Some people are fans of the Minnesota Vikings. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Minnesota Vikings. This 2017 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: Minnesota Vikings.
As always, this is the part where I disclose that I’m a Vikings fan. A stupid, gullible, worthless Vikings fan. Have a seat. This’ll take a while. I have a lot of problems with these people.
Your 2016 record: 8-8, which doesn’t even begin to hint at the pain and misery this team… this complete fucking ASSHOLE of a team… put everyone through. Fresh off a division title and with young promise all over the roster, here is what happened:
- The starting quarterback had his leg explode in a non-contact drill, an injury so severe it nearly led to amputation and left witnesses on the field crying and barfing.
- The GM traded a first-round pick for… God, rooting for this team means reliving past traumas over and over and over… Sam Bradford, who had already been benched in Philadelphia.
- They started out 5-0 only to have their faces caved in by the same Eagles team that fleeced them for Bradford.
- The coach went fucking blind.
- The defensive coordinator got a DUI.
- The starting defensive tackle suffered a vague leg injury that ended up keeping him out all season and could also end HIS career.
- The offensive coordinator retired without first warning his head coach, and play-calling duties were then handed to the only man in NFL history who was a more underwhelming head coach than his predecessor.
- The kidbeater at running back got hurt, was dragged through the stadium restaurant to receive treatment, and then subsequently fumbled in his first game back before going back into dry dock and leaving for New Orleans.
- Even after missing a 27-yard chip shot against the Seahawks, they kept Blair Walsh around long enough to miss four extra points before finally cutting him.
- They got cucked by Golden Tate.
- Their first-round wideout caught a total of one pass (and has supposedly already hurt himself in a training camp fight).
- The left guard had to tell home fans to shut the fuck up during the team’s offensive series.
- The coach had a reporter correct a story that he slashed the throats of a bunch of stuffed animals and doused them with red paint to motivate the team (He TOTALLY did it).
- The fucking center snapped a ball to no one.
- The Cowboys beat them after a ref missed a headshot on Bradford.
- The team had to deny that they were willing to shelter homeless people during a cold snap.
- “Wisconsin-Based Vikings Fan Says He Was Stabbed Seven Times Over Inflatable Yard Decoration.”
- The secondary mutinied while allowing Jordy Nelson to rack up 154 yards and 2 TDs.
- The entire offensive line got hurt and anyone who didn’t get hurt was SHIT. TJ Clemmings, you owe me money. I have never seen worse line play. Never ever ever.
- They ranked DFL in rushing.
- Promising linebacker Anthony Barr was kidnapped and replaced by a sack of oats.
- The new stadium destroyed scores of birds and thousands more bladders, and has already started falling apart
- The only daring play that happened at the stadium was when a bunch of pipeline protesters hung a sign from the roof.
There you go. The Vikings are always keen on finding new and wondrous elements of misery: flavors, textures, colors. This team lives to punish you.
Your coach: Mike Zimmer, who has had EIGHT eye surgeries in the past year.
YARGHHHHHHH MATEYS! Only the Vikings would stumble upon their first tolerable coach in decades and have him be immediately stricken down with corneal AIDS. There’s also the very real possibility that Zimmer is not the Second Coming of Bud Grant, given that he drove Norv Turner away (I know it’s Norv, but still) and got absolutely trashed by Rhett Ellison’s father when the tight end left town. Zimmer is a high-strung yeller who can’t even do high-strung yelling anymore because his eyeball could pop out at any second. I’m not exactly brimming with confidence in this man.
Your quarterback: I swear to God that Sam Bradford could pour a routine bowl of cereal and NFL scouts would line up to hand his ass $50 million. This guy broke the completion percentage mark last season and the NFL media made it out like it was some big shit. Meanwhile, this was the 28th-ranked offense in football. I cannot begin to describe how painful it was to watch. Bradford’s yards per attempt ranked 19th, below even Alex Smith. When Bradford is healthy (LOL), he’s an actively serviceable QB and little more, and yet people go INSANE for him because he looks so professional in his adequacy. What spell does this man have over America? If I see one more goddamn story like this, I will plant a Gjallarhorn in someone’s asshole:
The Vikings are in a nearly unprecedented situation where they will be compelled, at season’s end, to choose between their horribly injured young passer and the starter they brought in to replace him. I can guarantee two things will happen:
- Neither Bradford nor Teddy Bridgewater will do anything this season to make that decision academic.
