Minnesota Vikings: The Purple Plague

Antwan FieldsContributor IJanuary 26, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24:  Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings walks off the field after the Vikings lost to the New Orleans Saints 31-28 in overtime during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

This article is not an excoriation of the Minnesota Vikings. This article is an expression of disappointment in the Minnesota Vikings' fans.

First, a brief aside on the game. The Saints were beaten, but won. Not because of the interception—there was still an overtime period. The defense should have been able to stop the Saints, but they were tired from being on the field constantly and the offense never got a chance to make it.

Listening to sports radio, which I rarely do, has intensified the disappointment I feel. Everyone points to the interception, not realizing that a pass interference penalty and the 4th-and-1 call, which no one can agree on, got the Vikings to the point where Garrett Hartley nailed the three-pointer.

My disappointment morphed into rage when I happened to look up while working on my homework and saw that some Vikings fans had burned jerseys. It never fails. Never.

I really don't care if this team lost the NFC title game 900-7. Burning a jersey doesn't show intensity and emotion, it shows classlessness and idiocy. It was disgusting to watch, and it made valid all of the assertions that other fans (Packers fans, especially) make about Vikings fans. That's the part that made me angrier than anything else. As bad as Packers fans have been, why sink to that level?

I was just as hurt when the phantom pass interference penalty moved the Saints even closer. I was just as disgusted by the five turnovers and so forth. But I'm against trading Adrian Peterson BECAUSE OF THIS GAME. Knee-jerk reactions like this from Vikings fans—hell, from ANY fans—are a bad idea. They're counterproductive to the long-term health of the franchise.

There was once a call on KFAN that was shocking: A caller made the assertion that Garrett Wolfe would be a better football player than Adrian Peterson. This call brought a hysterical laugh from Henry Lake and a less hysterical one from Cory Cove. It deserved exactly that reaction.

Adrian Peterson may not be the best running back in football anymore, but he's a close second (Ronnie Brown? Really?). I don't believe in doing things in the heat of emotion. Trading Peterson makes Chester Taylor the feature back in a somewhat thin draft for RB's.

A fumbling problem can be corrected, which is what people fail to realize. What they also fail to realize is that Peterson has been wildly successful despite eight men in the box before the arrival of Favre, despite having Tarvaris Jackson—who I'm convinced can be successful—and Gus Frerotte throwing the ball. I'm against trading him. I stand solidly behind this.

Bryant McKinnie, on the other hand, I've had wayyy past enough of. A while back I said that McKinnie was the best left tackle in the NFC North by default, which is sort of like being the best friend of Hulk Hogan: It'll get you in the game, but once you run up against that ego, it's Atomic Leg Drop time. McKinnie was Atomic Leg Dropped by the Saints defensive line all game, including one where a Saints defender, I think Bobby McCray, gave Favre a spinebuster into the turf and got an RTP penalty. It was such a good spinebuster that Arn Anderson was somewhere in the Superdome cheering it. He was probably the only one who was cheering the spinebuster and not the late hit. If McKinnie had halfway cared, the Vikings would have won this game. Somewhat easily.

Not that I don't respect the Saints. I do. But Hurricane Katrina was seven years ago. (or six, or five, or whatever)Football moves on from disasters. Move on, football. 

Here's the thing. Hurricane Katrina was a terrible natural disaster that killed people, destroyed buildings and lives, and parts of New Orleans are still uninhabitable. But that is not a reason to root for the Saints, which I obviously did not. It's a football game. And anyone who criticizes me for that point of view is missing the larger point: This is a sporting event. We all know about Katrina. It doesn't mean we should dwell on it, unless we're referring to mismanagement, or the people themselves, or the humiliating performance of Kanye West. When it comes to sports, we should enjoy our teams, not use their performance as extra motivation toward something that renders sports to a corner. It's like 2001. We didn't all turn into Yankee or Giants fans, nor should we have. Sports is an escape at times, not a link to what is happening off the field or the court.

The Saints are a good team bordering on great. It isn't like you lost to the Bears here. Also, I understand you got your hopes up. But sports, and football in particular, are cruel.

Now, when you turn the ball over five times, you should lose. When you hand another team opportunity after opportunity, unless you're this year's Bears, the other team will capitalize. That's all. Don't blame the refs. Don't blame the interception, it was the last turnover, and again, the defense could have made a stop in overtime or an interception. 

Blame the four before it. If you want to blame AP, blame him. But if you blame him, you have to blame Percy Harvin for his, and Bernard Berrian for his. Don't burn jerseys. That's bush league, and to quote Mike Gundy, "It's garbage."

Think about this: You had a successful year with a Brett Favre who was supposed to be done. He went out there and had an amazing season when I, and others, doubted he'd be able to run out on the field, let alone win 12 games and dominate the Cowboys.

In the end, we fell one game short. But that's nothing to be ashamed of, especially since you played the best road game you'd played all year, EXCEPT FOR THE TURNOVERS. So you know what you do? You plan for next year. Next year could be just as good, and next year, when they say "Who gon' beat dem Saints?"

You can answer it with: "The Vikings gon' beat dem Saints."