Some people are fans of the Minnesota Vikings. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Minnesota Vikings. This 2013 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the 2013 NFL previews so far right here.
Your team: Minnesota Vikings
Your 2012 record: 10-6. FULL DISCLOSURE: The Vikings are my favorite team. But trust me: I hate them. I hate them so very, very much. There’s nothing I hate more, or more intimately, than the things I love the most.
Your coach: Leslie Frazier. Adrian Peterson ran the ball 348 times last season after having his knee blown apart. Frankly, I HOPE the fucker was on PEDs, because if he isn’t mainlining stem cells from panda fetuses, his lower body will liquefy by Week 2.
The Vikings’ offensive coordinator is Bill Musgrave. Here now is Bill Musgrave’s playbook in its entirety:
- Cutback run
- Hey, that worked good! Do that again!
- Pass-type thing
You never want them to run “Pass-type thing,” especially on first down. Whenever this team passes on first down, a puppy is killed by God. Bill Musgrave killed a LOT of puppies needlessly last season.
Your quarterback: Christian Ponder. Any positive statement about the Vikings can be countered with “Yeah, but Ponder sucks.” Adrian Peterson is really good! Yeah, but Ponder sucks. Holy shit, look at all the shiny new first rounders in camp! Yeah, but Ponder sucks. That Harrison Smith sure seems gritty! Yeah, but Ponder sucks. It’s like putting an Italian cruise ship captain in charge of Seal Team Six. Christian Ponder is a nice fellow, but when third-and-long arrives and he drops back, I spend half a minute praying he doesn’t actually release the ball. I just want him to curl underneath a defensive end so that Blair Walsh can attempt a 90-yard field goal.
Last year, I was one of those fans: the fans who were secretly delighted that Joe Webb got to start in the playoff game against Green Bay, even though Ponder played admirably in beating the Packers in Week 17. I was more than happy to stab him in the back and assume that Joe Webb would suddenly morph into Colin Kaepernick Jr. That… uh… didn’t happen.
By the way, Ponder missed that game with a severely fucked-up arm and was nearly diagnosed with compartment syndrome. So the Vikings’ season now rests on an inconsistent quarterback whose arm might literally fall off.
Your one fantasy player everyone will hate: Greg Jennings. He hasn’t played a full season since 2010 AND he called out Aaron Rodgers during the offseason. Way to go, moron. Not like that guy doesn’t have a long memory or anything. No other wideout in history is more prepared to catch 60 passes for 890 yards. I hate him already.
Why your team sucks: Take it from me: Out of all the fanbases in this division, we are the worst. By far. It’s not even close. Lions fans are loyal. Packers fans are insane. Bears fans are fun. And we suck. We are the Atlanta of upper Midwest sports fan groups. The second the Vikings dip even a hair below .500, they have trouble selling tickets. Shit, even when the Vikings are GOOD, most Minnesotans deem themselves too good for their own team. There are thousands of Packers fans in Minnesota. There are NO Vikings fans in Wisconsin.
Minnestoans are the snobbiest people on the face of the earth. The average Orono soccer mom resents the fact that she has to cheer for this team, which has no championship history to boast to the neighbors about, no fabled outdoor stadium to hold a Jell-O picnic outside of, and gets no extra ladlefuls of adoration from that fat asshole Chris Berman. The second Brett Favre joined the Vikings, Minnesotans were OVERFUCKINGJOYED, because they got to co-opt a little bit of Packers glory for themselves. It was horrifying. And that’s true any time a former Packer joins Vikings: Darren Sharper, Ryan Longwell, etc. We got one, yay! It’s like having a mother who loves some rich kid down the street more than her own flesh and blood.
And it’s not like the franchise is moribund: This is the seventh-winningest team in NFL history. But if Erik Erikkssonsen can shun the Vikings in favor of some fucking Edina high school preseason hockey game, he will. We are ass. There’s no Vikings Nation out there. When I lived in New York, there was one Vikings bar in town called Ship of Fools. Two dozen people sat in the back room to watch them. The rest of the bar contained THREE HUNDRED Steelers fans. We travel about as well as Ball State. We are not diehard. We are diesoft.
By the way, I count myself among these fair-weather dipshits. I didn’t even bother watching the second half of the NFC title game against the Giants. I had NO faith in this team (justified, but still). And frankly, wearing purple merchandise makes me feel like an idiot. Every fan looks like crap in a team jersey, but a purple jersey is worse. You look like an eggplant. There’s little way of making this shit look fresh unless your name is Cordarrelle Patterson. Throwing in a SKOL VIKINGS chant doesn’t help matters at all.
