It’s not easy being a Viking fan when you are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. My son James is a Petty Officer “Crypto Tech” aboard a guided missile cruiser that the Navy calls the USN San Jacinto, and that he affectionately refers to as “ole cell block 56.” He sent me an email Monday morning lamenting the fact that the Vikings game wasn’t the one broadcast on the Armed Forces Network, and asked me to send him the latest “Vikings View” as soon as possible. So, for the good of military morale, here’s the report on things purple from Winona, Minnesota, after one of the most satisfying days to be a Vikings fan in recent memory.
In his younger days, the Marek men would encourage James to do the “bull dance” every time the Vikings had a great play. It involved him making horns with his fingers and stomping the floor until dust flew from the basement rafters. If James had been home bull dancing this weekend with his new “Navy strong” body, our house probably would not be attached to the foundation.
The day started with the Packers losing in the last minute to the Colts after building a commanding first half lead. I’m not normally a vindictive person, but when Mason Crosby missed the game-tying field goal as time expired, I thought about all the Packer fans who tried to “comfort” me after we lost to the Colts by saying that at least we would probably get another top three draft pick. Here’s a news flash for any Packer fans who are out to sea. If the Packers offensive line doesn’t tighten up, Aaron Rodgers is going to be spending a Monday morning in an intensive care unit. Then the Packers can draft another quarterback with their number one pick.
Right before the Vikings game started, my son Mike called from his “prime” tailgating spot outside the Metrodome, saying that he had just met NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “I shook his hand and said: “Hey Roger. Thanks for the Packers game!” (Is that kid a Marek or what?)
Reportedly, Goodell laughed at the comment. Hopefully he wasn’t in a bad mood when he saw Harrison Smith get kicked out of the game for bumping an official. Despite his occasional “bonehead” plays, Smith has the potential to be the best safety patrolling the Vikings’ secondary since Joey Browner.
Finally, the Vikings gave us two and a half hours of carefree football fun. I haven’t felt this sense of inevitable victory since the mythical 15-1 campaign. With a young, aggressive, and suddenly fearsome defense, the Vikings did what they should do to an inferior team…they stomped on the Titans’ throat and didn’t let up until the final gun. Chris Johnson was held to 24 yards on 15 attempts, and the defense would have pitched a shutout if not for a meaningless touchdown at garbage time.
Our offensive line opened up gaping holes for Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin, and went a second game in a row without allowing a sack. Christian Ponder was his usual efficient self, although he did throw his first two interceptions of the season. The good news is that he went 12 for 13 with two touchdowns after the picks. Peterson looks 100 percent healthy, Percy Harvin is the most exciting player in the NFL and Kyle Rudolph is the best tight end we’ve had since Joe Senser.
One of Ponder’s touchdowns was a bubble screen to Percy Harvin on the Titans’ ten-yard line that turned epic. With moves that looked like they came out of a Barry Sanders highlight film. Harvin caught the ball in traffic, juked right, stopped on a dime while picking up a Kyle Rudolph block, cut past Colin McCarthy and then ricocheted off Akeem Ayers into the end zone. Harvin wound up catching eight passes for 108 yards and a touchdown, and added an 8-yard red zone touchdown on the ground.
So, that’s current state of the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikes face the Redskins next week with the chance that RGIII will be out with a concussion. Enjoy being in first place, and remember, never use the bull dance in anger…especially against a Marine.