Win or Lose, It’s Been A Great Year For Vikings Fans
I admit it. I predicted four, MAYBE six wins for my beloved Minnesota Vikings this season. Back in August, the Vikings were looking at their star running back Adrian Peterson, just eight months removed from major knee surgery after blowing out his ACL and MCL in a Christmas Eve game in 2011. We had a second year quarterback in Christian Ponder that most people admit the Vikings drafted way too early and was over-matched as an NFL quarterback. It was a team without a true wide receiver as Percy Harvin is more of a guy you line up all over the field and just try to get him the ball and hope he stays healthy (which he didn’t) And a much maligned defense outside of Pro Bowl defensive end Jared Allen and South Dakota’s own Chad Greenway at linebacker. In a division with Green Bay, a Bears team that was on the cusp of taking the next step if it wasn’t for a QB injury last year, and the Detroit Lions who most expected to take the next step forward. Yep, I figured a 4th place finish was about wrapped up during the pre-season.
And as I mentioned, Percy Harvin couldn’t stay healthy all year. But when he was in there, he was talked about among MVP candidates in the early season. Ponder played OK, not winning us games, but not losing them either. The defense improved as the season wore on led by rookie DB Harrison Smith (watch #22 this weekend) But most of all, AP, Adrian Peterson, proved he was more than human.
Not only did Peterson come back from a horrific injury by anyone’s standard, much less an NFL running back, but he had the best season of his career, and almost the best season by any NFL running back in history.
A Vikings record 2,097 yards on the season (just 8 yards short of Eric Dickerson’s record set in 1984) 10-100 yard rushing games including seven of them over 150. He capped his incredible season last weekend with 199 yards and two scores against division rival Green Bay in a game the Vikings had to win to make the play-offs. In doing so, they knocked the Bears out of the play-offs and Green Bay lost their bye week.
Now the Vikings travel to storied Lambeau Field in Green Bay Saturday night to face the Packers again. Green Bay is favored by 7.5 points and even with them being one of the last 12 teams still playing, Las Vegas has placed their odds of winning the Super Bowl this year at 40-1. And still, I don’t care.
I don’t expect them to win the Super Bowl. Hell, I don’t even expect them to win Saturday night. But after SOOOOO many seasons of having what I thought were great teams, only to fall short of a championship, I’ve been able to enjoy the second half of this season more than just about any season ever. It feels like going to a casino, hitting a nice jackpot early, and playing on house money the rest of the night. Nothing to lose. Sort of like the Vikings have been playing all season long.