Memories of Super Bowls past
Well fans, with Super Bowl Sunday coming up and no Vikings involved, the mind trips back down Memory Lane, to the years when the Purple did show up for the big game. And it is a gruesome trip full of ugly recollections.
Worst of all was the initial Super Bowl against Hank Stram and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Vikes were supposed to be the far better team, with a superior defense led by the Purple People Eating pass rush of Page, Eller, Marshall, and Larson against which no offense could operate – except virtually any good one from the AFC, as we were to discover. The Vikes went down to decisive defeat, with Stram strutting on the KC sideline, crowing something about the defense of the ‘60s vs. the offense of the ‘70s. It made Bud Grant mad. As the years went by, he got humble.
Next were the Miami Dolphins who beat the Vikes in a rout, with Larry Csonka and Jim Kiick running over the Viking defense as if they were high school kids. Ditto the Steelers with Franco Harris, and then the Oakland Raiders, whose running backs I cannot recall. It didn’t matter, since the matchup of Art Shell and Gene Upshaw vs. Jim Marshall and Alan Page, was a no-contest. At the end of the game there was nothing left of Page and Marshall but pieces. They had to be sent home in a common body bag. When they finally got Page put back together, he took up running marathons and boiled himself down to about 205 pounds. He and Bud Grant didn’t get along so well in those last years.
It was obvious by then that the Vikes defensive line, built to rush the passer, could not defend a competent rushing attack that came straight at them. By the time they played Oakland in the Super Bowl, they couldn’t even rush the passer anymore.
Speaking of defense, fast-forward to Leslie Frazier, who will be aboard next year as defensive coordinator, which is good. His unit made progress all season long, and should get better with him running the show. Apparently Kenechi Udeze will return for off-season workouts, and appears to have recovered from leukemia. It would be a nice plus if he could live up to his promise as a first round pick a few years ago.
Wait till next year.
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