- The Vikings will choose the wrong guy.
It’s a lock. I’ve never been more certain of anything in my life. If they stick with Bradford, his knee will get sucked into a jet engine. If they go back to Bridgewater, he’ll end up on crutches for life as Bradford finally fulfills every humble Midwesterner’s wet dreams about him in some other goddamn town. I’m pissed already. PISSED. Do you know how awful it is to have Eagles fans taunt you about Bradford? I feel like I lost a Twitter beef with the Daily Stormer.
What’s new that sucks: Dalvin Cook, who Minnesotans conveniently forget was once suspended from Florida State after being accused of punching a woman in the mouth in a bar argument. Would it have killed them to draft a successor to Adrian Peterson that I could actually cheer for? Cook will be joined by former Raider and future PUP list resident Latavius Murray, who was probably not elated to learn he’d be in a timeshare.
Up front, the team performed a de facto swap of shitty left tackles with Carolina (Matt Kalil for Mike Remmers, who damn well better go by the nickname RemJob), and signed Riley Reiff away from the Lions only for him to get hurt instantly. The line will be a cubicle divider for yet another season. I watched the first preseason game and Bradford got sacked twice before I could even crack a beer. Cordarrelle Patterson is gone and replaced with Michael Floyd, who fell asleep in his car while shitfaced last year, then got suspended for violating his house arrest. His excuse was that he drank too much kombucha tea and the Vikings, being the Vikings, believed him.
What has always sucked: Fuck. Fuck. FUCK. Just drill a hole in a frozen lake and shove me into it already. Everyone hates a fatalist, but I see no other way to live as a Vikings fan. Do you know how naïve people look when they buy into this team? Look at my stupid ass:
Every year, the Vikings do everything in their power to humiliate anyone stupid enough to cheer for them. There are mob wives with more dignity than I’ve got.
The Super Bowl takes place in Minneapolis this February and I already know the Packers are winning it. It’s cosmic law. They will storm in and win the title and half this team’s shitbag fans will pretend they were Cheeseheads all along. Minnesotans are only loyal to things that make Minnesota look good. I hate the world.
I never read The Handmaid’s Tale but I assume it takes place in present-day Edina.
Did you know? Denny Green died.
What might not suck: There can never be enough Prince tributes.
HEAR IT FROM VIKINGS FANS!
I got a kitten during AP’s 2012 MVP Season and of course named her Adrian. One year later AP beats his toddler and I’m stuck with a freak cat that actually know and responds to its name, so I can’t change it even though she’s named after a delusional egomaniac. Now when people ask me why I named my cat Adrian, I either have to blatantly lie and say “I really like Rocky” (I’m a 25 year old woman) or “I really liked Adrian Peterson before the child abuse” and admit that I am an idiot.
Teddy’s knee exploded on the practice field 2 days before my cat Adrian underwent a $2500 surgery to repair her own torn ACL/MCL. The orthopedic surgeon who did the repair had only seen 2 ACL/MCL tears on cats in his 30-year career as a vet. The Vikings are cursed and so is my cat and it’s all my fault for naming her after a player.
I am 100 percent certain that Seattle Seakhawks kicker Blair Walsh will make a game-winning 64-yard field goal in overtime in the Super Bowl this year.
My friend works for a sports-themed new media company <insert eye roll here> and at a pitch when he found himself in the same room as a Super Bowl trophy. All of his colleagues were taking pics hoisting it but told him that, because he was a Vikings fan, he was only allowed to look but not touch. Tough but fair.
We’re the only team to have started a season 5-0 and miss the playoffs twice.
Death would be more hopeful than watching this team.
I’m four years sober and a Vikings fan - those things don’t feel remotely compatible.
Fuck the Mankato State groundskeeper with his own underused tiller.
I’m not sure how I haven’t had a heart attack yet.
I could have sworn to God after the 5-0 start that the Vikings were going to win the Super Bowl. On the other hand, I was also convinced that Trump would lose the election. I feel like I did this to our country. I’m sorry, everyone.
My wife won’t let me renew Sunday Ticket for this coming season because “I’m tired of the Vikings ruining every Sunday.” I couldn’t come up with anything to counter her point.
The fact that I had to root for Brett Favre’s gun-slinging ass for two seasons remains unforgivable. Fuck that guy.
Just consider that losing eight of the last eleven games was somehow the fourth most catastrophic thing to happen to the Vikings last year.
This team has made me dead inside.
