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Be careful what you wish for (09/05/2012)
By Patrick Marek
It’s February 3, 2013 and there are two seconds left to play in Super Bowl XLVII in the New Orleans Superdome.  Christian Ponder is under center on the Houston Texans’ one foot line.   It’s fourth down and the Vikings are behind 24-20 in a game that has featured two of the best running back performances in Super Bowl history.  Arian Foster has chalked up 170 yards and two touchdowns in the game, but the man of the hour is in the backfield waiting for the inevitable Christian Ponder handoff.

 Adrian Peterson’s knee injury that was sustained at the end of the Vikings dismal 3-13 2011 season isn’t on anyone’s mind at this moment.  His miraculous quick recovery and subsequent 2,800-yard season helped spark the purple and gold to a 9-7 record and a spot in the playoffs.  Peterson’s 310-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Green Bay Packers’ porous defense combined with six Aaron Rodgers interceptions for a 35-10 rout in the Division Playoff round.  However, the spotlight shifted to Jared Allen, Jasper Brinkley, and the Vikings’ defense in the NFC Championship battle.

In what had to be viewed as a “payback” game, the Vikings sacked Drew Brees 12 times and recovered five fumbles without any unnecessary roughness penalties.  Jared Allen notched five sacks for the contest, and ran a Brees fumble back 45 yards for a touchdown on the game’s second play from scrimmage.   The result?  A 34-20 Vikings victory that was only marred by Zygi Wilf’s pathetic attempt at dancing “The Dirty Bird” on the sideline.

 However, in Super Bowl XLVII, Adrian Peterson has proven that he is not just the best running back in the game…he is the finest on the planet.

Running behind rookie tackle Matt Kalil, Peterson has amassed  two touchdowns and a Super Bowl record 240 yards on the ground.  Now, with one foot left to jubilation, everyone knows who is getting the ball.

The Texans have ten men in the box as Ponder hands the ball to Peterson.

Peterson chooses the center of the line and tries to leap into the end zone over the block of undersized center John Sullivan.  There’s a tremendous collision as Peterson is met in mid-air.  He’s not going to make it.   Hold everything! Ponder still has the ball.  It was a play fake for the ages.  He’s sprinting around the right side of the line.  It looks like he’s taking it himself, but at the last moment he lobs the ball to a wide open Kyle Rudolph.  The Vikings tight end catches the ball in bounds.  Touchdown Vikings! 

The roar inside the Superdome seems to come from the giant weight dropping from Minnesota fans’ shoulders. After all the heartbreak, disasters, and devastating defeats, the Vikings are world champions. Ponder and Allen dance on the field in a blizzard of graffiti. There are thunderous fireworks, and the sound of…trumpets? Everyone’s attention is directed skyward as the Superdome’s roof is ripped off and Jesus steps out of a cloud.  Game over.  It’s the end of the world.

Be careful what you wish for.

 For the last decade I’ve been a frequent guest on this page, contributing columns during bye weeks, playoffs, or when the Edstroms were on vacation.The Post has a huge circulation, and it’s fun to bask in the attention of friend and foe alike. At times, I’ll confess that I thought about the possibility of writing an additional Vikings column every week, and perhaps having it put up on the Post’s website.

Be careful what you wish for.

John Edstrom was the author of “Vikings View” on the Winona Post’s Football Predictions Contest pages for 35 years. I would give anything for him to still be writing his column for the 36th year and far beyond. John’s passing is a blow for all local Vikings fans. He brought his own “local color” into his columns, and Winona fans loved him for it. Through triumph and tragedy, from draft day to the season’s final whistle, John called them the way he saw it…always in his superb unvarnished prose.

My title at the Post is Vice President, but my secret job was John’s Vikings Confidant.We discussed Vikings football pretty much every day that we were together for the last decade. Ground zero for our weekly analysis was always Monday morning, when I would appear in his office, close the door, and we would begin dissecting the latest game. We had many spirited discussions on how the purple and gold could improve their fate, and we didn’t always agree. As a matter of fact, during my last meeting with John, we rekindled an old argument. I maintained that the Vikings should move Antoine Winfield out of the cornerback spot and make him a strong safety. I argued that his fearless hitting instincts and great tackling skills would make him an ideal candidate for the team’s last line of defense. John told me that I was a fool and knew nothing about football.  We pretty much left it at that.

 Here’s my prediction for the upcoming season. I see the Vikings finishing with a 9-7 record. After that…who knows? 


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