Also, from a football standpoint, we have a talented roster and a QB who will likely be unseated by Matt Cassel sometime in the next three months. Our owner is a crook and will probably stop spending any money now that he’s swindled the state into buying a new stadium. The old stadium has a garbage bag for a roof. The new joint will have a CLEAR garbage bag for a roof. My life is a waste. I hate this team. You betcha.
Why your team doesn't suck: If you’re gonna root for a team that wins a lot without somehow winning anything significant, having Adrian Peterson eases things a great deal. This team could go 0-16, but if I get to watch Purple Jesus hang another 2,000 yards on the league, I think I’d be okay with it.
The 13 worst Vikings ever:
1. Dimitrius Underwood. I wish professional sports dealt with mental illness in a more mature, open manner, mostly so that this team won’t draft another fucking psycho from the loony bin.
2. Herschel Walker. Hate you.
3. Willie Howard.
4. Michael Boireau. Zero tackles. Zero sacks. Never let Denny Green draft in the second round for you.
5. Alfred Anderson. Blew a touchdown once because he lost his shoe on the play.
6. Les Steckel
7. Bob Schnelker. Most Minnesota name, or MOSTEST Minnesota name?
8. Brad Childress
9. Fran Foley
10. Derrick Alexander. We could have drafted Warren Sapp. We drafted this hunk of plywood instead.
11. Donovan McNabb
12. Randy Moss 2.0
13. Troy Williamson. The fucking worst.
Emails from Vikings fans:
We cut the only professional athlete with half a brain to speak out in defense of basic human rights because we all know how distracting respecting others can be.
The other day while out at Grumpy's for $2 Minnesota brews, my friends and I started discussing which NFC Championship game was worse - 1998 or 2009. It was thoroughly depressing, and at no point did we mention 2001. I'm going to go watch cricket now.
Ponder flits around like a ballerina and can’t throw the ball more than ten yards without making it look like it’s the hardest damn thing in the world. He looks like I look when I try to throw the ball ten yards.
Vikings fans will try and talk themselves into the Ponder era, myself included. But it’s a shitshow with that guy behind center. We’re going to waste yet another championship-caliber team and eventually try to sign an over the hill Brady or Romo to replace what was a huge misstep by an otherwise savvy GM.
Fuck we suck.
Every fan (including me) has hope that Christian Ponder will pull it together and help lead the team to a championship, but deep down all of us know that he won’t and we're doomed to waste the rest of AD's prime going through QBs like condoms at a frat party. Fuck.
Nothing is worse than a Vikings game at the Metrodome. Having some 40-year-old dude wearing a felt hat with yarn braids keep turning around and telling you to stand up is the worst.
There is one big, mega-supernova level bright spot on the team, and that of course is Adrian Peterson. He's the only reason the Vikings have any chance at anything, and I can see some Barry Sanders-level of frustration coming if the team around him doesn't help out every once in a while.
On a list of the best QBs in the NFL, Ponder is between 30 and 35, with Matt Cassel in the same tier. On defense, it's not the Vikings if they don't give up late-game long passes. Even our LBs and D-line tend to sit down when the pressure's on, and they love giving up first downs and letting the other teams run out of bounds, usually after about 25-30 yards. If they do manage to get a team to 3rd down, they will inevitably commit a penalty on the next play.
Worst case: Ponder throws for 200 yards total over the first three games, followed by a -5 yard passing performance at "home" in London. The rest of the season features Matt Cassel handing off to AP 35 times a game, and Greg Jennings committing seppuku at midfield before the Vikings host the Packers in Week 8. At the end of the season, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland sever diplomatic relations with the U.S. until the government forces the Vikings to change their name to something more appropriate like the "Terrified French Peasants" or the "Defenseless Saxon Monks."
I would fuck my own mother for any other starting quarterback in our division.
Those fucking NFC Championship Games. Enough has been written/said about these Hiroshimas of team history, so I'll just say this: it probably was a good thing the Vikings lost at this stage, because as my dad put it, "The gods were telling us, 'You don't want to see what happens in the Super Bowl. Trust us'."
Even after Harvin's hip surgery, I still think he will play more games this season than Greg Jennings.
I don't care how many years it's been - I still want to gouge Gary Andersen's eyes out with a fucking fork for missing that goddamn kick.
