Some people are fans of the Minnesota Vikings. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Minnesota Vikings. This 2014 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group.
Your team: Minnesota Vikings
Your 2013 record: 5-10-1. And what a 5-10-1! No one squeezes as much misery out of five wins as the Vikings do. The best part of the season was a miracle catch-and-run by Cord Patterson…
…which was immediately followed by the defense somehow allowing Joe Flacco to drive the entire length of the field to score the winning touchdown in the span of 30 fucking seconds. The Vikings had a statistically estimated 0% chance of losing that game after Patterson's touchdown. And they lost. They also lost to Cleveland. They beat the Skins despite taking timeouts to rest the defense WHILE the Skins were out of timeouts and trying to drive down for the winning score. They blew a victory in Green Bay and ended up tying Matt Flynn. The most disruptive player turned out to be the ex-punter. The running back discovered he had a love child only after that child was found dead.
And the Vikings signed Josh Freeman and started him right away on MNF even though Freeman had NO IDEA what he was doing, which resulted in Mike Tirico openly saying that both the Vikings and Giants "stink". No need for ESPN-mandated diplomacy. It was all out in the open, the worst Monday Night Football game I have ever seen in my lifetime. This dreadful slog resulted in the shitcanning of reanimated pile of popsicle sticks Leslie Frazier and the hiring of…
Your coach: Mike Zimmer. I TOLD YA THIS FUCKING QUARTERBACK RUNS!
I'm kind of alarmed his players didn't already know that. Anyway, part of me is happy that the Vikings hired a well-respected defensive coordinator who has actual, visual signs of a personality. And then there is another part of me that is afraid that the Vikings just hired Greg Schiano's dad. (DISCLOSURE: I am a Vikings fan, which means nothing to you.) Zimmer was passed over for many head coaching jobs because he was known as a poor interview, which almost certainly means that he was a cock. Zimmer's staff includes defensive coordinator George Edwards (who was fired from same job in Buffalo and replaced with Dave Wannstedt) and offensive coordinator… Oh God… Oh God no, please… No please, don't tell me…
(multiple self-inflicted facial stab wounds)
The standard narrative on Norv Turner is that he's a shitty head coach and a great coordinator. Well, it turns out that's a lie, and that Norv sucks at EVERYTHING! Be still my heart! Norv is still riding the coattails of the 1990s Cowboys, who could have flourished with Andy Dick calling the plays. It's 2014. The offensive strategy of "run the ball 45 times and have Michael Irvin push off everyone" is now somewhat dated.
Your quarterback: Matt Cassel, who was clearly the best quarterback over Christian Ponder and Freeman last season, which is like being the tastiest option on a Guy Fieri menu. In the past three years, Cassel has thrown 27 TDs and 30 INTs. Oh yay. To make an inevitable 4-12 season look like the foundation of something better (it never is), the Vikings drafted Teddy Bridgewater with the final pick of the first round. Bridgewater has already openly worried that he's overthinking every fucking play. You know who else worried about that? The last asshole QB we drafted in the first round. Great. Fucking great. Beautiful. Why can't we draft an IDIOT? Is it really that hard? Johnny Manziel was there for the taking and he can't even read unless you write stuff out in lines of coke. I want THAT guy. I want all balls and no brain, thank you.
I was watching the draft, and when Manziel fell to the Vikings draft slot, I was thinking to myself, "Nice! We got ourselves a playmaker, by God!" And then, Mike Mayock started going on and on about linebacker Anthony Barr, and I was sitting there being like, "No no no. Stop talking about the other guy, you fucking tipping asshole." And then they drafted Barr and I wanted to die.
Now, this was all probably fine decisionmaking on the Vikings part. I'm just recounting this story because fuck Mike Mayock.
What's new that sucks: The stadium! Yes, the Metrodome has been demolished and will be replaced with a fancy new stadium for Minnesotans to openly shun. FUN FACT: Minnesotans deem themselves too good for pretty much everything except Hawaiian pizza. The new Vikings stadium will come with a clear roof that will cause the deaths of thousands of birds simply by existing. So I'd like to thank the Vikings for supplying me with the greatest metaphor ever for Minnesotan passive aggression.
