A common phrase that occurs in athletics is that ties are like kissing your sister. Unfortunately, in this particular case your sister happened to look like a 300-pound lineman and had cheese on her breath to make things worse. On Sunday, the Vikings gave away a chance at victory and ended up in a 26-26 tie with the Green Bay Packers.
In what seemed like an endless game, it ended the way it started, tied. Everyone left the game with a weird feeling in the stomach. After the game Leslie Frazier said he was, “perplexed” with the concept of a tie. He had not experienced a tie ball game in his entire professional, collegiate or high school career. He looked flustered by the very notion of it. The Vikings themselves had not tied a game since 1978, which also came in a matchup against the Packers. By ending the game in a tie, the Vikings were able to preserve a good shot at keeping their pick in the 2014 NFL draft low, and they took a shot at closing out the Packers’ playoff chances. So in other words, it was a perfect solution.
I was granted press credentials for this “epic” game by the Packer public relations staff. I have to give the Packers organization some credit. Their press box is among the best in the league. It makes the Vikings press box look like it’s made for following a high school team, not a professional football game. Pregame festivities consisted of a full made-to-order omelet bar and a buffet that included the Wisconsin staples of cheese curds and grilled brats. The press box was situated high up, but with a great view of all the action on the field. In addition, I was protected from the weather on a chilling day. I hope the Vikings follow suit and put some of these elements into their new stadium design. I left Lambeau with nothing but positive feelings from a world-class experience.
Being a reporter in a foreign land was a nice change for me. Over the last three years I attended the game in Green Bay as a fan and I could feel the vitriol and hatred from the fan base just because I decided you wear a purple shirt to their sacred ground. People would shout at us on the streets, try to start fights in the stands, and sometimes just glare at us in an uneasy way. It’s not easy being an opposing fan on the road. It’s amazing what not wearing purple and putting on a suit and tie will do for your image. I received no dirty looks, and even got a sense that good will was being sent in my direction (most likely because they thought that I might work for the Packers.) I have to admit I liked not having to fear for my life while walking through the concourses, but I missed some of the friendly banter that used to exist between opposing fans.
When we look back on this game we probably won’t remember much. The game was just another bump in the road as the Vikings play out the string in a lost season. One thing that was settled on Sunday afternoon was that Ponder will continue to start as long as he stays healthy. Reports from inside the organization are that Freeman does not have what it takes to be a starter in this league anymore. He isn’t performing in practices, and is unlikely to play during the rest of the slate. Christian is playing for a chance to stay on this team next year either as a pass-the-torch starter to the rookie we draft or as a rookie’s backup quarterback. Christian looked decent against the Packers and once again showed flashes of the quarterback we thought we were drafting. The problem still remains that he just can’t be consistent.
The Vikings host the Bears this coming Sunday. They have a decent chance to win against a faltering Chicago squad. Ponder will start and Peterson should have another strong game running against a weak Bears run defense.