We're just days away from Thursday's opening game. We're less than a week away from opening Sunday. We already had a Saturday of college games. It's all here, real. What a thrilling time of year: school is starting, and it feels like the beginning of everything. Academia has structured the calendar in defiance of the natural seasons: when nature shows us everything is dying and preparing for the empty winter, our lives are coming off the summer hiatus and beginning anew. For me, anyway, football season and the academic year starting at the same time make September a time of energy and excitement.
My Viking season tickets arrived in the mail Saturday. I was incredibly relieved to receive them, as I was slightly panicked that there would be some problem and they wouldn't arrive (I think the guy I talked to on the phone was annoyed that three times I asked him to assure me they'd get to me before the Atlanta game. That's how we roll in the OC disorder. Don't call it that). Laying all the tickets out on the table and looking at them, I felt fundamentally, existentially different. What more can I do to prove that I'm a die-hard Viking fan? This is it: the last step. I feel like I've just become my authentic fan self.
Dr Z responds to some criticism of his NFL projections. Gosh, he's a cantankerous old man.
Epic Carnival previews the Viking season.
Don Banks notes pros and cons for the Vikes, without even mentioning the defense.
Wages of Wins looks at Larry Bird's rookie season.
Cold, Hard Football Facts previews the NFC North.
The Big Lead reminds you of Xavier McDaniel's cameo in Singles.
Jim Souhan talks to Matt Birk about the Viking o-line performance (we're happy to see Souhan doing some work).
Viking fans, you know your entire world has been shaken: in this ESPN article by A.J. Mass on strength of schedule considerations in fantasy football, the Vikings are listed as one of the four toughest defenses, along with the Bears, Patriots, and Ravens. Zounds. It was not long ago that the Vikings belonged in the easiest defenses category. That's one reason I don't get the overwhelming pessimism in predictions about the Vikes. When the Vikes had a great offense but lousy defense, enough people thought the defense could perform well enough to help the team make the playoffs. With a great defense, can't we hope the offense performs well enough to help the team make the playoffs? I think so.
The Nosebleeds NFL Blog talks about the last non-football Sunday, and what Sundays mean to NFL fans.
I Dislike Your Favorite Team reminds us that the professional football team in Washington has a racist, offensive nickname. It's true, and it's a reminder that we need not use the nickname just because it is the official name and mainstream commentators use it. That doesn't make it right. So I will no longer use the nickname of the professional football team in Washington. Any suggestions what I should call them?