That fancypants stadium won't be ready for two years. Once finished, it will hold a Super Bowl that will be attended almost exclusively by white businesspeople who look and act just like this:
In the meantime, the Vikings get to play all of their home games over at TCF Bank Stadium. You might remember TCFBS (my acronym, don't steal it) as the stadium the Vikings were forced to play in after the Metrodome collapsed in 2010. Brett Favre played his final play on this field. Let's see how that went!
Yup, it killed him. Great. Fucking awesome. We're gonna spend two horrible years in a stadium designed to kill every last player on the roster. Adrian Peterson will made entirely of titanium screws by the time this is all over.
On the field, the Vikings overhauled an atrocious pass defense by bringing in Captain Munnerlyn from Carolina and signing backup defensive end Everson Griffen (5.5 sacks) to an insane deal that will pay him $20 million guaranteed. For the past few years, you could count on the Vikings sporting a decent defensive line with Kevin Williams and Jared Allen (and Pat Williams, back when he was still playing). That line has fallen apart and Griffen was wildly overpaid just to make it look like that formidable front four is still somewhat intact. Our other big defensive line acquisition was just shot in the leg. And yes, I say "we" and "our" when discussing this team, because I'm the worst.
By the way, our owner was found guilty of legitimate racketeering. I know I make jokes about Dan Snyder and Jimmy Haslam being crooks. But my team has a CONVICTED crook at the helm. There's no shade to it. In shocking news, the Vikings had already broken ground on their new stadium when the judgment was handed down. No backsies!
What has always sucked: This is the shitty team and criminal organization that Vikings fans like me deserve. These people never get excited about anything except when they have a chance to whisper "I hear it's very Jewish" under their breath to other people. They can't get enough of that. Minnesotans are as fickle as Sun Belt-area fans, without the justifiable excuse of having better things to do. They hate everything and everyone, and if you aren't from Minnesota they'll treat you as if you aren't even there. You may as well be a fucking ghost. It's like you speak a whole other language if you didn't grow up six blocks from the Hansenjohnsons in White Bear Lake. The most exciting thing about Minnesota is when people get shot there in various iterations of Fargo.
We are a fake people. That includes me, too. Imagine a state populated entirely by real estate agents. That's Minnesota. If I see a Packers fan in a bar, I'm courteous and jokey, and then I run to my computer five minutes later to be like I JUST SAW THE BIGGEST DIPSHIT AT THE BAR. That's me. Fake as shit. Minnesota did this to me. And now you know.
What might not suck: Patterson is a fucking stud and Adrian Peterson is the greatest running back ever and if you think otherwise I WILL END YOU.
Hear it from Vikings fans!
Mike Zimmer will literally run out of profanity if George Edwards and Norv Turner are the Vikings' coordinators in 2014.
We gave a man convicted of fraud and racketeering (that'd be Zygi Wilf, for those playing at home) hundreds of millions of dollars to build a stadium. $150 million from a hospitality tax, because out of state visitors don't vote. $348 million from the state. $678 million from the city of Minneapolis over 30 years. And then the Vikings charged season ticket holders PSLs to have the privilege of continuing to pay for their season tickets, so they're paying almost nothing out of pocket.
They gave a grossly inflated estimate of $34 million in electronic pulltab revenue starting in 2013 and rising every year thereafter. Current estimate now that it's rolled out? $1.7 million. It's almost as if people don't want to throw away money to play fake pulltab games on iPads in bars.
Their special teams coach is a homophobe, and the head coach and general manager are gutless.
We lack any defense beyond our front four, and that was before Jared Allen left. We lack any offense beyond Adrian Peterson, and we're wasting his best years behind a weak line and no passing offense.
Sisyphus of course was the famous character from Greek mythology who was cursed to roll a boulder up a steep hill, only to have it roll down the other side for all eternity. Slightly less well known is Tantalus, who was sentenced to spend eternity immobilized in a tar pit, with a branch containing delicious fruits above him and a pool of cool water and sweet ambrosia below. However, when he reached up for the fruit, a strong wind would pick up and blow the branch just beyond his reach. And when he would reach for the pool, the liquid would drain into the Earth, never allowing him to drink. And, as he was already in the Underworld, Tantalus could not die of hunger or thirst. So he was cursed to be so tempted for eternity.
