Itís the holiday season, and that means that itís time to gather around the Festivus pole and air our grudges. In the past when Iíve prepared for Festivus, the Vikings were always at the top of my grudge list. Actually, under the weight of many years of intense holiday introspection, Iíve decided that the Minnesota Vikings have caused me more pain and anguish than anything else in my life. My relationship with the Vikings began as a bittersweet first love in my pre-teen years, and gradually grew into a terrible tapestry of tattered dreams, shattered hopes, and battered trust.
With four failed Super Bowl attempts, the Drew Pearson push off, Gary Andersonís shank shot, 42-donut, and the infamous 12 men in the huddle call, the Vikings have been the never ending country song of my life. Every season the team rips my heart out, and stomps that sucker flat.
So, you would think that after the New Orleans Saints made jambalaya out of the Purple and Gold on our home turf last Sunday, that all of this yearís Festivus grudges would be locked and loaded, with Winter Park as my target. As the French say: ďAu contraire Pierre.Ē The bulk of this yearís complaints are focused on our overspending, yet underachieving boys of summer, the Minnesota Twins, and alternate side parking, but thatís fodder for other columns. As for the Vikings, the most disturbing news of all is that I simply donít care anymore.
Sure, I still watch the games, but itís with the same morbid fascination that happens when you canít take your eyes off of a fatal car accident. This team is so delightfully incompetent, and so poorly coached, that it seems like a Christmas miracle when they can get lined up correctly. And the worst thing isÖthe players seem to care even less than I do.
The 2011 version of the Vikings has adopted the personality of its head coach: stoic, detached, and incompetent. I can understand a lack of talent caused by injuries and jail sentences to key players, but what I canít forgive are players phoning their efforts and the season in.
On Sunday the Vikes lost to the Saints 42-20 in a game that was not as close as the score indicated. The Saints looked at least as uninterested in the game as the Vikings, but unfortunately they are way too good to lose to a motley crew like this one. After all, this secondary made Tim Tebow look like the second coming of Joe Montana. On Sunday it made Drew BreesÖwell, it made him look like Drew Brees. Letís face it. If Brees wanted to make a statement, he could have put up 100 points. As it was he had pity on his fatigued receivers and invoked his own form of mercy rule, settling for under 50.
For those of you who are happy about the Vikings abysmal record because it could win us a top draft choice and hope for the future, I have a troubling question. Do you really have confidence that the diseased brain trust running this team can handle who they should draft or trade?
SoÖI guess I do care a little, and thereís no time limit for grudges aired in front of the Festivus pole. Hereís my Christmas wish list for the Ghost of Vikings Christmas Future. First of all, get rid of Rick Spielman and hire a real General Manager. Then find a real coach. Look at the changes in the 49ers. The right coach can make all the difference, especially with a rebuilding team. Use your hard won high draft choices to rebuild the offensive line and the secondary. Give our young quarterbacks a chance to stay out of the hospital, and open up some real estate to the guy who NEVER phones it in, Adrian Peterson.
Finally, get a decent team for the fans who show up every Sunday and scream themselves hoarse from the upper deck. They deserve much better than the team they watched last Sunday.