My biggest hope for this season is to be featured on All or Nothing next season, and that show sucks.
Blair Walsh is still missing that fucking kick in my dreams. Now I am all riled up and pissed. Fuck you for making me relive that again.
After God broke Teddy Bridgewater I made a bet with my brother-in-law that we were going to miss the playoffs. We then started 5-0… and finished 8-8. Always bet against the Vikings. My brother-in-law still owes me that 6-pack of Surly.
I honestly MISSED Phil Loadholt last year.
My wife just bought me a fancy new Vikings license plate holder for my birthday. When she gave it to me, she said, “Maybe this will improve their chances this year!” I had to explain to her that there is nothing in our natural world that will help their chances.
I wear that plate holder on my car like a battle scar.
Last year, I tried to keep my expectations down as the team started 1-0, 2-0, 3-0. I should’ve known disaster was afoot. But then they easily dispatched the Giants on Monday Night Football. I decided to check out the new billion dollar stadium and picked up a ticket to the Texans game. The Vikes utterly demolished them. They were 5-0, headed into the bye week, the defense looking like the 1985 Bears, Sam Bradford looking like a good trade given the circumstances - as I was walking out of the stadium I turned to my buddy and said “we’re a legitimately good team this year, I wonder how we’ll blow it in the playoffs.”
Of course, they finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs.
If I have to watch Bradford throw one more fucking three yard check down to Kyle Rudolph’s corpse on 3rd and 8, I’m going to cut off the excess sleeve material on his jersey and strangle him with it.
For some inexplicable reason, locals and fans here continue to have high expectations for this team year after year after year. Do these morons not watch the games? When is the last time we’ve had a playoff run end on a high note? NEVER. Last year we started 5-0 and couldn’t even finish above .500! We have had some of the best regular season kickers ever but then when we just need a field goal in the damn playoffs they can’t put it through the fucking uprights.
We have no fucking offensive line! And fragile fucking Sam is going to be dropping back in the pocket, dumping four yard passes on 3rd and ten just like last year, because if he holds onto the ball for more than 1.5 seconds, he’ll be sacked immediately. Fucking dopey-ass dumb linemen. And Adrian is going to run all over us Week 1.
Why did they have to build a new stadium. I could have finally had the courage to leave this team after they moved to LA.
Vikings blogs should be categorized as Internet porn with the verbal fellating Adam Thielen gets on Viking websites. Did you know he’s from Detroit Lakes?!!!??? Non-Vikings-Fans may remember Adam Thielen from his starring role in “I Fumbled A Punt A Lost The Game Against the Cowboys.” Fuck Adam Thielen.
They traded a boatload of draft picks for a player who is most famous for being so shitty that the NFL rewrote their rookie contract rules due to his shittiness.
We all LOLed about the Bears trading up to get Trubisky. Now watch him throw for 400 yards and 4 TDs against our overrated defense.
I lived in San Antonio for 2 years during which the Spurs won the 2014 NBA championship - man that whole city was having fun. This could be me someday, I thought, with only heartbreak in my Minnesota sports veins.
Well, my girlfriend is a Packer fan, and I accompany her occasionally to a Packer bar here in Minneapolis and had met quite a few of her Packer friends. On this particular night, after the Vikings already beat the Texans earlier in the day to go 5-0 and the Packers were playing the Giants on SNF, one of her Packer friends says to me, “I hate to say it but you guys look amazing this year, could be the team to beat and get to the Super Bowl.” Bam, season over right there, in my fragile mind at least. I tried to convince myself he was right and that, hell yeah they’re finally legitimate this year. But I knew. Deep down I knew it wouldn’t be true.
Proceed to lose 6 of 7 to nose-dive out of contention. Sigh. The last game I was at remains the freezing cold Blair Walsh wide left playoff game. Where from my pretty good seats and being almost blackout drunk it looked like he made it for a second. Why did I have to grow up here.
Two years ago I was in Vegas and had the distinct pleasure of carrying with me what is the closest thing to a pocket-sized unicorn you will find these days; a winning Vikings sportsbook ticket. The over/under for wins had been set at a whopping 6.5 that spring, and in December the Vikes were 7-4 and heading to Arizona. I had already covered by week 13. I strutted up to the sportsbook window at the Venetian with my ticket in hand and handed it over, daydreaming of the comically enhanced blonde strippers and comically overpriced booze I was going to waste my newfound 4-figure fortune on.