God, I remember 1998. I was SO EXCITED by that team, mainly because I was ten years old and didn't realize that the Vikings were theVikings yet. All I could see was Cunningham to Moss. I thought Denny Green was some kind of fucking genius. And everybody at my school was just as excited as me. We even had a little organized Vikings vs. Packers football game by the playground the first week they played each other. It was a big deal - even the people who didn't play in it made up little signs and cheered. There was even an adorable little chain gang working the sidelines with poles and chains they put together themselves. Everyone in school was watching - it was a goddamned event. All these 10 and 11 year olds dressing up just like their heroes! It was so wonderfully, adorably sad. And we kicked the Packers' asses, too
(As an aside, Packer fans in the northeast Metro are the fucking WORST. I mean, first you've got transplanted Wisconsinites, all of whom have had a BAC at least above .03 since the moment they came out of the womb, THEN stick them in the middle of Michelle Bachmann country and watch the results. Every single goddamn one of them is a gay-bashing alcoholic who weighs 300 pounds. Every one).
And then Gary Anderson and Denny Green happened, and I literally cried for three weeks. I have never been able to trust in my own happiness since. Because it will never last - things will always go wrong. Like it did in 2001 with 41-0 (which, thank God, I missed because I was at some stupid fucking gifted-student thing I don't even remember what it was), or in 2009 with the Bounty Game.
Meanwhile, everybody's nervously trying to talk up this year's version of the team as though it's going to win more than 7 or 8 games, despite the fact that we only got in last year because literally every single thing that could have gone right went right. Do you think Adrian Peterson's going to rush for 2000 yards again while nobody except Harvin (who always fucking gets hurt, and is Seattle's problem now) gets hurt? Do you think we're going to keep NOT fucking up in close games? Since when have the Vikings ever kept THAT up for long? No. No one seriously thinks we're going back to the playoffs, because Christian Ponder is our quarterback.
The people who are trying to delude themselves into believing he's leading us back to the Promised Land like to point to "signs of improvement" he showed last year, despite the fact that he spent half the year playing like a Mark Sanchez lowlight reel. Basically they're talking about the first four games and last four games when he didn't completely fuck things up for Peterson. But even on his best day, he's basically Andy Dalton on an average day. They're hoping he can shape up and become Andy Dalton every week, so we can consistently finish second in the division behind the Packers every year. Rick Spielman is hoping he does, too. Basically, this is a team that aspires to be the Cincinnati Bengals. Fuck my life.
Because I'm a weirdo, I was recently boning up on Joey Heatherton, and came across her ex-husband, and NFL WR that I'd never heard of before. I guess he exposed himself to children both with the Cowboys and later with the Vikings.
I'm a Vikes fan, so I'd prefer he be listed as a Cowboy, but it's not something I'd fall on my inflatable novelty viking sword for.
If any other organization inflicted this much misery over 50 years the U.N. would've intervened by now.
The greatest thing we can accomplish is maybe beating the Packers in a perfectly executed game at home.
I hate Vikings fans to the extent that I wish there were people inside the Metrodome when it collapsed.
No other fan base in the NFL is as stupid as the Minnesota Vikings. They ran Daunte Culpepper out of town just a couple season from a MVP type season. No other fan base roots harder for the backup QB than the shitty fans of MN...Reading Twitter on gameday makes me want to hang myself.
The most experienced player in the Viking secondary is Chris Cook, a violent moron who has never played an entire season, partly because of injuries, and partly because he spent several months of the 2011 season defending himself in court after beating the crap out of his girlfriend. Thrown in an earlier arrest for illegal weapons possession, and Cook's lifetime stats are 2 Arrests and ZERO Interceptions. So not only is he a sociopath, he's also not particularly good at football.
The very soul of Vikings fandom is the persistent knowledge that things only get better for this team as a means of hurting us even more. We are actually better off when they suck because we can gulp down Grain Belts and whine about the team along with our wall-to-wall negative local sports media. When the Vikings are actually good we all suffer from sudden, collective amnesia and give them our hearts anew only have them spat on by dumb penalties, terrible coaching, poor play, fluke occurrences, and incompetent refereeing at the worst possible moments.
It's been 8 years since Daunte Culpepper's knee exploded and they haven't found a replacement that's even been league average since, other than one year of taking the Packers sloppy seconds and then having him get bountied to death and throw one of the worst interceptions in the history of football to keep them out of the Super Bowl.
Fuck Christian Ponder.
