I know the Vikings are 6-1. I know they have the best running back in the league. I know they have a (surprisingly) mistake free quarterback in Brett Favre. I know they have arguably a top-five defense.
I know all these things.
What I don't know, however, is if I am ready to throw myself into this Vikings team. Unlike most Vikings fans, I don’t know if I am ready to drink the Kool-Aid.
This isn’t simply an overreaction to the Vikings' first loss. I don’t think anyone expected the Vikings to even sniff an undefeated season – other than maybe Ron Jaworski and the Monday-Night-Favre-Lovers. I’m just choosing to approach this season with a level of cautious optimism, and there is one very simple reason for this.
We all remember the juggernaut that was the 1998 Minnesota Vikings. We all remember the mention of “greatest-of-all-time” offense. We all remember the 15-1 season. We all remember the certainty of a Super Bowl.
Everything about that 1998 team made a Super Bowl seem inevitable. Everybody felt it. We were drunk off the Kool-Aid and there was no turning back.
The 1998 Vikings were completely unstoppable–right up until they were stopped.
Unlike some fans, I have no illusions of comparing the 2009 Vikings to the 1998 Vikings. There is no comparison. The 1998 Vikings were better, and it wasn’t all that close. The 1998 offense was vastly superior. The defense, while hardly dominant, was solid. They even had a resident afraid-he-might-eat-me fat guy in Jerry Ball to rival Pat Williams.
With that said, the 2009 Vikings are still a very good team. It is highly likely they will make the playoffs, and they certainly have the talent to make a title run. I’m not claiming the Vikings can’t win the Super Bowl, a championship certainly seems plausible.
I’m just not ready to throw myself into Super Bowl mode for a team that hardly seems dominant. Let’s remember Brad Childress is still the coach, after all.
The season has been a success so far, and the Vikings are certainly establishing themselves as one of the championship contenders. I, however, will continue to approach this team with cautious optimism.
I remember how quickly the Kool-Aid can turn sour.