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Vikes make playoffs - Do we have to watch? (01/05/2005)
By John Edstrom

Well fans, after the Vikes disgraceful exeunt from the regular season, I found myself numbly watching the end of the Panthers/Jets game, dutifully rooting for the latter so that the Vikes could back into the playoffs despite totally unmasking, pantsing themselves as the most horrible, fraudulent fold-up operation since the carnival came through last summer. Suddenly, the question occurred; do I actually want to watch these bozos play again?

The answer tarried, until it was confirmed that their first matchup would be across the state of Wisconsin, at Lambeau Field against the Cheeseheads. Obviously, the only slim chance the Vikes have of a playoff victory is against Green Bay, a team almost as likely to sculpt a perverse fate out of mud and the heavy expectations of its fans. There will be an austere beauty to the third meeting of these franchises for the first time in a season; whose performance upon the football stage will be the more bizarre? Odds favor the Vikings, but anything can happen, lately, when these teams get together. At least there will be joy in the taverns (amongst the proprietors).

Should we talk about Sunday's game against the Giants? It hardly seems worth the expenditure of ink and breath. This team does not need any analysis of its shortcomings by position or skill. No, it is obvious that despite the presence of many superior athletes on the roster, none of them has the confidence that they can win. When the pressure is on, they tighten up and go sideways, if at all. Something of unusual toxicity has poisoned the chemistry of this team, and it is hard to say what the antidote is, or whether Mike Tice and Sam Cottrell are capable of figuring it out.

As an aside, I would be remiss, based on the ignorance I meet when discussing the matter locally, in not pointing out that right tackle Adam Goldberg who, unfortunately, did not cover himself with glory on Sunday, has a strong Winona connection. He is, if I'm not mistaken, the grandson of Milton Goldberg, long an attorney of excellent reputation here in Winona. It was Adam who appeared to perform a swan dive upon the back of his opposite number on the defense, which neatly took the man out of the play, but was unfortunately construed as "holding" by the ref, thus depriving Randy Moss of a TD catch.

Young Goldberg explained that his opponent "was going down...it forced me to go down too. But...you can see me thrust my arms out to the side...to show that I wasn't holding the guy." Alas, this did not wash with the authorities. But Goldberg gets style points not only for his excellent posture in that play, but also his spirited and imaginative defense of himself. It will probably not be long before other teams attempt to recruit rookies who are not only athletic but of a lawyerly background. Look at the way holding and pass interference are being called these days in the NFL and ponder whether it's more valuable to run and jump, or make a complicated argument.

Tune in against the Cheeseheads if you will; the Vikes have the capability of ruining their season, nothing more. 


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