Remember the year when the Vikings went 15-1 and destroyed almost every team they faced? That was the season when Randy Moss was a rookie, Randall Cunningham was rescued off the scrap heap, and Robert Smith was in his prime. The point I’m trying to make is that every Sunday I had an overpowering certainty that the Vikings were going to win. I haven’t had that feeling since…except for last week’s game on Christmas Eve against the Washington Redskins.
I knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that because the Vikings had the chance for the number one pick in the draft if they continued their losing tradition, they would find a way to win. Come on, you didn’t have to be Nostradamus or an expert tea leaf reader to see this one coming. The Vikings will always give their fans something to hope for, and then do the exact opposite.
In this case, with absolutely everything to lose, and nothing to gain (except a warm holiday feeling), the Vikings played their number one weapon, Adrian Peterson, despite the fact that his ankle was tightly taped from an ankle injury that still wasn’t 100 percent healed. They also threw their “golden boy” rookie quarterback Christian Ponder into the contest even though he has been pounded into ineffectiveness by unceasing hordes of blitzing linebackers and bloodthirsty defensive linemen. What were they thinking? There hasn’t been battlefield management this inept since the Vietnam war. They taped them up and sent them in, and soon they were both writhing on the turf.
Ironically, that’s probably the reason the Vikings won the game. The Redskins obviously felt bad about maiming Peterson and possibly ending his career, so they allowed the powerful, but not exactly nifty Toby Gerhardt to gain huge chunks of yardage. Then Joe “All he does is win” Webb entered the game, and all hopes of notching another loss went a glimmering.
In the land of Vikings football, the most popular player on the team is always the back-up quarterback. However, this fan affection quickly wanes when the back-up is thrust into competition, and quickly transforms into contempt. It’s tempting to put Webb into this category, but he is a gifted athlete with incredible skills and something to prove. He was the best quarterback in training camp and was relegated to third string. Now that he has his time to shine, he’s making the most of it. Webb is a better runner than Tebow, and certainly has better passing skills. He put the team on his back and notched the victory. Unfortunately, it may cost us the blue chip offensive lineman that we could have drafted to protect him next year.
Now, with the Bears invading the Mall of America Field at the Metrodome all Vikings fans who care about the future should hang on to hopes for a prime draft pick…and root for the Vikings to win! Hopefully they’ll stay true to form and do the opposite. With Christian Ponder back at the helm they just might pull out a 3-13 season.