We are Tantalus.
We're building a spaceship stadium that has gigantic windows so you can see how beautiful Minneapolis looks in the winter. Nothing but dirty snow and overcast skies for fans to absorb while Packers fans chuckle enjoying Aaron Rodgers throwing TDs to Jordy and Co.
Also, fuck Gary Anderson.
Minnesota teams are goddamn minor league teams for good players. Minnesota sports teams generally will have 1-2 great players on them, and those players can be counted on to be traded, and then that player will win a championship the very next season with their new, better team? Don't believe me? David Ortiz, A.J. Pierzynski, Kevin Garnett, Percy Harvin (he gets a year off for being injured). We're seeing it happen (probably) with Kevin Love this season, and it might happen with Jared Allen. So there's that.
I actually like what they've done with the hiring of Zimmer and Turner, but owner Zygi Wilf looks like Mr. Potato Head.
Because our owner is a criminal racketeer who looks like Wario.
I will register as a sex offender if we win more than 8 games.
Fucking asshole Childress was a gods damned embarrassment. I can't even think about that bald fuck without going into an internal rage.
One of my good buddies is a Packers fan. I cannot win an argument with him. It always ends with the following things: Scoreboard. Who's winning the division? Who's your quarterback again? How many Super Bowls have you won? Fuck the Packers.
I am excited for a full season of Matt Cassell.
I live in northern Minnesota, and roughly 50% of people that live here are Packers fans, with no connection to Wisconsin.
I have buddies that volunteered at training camp while they were in high school. The two stories I remember is 1.) Randy Moss used to troll the volunteers by offering to give them his lunch stipend, but then "changing his mind" and 2.) They had to keep a cooler stocked with beer in Mike Tice's office. They said each day it was emptied.
The only citizens who supported the stadium look and act exactly like the man in this picture.
Fuck the entire NFC South. Atlanta can fucking go to hell along with the Saints.
Some entrepreneurial son of a bitch bought the portion of the Metrodome material that collapsed in 2010 and stored it for a couple of years. Last year he made a deal with a company that sells 'indestructible' bags, called Duluth Packs. They converted the material into bags, and last year they ran roughly $500 for a duffel bag and $160 for a 'shell' bag.
Let's all commemorate 30 years of abject failure, heartbreak, tears, and piss by carrying around a bag that would probably collapse if any snow gets on it and crush your phone and booze. The 'shell' bag is so hideous that even Europeans won't wear it.
I bought one.
Minnesotans are the worst. The state has a giant inferiority complex. The Twin Cities media and "cultural leaders" are endlessly obsessed with reminding everyone in Minnesota how more cultured and refined they are than the mouth-breathers to the east (Wisconsin). Literally article ever written by anyone from Minnesota that discusses Minnesota has to refer to how good the "Arts" are in Minnesota as part of the ongoing need to justify life in the fucking arctic. Every big national or international news stories inevitably leads to the local news station doing a story on the Minnesota connection, reminding everyone in the viewing area that Minnesota is relevant. Minnesota sports fans collectively are the cliché guy who puts the meme on Facebook that compares how tough hockey players are to "pussies" in any other sport.
Christian Ponder will be lingering on the sideline like a four-year-old takeout box of Orange Chicken entombed in the back of the fridge.
Paul. Fucking. Allen.
In 2011, I got kicked out of an airport bar in Las Vegas for yelling "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME" a little louder than I should have when the Vikings drafted Christian Ponder. My cell phone also wouldn't stop dinging from text messages for the next 5 minutes from people laughing their asses off that we drafted a guy 12th overall that we could have probably still gotten in the 5th round.
The culture around this team sucks. Anytime anything good happens, everyone just assumes that the Vikings will find a way to fuck it up somehow, and they're almost always right. When Vikings fans talk, it's only ever about Gary Anderson or the Favre pick or the Super Bowls or how Adrian Peterson is going to blow out his knee again and retire without a ring. The negativity is so strong that rooting for this team is like rooting for a black hole.