“Sorry sir, the season hasn’t ended yet. This bet is still technically live.”
“But, they’ve won 7 games? They have already covered the over.”
“The season is still in progress, sir. This bet is still live. You will have to come back when the season is over.”
“Still live? I don’t get it? It’s not like they are gonna lose games they’ve already won.”
“They are the Vikings, sir. If any team will figure out how to lose a game they have already played and won, I’m sure they will be the first.”
That burn, from a total stranger working the sportsbook, was so hot it was ice cold. I just stood there, fully aware that this team is hopeless for all of ever. It’s like rooting for the dinosaurs in the game of “Don’t Go Extinct”. They can’t even win a winning bet.
All of my best memories of the Vikings include them blowing an NFC Championship game. They were so awful last year that Mike Zimmer’s retinas detached themselves from his damn eyeballs to avoid having to watch the games.
Every season after the Vikings first inevitable collapse I find myself asking the same question: Why do I keep watching these games? It’s not fun. I don’t enjoy it. Why do I keep doing it? Even when good things happen, there’s always something that can and will go wrong. Vikings score to take the lead with more than 20 seconds left? They left the other team too much time because no matter what’s happened up to that point or how good the defense has been, every quarterback turns into Tom Brady in the last two minutes against the Vikings. The really depressing thing is that this is nothing new; I could have written this ten years ago and everything would still be accurate. Yet for some reason I keep watching them.
It’s both incredibly awesome and depressing that the greatest moment in Vikings history was when Brett Favre betrayed the Packers and joined us.
Fuck Gary Anderson with the corpses of every last bird our stadium murders.
The worst part, in some ways, is that our pain is invisible. Has any other team gifted its fans with so many indelible moments of agony - “I remember exactly what I was doing when” daggers of memory - that no else gives a shit about? Everyone feels for Buffalo, and they should. We all laugh at Cleveland, and privately hope they’re okay. But Minnesota? No one cares, and they shouldn’t.
We’re the kind of bland Midwestern meritocrats that take pride in having the highest winning percentage of a team never to win anything important. We’re the kind of crypto-racist fucknozzles who will break out the pitchforks and torches to drive fun black players out of town but who will clutch Jared “Facial Hair of a Creep-ass Plymouth Youth Pastor” Allen and pill-popping drunkard Brett Favre tight to our heaving bosoms.
We’re the kind of amnesiac gaggle of slack-jawed yokels who keep electing the corrupt marionettes who authorized a giant Star Wars LARP set of a stadium right smack fucking dab in the middle of our largest metro area, where everyone is too busy quaffing overly hopped beer and being proud (proud!) of the fucking “Portland/Williamsburg of the Midwest” title and gentrifying primarily POC neighborhoods and saying “handegg” and being the kind of hateful snobbish effete elites that made Trump possible to give a singular solitary fuck about this game.
We deserve to be forgotten. We’re not even the perennial alsoran. We’re the extras of the NFL. We’re bit players in someone else’s show. Why do I even identify enough with this shitty team to use “we” - with this collection of evil suits clawing towards competence, these shiftless awful embarrassing owners? I hate this team and I hate that I love them and I hate that this violent crippling contest is my favorite sport.
The last person to be executed by guillotine in France happened 8 months after the Vikings made their last Super Bowl appearance.
It’s July and I’m already so depressed about this season that I can’t even find it in me to rant.
We already know how this season is going to end, don’t we? The Divisional round of the playoffs will be the beginning of the nightmare as Blair Walsh nails a 27-yard FG as time expires in US Bank Stadium, ending the Vikings season with a loss to the Seahawks. The following day, Adrian Peterson will cough up the ball while the Saints drive towards a game clenching TD and Aaron Rodgers will drive 87 yards to win the game. The following week the Packers will beat the Seahawks in the NFC Championship on their way to another Lombardi trophy.
In our fucking stadium.
Tell me I’m wrong.
I moved to Phoenix, AZ from Minneapolis three years ago. I am surrounded by other transient employees in my office whose fandom lies primarily with the Steelers, Patriots, Bears, and Packers. I am in my mid-30s (“Dad, why are they taking a knee?”) and most of my co-workers are in their mid-20s. When they ask my thoughts on how the Vikings will do any given season, I take out my laminated card that lists: Herschel Walker, 1998, 41-Donut, Daunte’s Knee, Love Boat, 12 men in the Huddle, Adrian’s Camel Ride, and Teddy’s knee). They laugh. I laugh. Then I go back to my office and eat a sleeve of Lorna Doones and think about the time I thought I was cool for buying Chris Hovan a drink at the bar. Then I eat the other sleeve.
