Monday, January 05, 2009

The Viking season is over. Long live the Vikings.

(this blog wouldn't be this blog if I didn't mark the end of a Viking season with a pompous, pretentious, needlessly introspective post).

If you're like me, you have recently been investing whopping portions of mental and emotional energy into the Minnesota Vikings. It has all seemed imbued with a grandiose sense of something (tragedy? pathos? absurdity?). I've been prone to unwilled fantasies, dreams of all the bizarre luck and unlikely scenarios and superb play that would spur this team to a championship run. And today I wake up, blinking, looking around at everything else in the world, realizing there is so much else in the world, and realizing it has been there all along. There are other things to look at. Other things to do. Other things to dream about.

That doesn't mean the fantasies are done. No, the irrational hope that the Vikings will win a championship in our lifetime will kindle new forms for our dreams. Those dreams will still rise up during cold winter nights and hot summer days. We're still Viking fans today, and we will be Viking fans tomorrow. But somehow the season ending also removes a burden. Watching a team with a stifling, dominating defense is enjoyable, but the frustration of watching a team without a quarterback capable of winning playoff games (but trying to convince oneself that maybe the team will win some anyway) won't be missed. Yesterday the Metrodome was filled with loud, buoyant energy, but I came home physically exhausted, emptied. That energy doesn't need to be called upon again for a while; we can blink out at the bright world. Reading a book, going for a walk, playing a game, whatever it is you do: these are no longer things to do to pass the time between Viking games. They are now the stuff of life.

But the Vikings will play again in 2009. And one more thing: wait till next year.

"Loveliest of trees, the cherry now"
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.


  1. Anonymous12:03 PM

    I'll finally be able to have a productive Sunday! Who do you want to win the super bowl? I'm picking Carolina!

  2. Anonymous12:54 PM

    Interesting article. Think Gus is probably correct and its nice to hear someone not just taking the party line

  3. In these playoffs, the teams I'd most enjoy rooting for (Vikings, Colts) and most enjoy rooting against (Packers, Patriots, Jets) are not around. Of the remaining teams, I'd most like to see the Eagles win it all (but since I spent Sunday in the Metrodome standing and yelling my heart out, rooting against the Eagles, it's hard to say I have much emotional investment there).

    Carolina could get to the Super Bowl, but if they get there, I think either Baltimore, Pittsburgh, or Tennesee would contain their running game and force Delhomme into mistakes.

    I'll pick the Steelers: their defense is extremely good. But, they'll also have to get past some extremely nasty defenses to get to the Super Bowl.

    As usual, it depends on matchups. Tennessee could beat Pittsburgh (they crushed them a few weeks ago), but I think Carolina, Philly, or the Giants could beat Tennessee.

    Wow, in writing this, I've talked myself back into being interested in the playoffs. This weekend should feature some fun games.

  4. Re: Frerottte

    Of course hindsight is 20/20, and since the Vikes lost (and sucked passing the ball), anything would have given them a better chance of winning. Yes, Frerotte probably would have given them a better chance to win.

    But I've said all year that this team has a certain ceiling with Frerotte at quarterback, and I'm not sure they came up that short of that ceiling.

  5. Anonymous10:47 AM

    I'm deciding not to worry about the Vikings QB dilemma, because frankly I can't do anything about it, except b!tch and moan and speculate! Why should i stress myself out over something I have no control? - I need to just enjoy the ride and pray... a lot!

    Bottom Line: I know that I gonna be cheering for the Vikes and whoever is QB from the 2nd weekend of September 2009 hopefully until the SB January 2010!

  6. One thing bothers me: a lot of sportswriters and columnists talk about how Childress wants to stick with Jackson because Childress has staked his professional reputation to Jackson's development. If Childress thinks that, he's a fool. His professional reputation is tied to his wins and losses as a head coach, not whether Jackson turns into a good QB. If Childress continues to stick with Jackson even if it is costing him wins, then his professional reputation can only be hurt (I mean, Bush's historical legacy isn't helped by his inability to admit error, is it?).

    Childress must stake his reputation on his wins and losses with the Minnesota Vikings, not on Tarvaris Jackson's eventual fate. Hopefully he sees that. If Jackson doesn't develop, then Childress made a personnel error (a major one, yes, but personnel errors are made sometimes even by great football minds. The QB position is tough to evaluate, and even top-10 picks are often busts). He can recognize that and move on. But if Childress sticks with Jackson in the face of all evidence that Jackson will never be an accurate, good passer, then he's made a major error, an error based on stubbornness, inability to adapt, inability to recognize the performance of his own players.

  7. Anonymous5:23 PM

    Tavaris's future will be decided this next season if he starts!

    Who knows how long he will last if he shows no improvement and continually stares down receivers.

    The last part of the saga...
    Tarvaris The Resolution will hopefully come this next season!

    If Tarvaris does start the season, b/c Chilly couldn't find a decent starter, I think there could be blackouts at all the non- Bear/Packer Home Games! Unless of course Tarvaris plays like he did in Arizona, which we all pray he does. This next season is Jackson's last chance to prove he can be a starter, no matter how much people believe he can't! No pressure T.Jack!