Nevertheless, Vikings fans have this idea in their head that their team is a historically relevant team that just never gets any respect despite the fact that the Vikings might not even be the most popular team in their own state. Minnesota is at least 50/50 Packers fans, and they make their presence known constantly. Most Vikings fans count the Saints and Packers as their biggest rivals, but neither of those teams give a slightest fuck about the Vikings. Packers fans have a mixture of pity and disdain for the Vikings, while the Saints just laugh in the face of Vikings fans. In Minnesota, the Packers are the Giants to the Vikings' Jets. Only the Vikings don't have a Super Bowl ring to their credit.
Our single best pop culture moment is probably the episode of "How I Met Your Mother" where they reference the Gary Anderson miss. The AV Club gave it a B-. Figures.
My dad isn't a very big sports fan, but he loves the Vikings. He's a tough guy, lost his parents when he was a teenager and took over the family farm, never seems to let stress get to him, the stereotypical 50-year old midwestern man.
The Vikings turn him into one of those women in a Lifetime movie who's in an abusive relationship, can't get out of it, and constantly walks around with a thousand-yard stare.
We actually get off on being unable to enjoy our team. Hell, I feel kind of proud talking about it now. I'm convinced that if the Vikings won the Super Bowl, you'd have record suicides in Minnesota the next day. If Lars Von Trier made a film for NFL network, we would be the stars. I have family members who've never had an original thought in their lives, who won't utter a single sentence at family gatherings, but get them started on the Vikings and suddenly they're David Foster Wallace.
Our owner is a racketeer from New Jersey, which is the worst kind of racketeer you can be.
Half the whitebread Scandihoovian fanbase wants the best RB of his generation traded, the other half bitches because they didn't draft Johnny 8ball.
Over the weekend I found myself looking forward to the 2020 football season. I can already see it. Adrian Peterson will pass Emmitt Smith on the all time-rushing list. Anthony Barr will be Derrick Thomas incarnate. Teddy Bridgewater, the third QB chosen in the 2014 draft, will be an All-Pro.
The Vikings will dominate the Packers twice and embarrass Aaron Rodgers in his final game at Lambeau field. Every week the soulless, bird killing, stadium will be filled with fair weather fans from Edina, Wayzata, and Orono as the Vikings cruise to the best record in football. In fact, going into the final week of the regular season Mike Zimmer will choose to play his starters even though the team is 17-0 and already locked up home field advantage throughout the playoffs (Commissioner Goodell instituted a 18-game regular season in 2019). And as they win their 18th game handily everyone in Minnesota will be convinced that this is the year they finally win a Super Bowl.
But the inevitable 11 year curse will return in the NFC championship. 2020 will join 2009, 1998, and 1987 as years where Lucy pulled the football out from Vikings fans (which totally makes sense because the guy who created Peanuts was from Minnesota).
With that said, I'm still looking forward to that season because it will be more fun than watching this year's team go 3-13.
Jacksonville was able to trade Gabbert for a 6th round pick, Minnesota cannot give Ponder away right now.
My wife and I traveled to Spain with a few friends this May. By a happy accident, we were in Madrid the night of the Champions League final between Atletico and Real Madrid.
We had no idea in advance that this was happening because we're Americans so what the fuck is the Champions League, amirite?
But we took full advantage, feasting and drinking like we had a clue throughout what appeared to be an upset for the ages. Atletico had the game in the bag, until they didn't. Real tied it (oops, EQUALIZED) in stoppage and made it a laugher in extra time.
We took to the streets with elated Real faithful, and probably more than a few unaffiliated idiots like ourselves (" Ramos, RAAAAAMOS"). Then we got in a cab.
The driver was a void. I think if we'd stared for too long into his eyes, we all would have vanished into another dimension. He was an Atletico fan, and he'd just had his soul snipped as neatly as Cristiano Ronaldo peeled off his fucking shirt to celebrate his lone, late, meaningless goal.
I knew the man's pain. That night's final echoed each of the NFC title game catastrophes I've seen in my lifetime. It was the Darrin Nelson drop, the Gary Anderson pull, the Brett Favre pick, and the bloodbath in New York all smeared together for the world's amusement.
And this poor guy spent the night driving the other side's fans all over the city. Christ.
The Vikings suck because that ugliness surfaces so easily, years after I think I've exchanged my post-fail sadness for the carefree optimism that Teddy Bridgewater surely will prove himself a revelation.
