Whenever the Bears come to Minnesota to play the Vikings, my priest likes to tell a story about Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
After the events of the fairy tale, the Three Bears ran into some marital troubles (evidently, Papa Bear doesn’t cope well when you mess with his porridge).
Things went from bad to worse, Mama and Papa decided it was time for a divorce (a terrible shame, as my priest would say, but in a post-Vatican II world, what can you do?)
As usual, the real victim here was the kid, and before long, Baby Bear was in front of a judge, who wanted to know which parent he’d like to move in with.
“Don’t send me to my Papa,” pleaded Baby. “He beats me.”
All right, said the judge, Mama it is.
“Don’t send me to my Mama,” Baby said. “She beats me.”
Well then, asked the judge, where could Baby go?
“Send me to the Chicago Bears. They don’t beat anybody.”
What does any of this have to do with the Vikings this week?
Well, the Rams are on the agenda for Sunday. And right now, the Rams don’t beat anybody.
After two high-powered hype-fests in a row—a mini-showdown with 2-0 San Francisco and a mega-showdown with The Opponent Formerly Known as Brett Favre’s Team—the Vikes could use a break.
They could use a layup.
Chances are they’re going to get one.
It’s a bad sign for any team when “0-4” is the most optimistic description available, but that’s the position St. Louis finds itself in right now. Go beyond the record, and the numbers are downright depressing.
The Rams have put up 24 points on the year. The next-lowest scoring team in the league, Carolina, has put up 37—and the Panthers have played one fewer game. St. Louis is on pace to shatter the record for fewest points scored in a 16-game season—currently 143 by the 1991 Colts—by nearly seven touchdowns.
The Rams are sitting on a minus-84 point differential. They're a serious threat to post a worse differential than the minus-249 debacle in Detroit last year. The next-worst mark this year belongs to the Browns, at minus-69. And if you’ve watched the Browns, they aren’t setting the bar all that high.
It's enough to make you wonder if last year's Lions were really that bad. Simply put, St. Louis has the makings of an historically terrible team.
The Rams were down 23-7 to the Packers after 28 minutes. They were down 35-0 to the Niners after 46 minutes.
With that in mind, the Vikings had better hope the transitive property holds some weight here. They need this game as a cushion to soften the blows lurking just around the bend.
I'm not saying Minnesota is due for a loss somewhere in that stretch. I'm just saying I wouldn't get too attached to that "0" in the loss column just yet.
If I believed in trap games in the NFL, I'd say the Rams matchup was about as classic an example as they come. As it is, I'm not particularly concerned that the Vikings won't show up at the Edward Jones Dome ready to play. But with a couple of bruisers on the horizon, it's imperative for Minnesota walk out of this one with five wins in hand.
So while half the product on the field may be putrid, Vikings fans, enjoy this one. Enjoy the sight of an unshackled Adrian Peterson. Enjoy Bernard Berrian's newfound fantasy value. Enjoy Tarvaris Jackson's upcoming appearance as a human victory cigar.
We might not get another romp like this for some time. At least not until the Bears come to town, that is. And we all know how that one goes.