Our mascot is my Benjamin Franklin meets Ted Nugent looking former high school guidance counselor, and he quit because the strain of blowing on a Norse trombone and wearing dead animals while riding a motorcycle meant he couldn't write letters of recommendation for coked-out high school seniors. Our quarterback has two Masters degrees (Greggggggggggggg just creamed his Dockers) but can only stare at one receiver for half a millisecond before he either throws the ball straight up into the air or trips over Phil Loadholt's feet/tits. We have the best football player on the planet, but the only reason he shits on every other player in the league is because his bigoted, superhuman legs run like a gay marriage is taking place behind him. Our current stadium looks like a frozen Marie Calendar's pot pie, and our future stadium looks like an anvil (which is appropriate because we've been chasing success like Wile E. Coyote chases the Roadrunner). It doesn't matter though; our new stadium won't get built because our owner is a sleazy racketeer who'll have to sell the team in 18 months before they ever break ground, and I'll be writing you in five years about how much the Los Angeles Vikings suck. Oh, and this franchise can't even have a fuck party without it all going to shit.
And fuck Gary Anderson.
Every eleventh January, the Vikings and their fans can expect the most gut-wrenching losses possible in the most dramatic ways, and each one gets worse. Here is a brief synopsis:
January 1977 - The Vikings lose to the Raiders 32-14 in Super Bowl XI. A 75-yard pick six by Willie Brown ices the game for the Raiders. Not the most heartbreaking of losses (by Vikings standards), but this would be the last time the Vikings would be in the Super Bowl.
January 1988 - The Vikings manage to make it to the NFC Championship game, despite eeking into the playoffs with an 8-7 record in a strike shortened season. They lose to the Redskins 17-10, and the game ends with Darin Nelson (whom the Vikings selected in the draft ahead of Hall of Famer Marcus Allen) dropping what would have been the game-tying touchdown catch in the End Zone.
January 1999 - the best Vikings team possibly in history loses at home in the NFC Championship game to the "Dirty Bird" Atlanta Falcons when Gary Anderson, who had hit 59 consecutive field goals, cannot put through the one that really matters. I didn't talk to anyone for at least six hours, as all of my Packer and Bear fan friends were doing the Dirty Bird.
January 2010 - Former enemy Brett Favre throws a terrible interception allowing the bounty-gate Saints to win in overtime. Had he not done this, the Vikings could have been in field goal range and won the game. I called in sick from work the next day, as it legitimately made me sick.
January 2021 - I will be finding a cave deep under Antarctica, holing up and just trying to imagine how it could possibly get any worse.
We just gave a guy who was found guilty of racketeering charges in a botched real estate deal $498 million dollars to build a stadium that looks like the Jawa Sandcrawler.
We signed the greatest player in the history of our arch fucking rival team and us fans welcomed him with wide arms. Didn't even bat a fucking eye.
This is an organization that, after watching film, conducting interviews and running individual workouts, decided to draft Christian Ponder 12th overall. I was at a bar in Chicago watching the draft unfold with a friend from Cleveland. When the selection was made, I sat in silence with my mouth agape. All my Cleveland buddy could say was, "Sorry, man."
If being pitied by a Browns fan weren't bad enough, the next table was full of blowhard Bear wangs who were having a grand time laughing at the pick. I didn't stand up for my team and felt a little like Judas for the betrayal. But screw that. At least Judas got 30 silver coins out of the deal. All I've gotten from the Vikes is 42 years of misery and a closet full of purple and gold clothing that's too garish for Don Magic Juan.
We've become the back-up plan of choice for every washed-up, fading former Green Bay Packer (Farve most notably, and now Greg Jennings, until his knee and/or groin explode again). And our collectively frozen-tundra-addled brains promptly forget the look of them in green and gold, and welcome them with high hopes of destroying the "rivals," who could give exactly no fucks about us while Aaron Rodgers polishes their most recent Super Bowl trophy.
They've got the fucking nerve to run radio ads encouraging Vikings fans to come celebrate the nostalgic history of the Metrodome in its final season, as if we'll suddenly forget how much the franchise has hated that building (despite the noise advantages it’s given the team) and fought to get out of it for fully HALF its lifespan.
Adrian Peterson can't run for 2500 yards, and Christian Ponder can't pass for that many either.
Thanks to Marshall Eriksen, I can now tune in to "How I Met Your Mother" and relive the nightmare of Gary Anderson (35/35 FG during the regular season) shanking a 38-yarder that would have gotten us to Super Bowl XXXIII. I still cringe at the thought of that kick missing wide left, and now a sitcom can rub it in my face. Fuck me.
Our mascot is what could best be described as what John Candy would look like if his heart didn't explode. He came around our high school telling us that alcohol was evil and proceeds to blow Jared Allen .27 times a day. Also fuck Bryant McKinnie’s 410-pound ass with his Super Bowl Ring.
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