1. They drafted a qb at #12 whom everyone knew couldn't play and 3 years later he is still on the team.
2. They are built to play indoors on turf, which is OK except for the fact that they will play outside for the next 2 years.
3. They combine the best helmets in the league with the worst uniform look of all- purple pants.
4. In a league where every conceivable rule is erected to favor the passing game, the Vikings plan is dependent on running for 250 yards and winning 17-14.
5. They hired Brad Childress.
When the Vikings played the Falcons in '99 I chose to watch the game at a friend's house rather than at home with my dad. Reason being, he was a complete wild card. Items were thrown, things were broken, and this happened during regular season games. Long story short, when I came home after the loss, our house was trashed. Every toy that was visible to my father was smashed. Our backyard, which was full of pine trees, had been decorated by VCR tape. All night I watched that tape blow in the wind, fascinated by what my mother would say when she came home from work. I remember waking up that night to the sound of her crying.
With a totally new coaching staff and a core of young, talented players, I have cause to be hopeful as a Vikings fan, and that's just the worst fucking feeling imaginable.
The Vikings convinced our idiot politicians that the new stadium could be funded with taxes from e-pull-tabs. They based their revenue projections on a study by the industry that makes the machines, and then had the gall to act shocked when actual revenues came in about 100x lower than predicted.
I am a Vikings fan who lives in Wisconsin. Having to listen to Packer fans with yellow triangular foam hats brag about how the Vikings have never "won the big one," while a frothy combination of Miller Lite and cheese dribbles down their chins, absolutely fucking sucks.
Admitting I'm a Vikings fan brings the same reaction each time: a loss of eye contact, a gentle shake of the head, and an awkward 'I'm sorry" as if I'd just informed them my dad has been found dead from getting fucked by a horse.
The Seattle Seahawks are so fucking good that they won the Super Bowl despite throwing away tens of millions of dollars on our shitty castoff players.
We still willingly employ Department Store Mannequin Matt Cassel and a lot our dipshit, fake-nice, passive aggressive white bread fans are secretly hoping we bring back Brett Favre.
I hope Gary Anderson gets mauled to death by a tiger. Fuck you, Gary Anderson.
If you heckle at the away team, and you will be the ONLY one heckling, the section around you will turn into a giant shame tornado and you will be the least popular person in the state of Minnesota. Passive aggressive winds of up to 150 mph will surround you.
Rush hour in the Twin Cities lasts from approximately 7:30 AM-8 PM on average, and this awful scenario becomes 1,000 times shittier when you're in the middle of a clusterfuck of passive-aggressive Minnesotans who decide to wait until they're within the safety of their own car to release all their anger that they build up from being fake-nice to everybody.
Since the new coaching staff has yet to lead the team in a regular season game, the fan base is gleefully regurgitating taking points like a living, breathing press release. Mike Zimmer is a "teacher" and a "fixer" who will turn their ragtag defense into a band of savages with his attacking scheme. Norv Turner is a "quarterback whisper" who is going to make Teddy Bridgewater great. Possibly even elite.
Our new stadium looks like a glass dumpster. How fitting.
Minnesota sports fans in general are just the worst. They'll argue that Joe Mauer is the best Viking splayer because he such a good rebounder. Putting a professional sports team in front of them is like jingling your car keys in front of a baby.
Remember when everyone gave AP shit for fumbling the ball at any important, or non-important, opportunity? I do. You know who conveniently forgot about this? Vikings fans.
I attended a well-respected University out East. When I was accepted, I elatedly placed a call to my grandfather to announce the news. I wasn't shocked at the fact he hadn't heard of the school but rather at his response: "You know the Olson boy got into the U [of Minnesota]." I didn't even know what fucking Olson he was talking about; my grandfather just had to subtly show me that my priorities weren't in order; fucking passive aggressive Swedish Lutherans.
Fuck Denny Green, Red McCombs, Brad Childress, the Gang of Ten, Brett Favre, Bernard Berrian, Gary Anderson, Jamaal Anderson, Morten Anderson and the technical staff of the Meadowlands in 2000 that stole our radio signal. And fuck Norv Turner in advance.