I’m fully confident in Mike Zimmer’s intelligence, which means that I can only assume that at some point in the next couple of seasons the Vikes will make it to the NFC Championship and lose on a muffed punt with 12 seconds left.
My brother-in-law and I skipped out on a wedding reception to drive 4+ hours to watch the then 5-0 Vikings take on the Eagles.
My dad, who has been numbed to the pain from 5 decades of watching a perpetually disappointing team, heard of this plan sighed said “Don’t even bother. They’re gonna lose big.”
I smugly brushed this this off. That was a mistake.
My brother-in-law and I watched the Vikings proceed to get torn apart by the Eagles defense to something like 6 turnovers and lose 21 to 10. Apart from a garbage time touchdown, it was one of the most complete ass-beatings outside of Adrian Peterson whipping a 5-year old.
Dad called after the game and said “Don’t you feel dumb now?”
Never doubt Viking fan dads. They know all.
Being a Vikings fan is like living in a David Lynch movie, where the prairie land hokie-ness serves as a facade for a more sinister underbelly of darkness and despair.
1999 – I was on a church ski trip during this game. We listened to in all the way home in what I presume was well subzero weather in the back of a crappy suburban with little heat. All I remember from that trip were my frozen toes. Gary Anderson missed the kick as we pulled into home, so I got home in time to watch OT. I remember crying under a table thereafter.
Fuck Gary Anderson. Fuck Blair Walsh. Fuck Teddy Bridgewater’s chicken leg that exploded with zero contact.
I currently live in western Montana which means that 90% of NFL fans around me are bandwagon Seahawks fans. At least once a week during football season some random asshole in town yells something at me about Blair Walsh, and I’m too much of a meek Minnesota dipshit to say something back.
I barely even remember any games between week 6 and week 16 from last year. We lost to the 2016 Chicago Bears, which is like enrolling in an Ivy League school and then losing at Trivial Pursuit to your cousin who dropped out of high school to shoot heroin into his eyeballs. We will also lose to the 2017 Chicago Bears.
I cheered for Jordan Rodgers to win The Bachelorette out of spite.
This offseason I’ve noticed something interesting. Vikings Twitter has divided itself into basically two camps: the probably irrational, but possible, “Teddy is gonna come back and be the QB we all knew he was gonna be and save this team” camp, which is based on flimsy evidence at best with a VERY small sample size. But then there’s the utterly fuckin INSANE camp that believes Sam Bradford was so awesome last year (he wasn’t) and he’s magically gonna overcome all his injuries and mediocrity (he won’t) and get a massive extension and “save this team”. Which leads me to ask...have our QBs sucked for so long cause we’re easily impressed? Or are we easily impressed cause our QBs have sucked for so long?
When Denny Green died, the obituaries all mentioned the two NFC Championship losses. As I was reading them, I realized that reaching those games (plus two more after the 1987 and 2009 seasons) was the apex of my football fandom. 35 years watching this team, and my highlights are four divisional playoff victories followed by four gut-wrenching losses.
The world is lucky that the Minnesota Vikings will never win anything. If we ever actually win a Super Bowl, then god help the NFL because we’re going to be the worst fans ever. We already match the thin-skinned arrogance of Seattle with the historical victim complex of Boston. Get Minnesota a ring and watch that get multiplied by a hundred.
Because if there’s anything that gives us comfort in living in 20 below weather for half the year, it’s the belief that we are somehow better than everyone else. Just look at our hockey fans. You’d think we’d invented the sport with the way we badger other fans with our stupid traditions. It’s no wonder everyone hates us.
Our stadium murders birds and I cringe every time I see our fans doing the soccer clap that we stole from Iceland. Our owner is a crook from New Jersey who looks like Wario. I’ve been getting my friends in San Francisco into the Vikings, which means that I’m absolutely going to hell.
Fuck Aaron Rodgers.
I started this email on August 25, 2016. Just wanted to get a head start on the Vikings crushing my dreams.
August 30, 2016- Teddy’s knee explodes, crushing my dreams with it. I really appreciate football for crushing my dreams before the season starts.
September 3, 2016- Oh, sick. Sam Bradford is here to play in 9 games and average 5.3 yards per attempt.
October 9, 2016- 5-0
January 1, 2017- 8-8
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