusse here shows the fickleness of Viking fans. Of course, these quotes are just made up by him. Furthermore, the reaction to Tice introducing Bush was hardly what he said--a lot of Viking fans, and not just Democrats, thought Tice shouldn't have done that. Oh well, rather than assuming variety of opinion, these made-up quotes work to show how mush-minded Viking fans are.
Reusse: "The Purple Faithful was grousing for two consecutive weeks…"
Reusse: "The Purple Faithful did the drinking for them."
Reusse: "I got caught in the crowd filing into the Metrodome 15 minutes before the kickoff. Now I'm going to be required to call my AA sponsor and inquire as to whether breathing air with an alcohol content of .25 constitutes a slip from sobriety."
Reusse: "Sodom. Gomorrah. And now comes the Metrodome on Christmas Eve as another memorable blight for Christianity."
I'm a bit confused about why Sodom and Gomorrah are a blight for Christianity. I guess it depends what he means by "for." But fair enough, let's add drunk fans at the Metrodome to Sodom and Gomorrah for all they represent. Evil fans.
Reusse: ""How are the Vikings going to replace the greatness of Moss?" the Purple Faithful moaned."
You see, the Purple Faithful "moan" and "grouse." Good word choices for people you don't like.
Reusse: "These Vikings have been immensely overrated in the alcohol-addled minds of their fans since the athletes reported to Mankato."
Now it makes sense! All Viking fans who thought the team might be good were drunk!
Reusse: "Fans unfairly give Johnson free pass; Quarterbacking futility doesn't come with the same background noise in the Metrodome.
The boos that echoed so rudely in Daunte Culpepper's ears have turned to stony silence for his replacement.
…the partisans as they screamed with bug-eyed venom at the leader of the offense.
…but the Purple zealots chose to observe the haplessness of the quarterback and his offense mostly in silence.
That serves to reaffirm that many Vikings fans are phonies at best, and overly fond of the idea of having a white quarterback at worst."
This is when Reusse wanted the fans to boo Brad Johnson (who came into 2005 as a backup with no expectations and had just won 6 straight games) for one bad game, the same way they booed Daunte Culpepper (the starting QB, darling of the national media, with huge expectations) who frequently struggled.
Reusse: "He's white, too, which certainly guarantees more tolerance among that segment of Vikings fans that wears Purple to cover red necks. This isn't a theory, but a fact demonstrated by the muted response to Brad Johnson's stink-a-thons against Pittsburgh and Baltimore at season's end."
That's the thing: evidently all Viking fans who didn't like Daunte Culpepper were racists. Forget that Daunte was 2-5 as a starter and threw twice as many picks as TDs in 2005 and that Brad Johnson quarterbacked the Vikings to six straight wins and finished the year with twice as many TDs as INTs; if we thought Johnson did a better job and didn't boo one or two bad games, we must be racist. And Reusse is completely mistaken to say "this isn't a theory, but a fact." A muted response from fans doesn't prove that they are in fact racist: that is merely Reusse's theory to explain the muted response. Of course, if you've been a columnist long enough, you start to believe your theories are facts.
Patrick Reusse is not content to make fun of the Vikings; he also wants to make fun of Viking fans. And that, faithful readers, is why Viking fans hate Patrick Reusse.