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Additional Minnesota Viking Commentary

Baptism of Fire 
What might be the purpose of immersing yourself within NFL history.  A clear cliché known to all is that those that don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  When I was a young man ... I loathed that cliché ... because, at the time, it really meant nothing to me.   I knew everything ... but unfortunately for me ... what I learned was that I was born ignorant.  You don't know what you don't know ... and come to find out ... that there is nothing more comical than life.  The driving force of this comedy is that the big guy combines this bit of folly with youth, talent and skill.  As my dad always said ... "If I knew then, what I know now ... (with a great big smile on his face) look out ladies!" 

In my first real job I remember coming out of a month long training session where I was somehow perceived by my peers to be of lesser stature ... and that was because the organization took the time to train me ... where these other individuals where handed some literature and reference material and were then cast into their own individual baptism of fire.   

Now we find ourselves chiding 20-something year old players ... in the futile hope of latching on to them with something of meaning and importance ... and from their passion and play .... there is an apparent disconnect with this history ... strutting around in their Teflon UNIES.

Take for instance the Vikings present 2008 season.  From every direction they drop little tidbits on us like nuclear bombs.  One of the latest involves pushover teams like Atlanta and Arizona, as viewed from the start of the season, which have now become nothing less than significant land mines.  Even Detroit, played us close at home and we still have to travel to their house and they certainly have that day marked on their schedule.  What this means to a 2008 Viking is that our entire and complete 2008 schedule has and will test our mettle, from beginning to end ... and from a historical perspective ... this have never occurred ever.  Ever!  

Most would cringe and cower at such a thought.  My view, however, is quite ravenous and filled with a Beserker Rage ... with reason.  

In regard to our place in history, the commentators will always point to wins and losses ... as being the only true indicator ... as if we were playing for the college National Championship.  The 1972 Miami Dolphins perfect season (17-0), was factually one of the easiest regular season schedules in the history of the NFL ... that is of course ... except for the Minnesota Vikings, which beat the physical snot out of the Dolphins only to lose a very close game that year.  It is for this reason alone that the 72 Dolphins are scoffed at, in regard to true elite teams, where in fact the 73 Dolphins, which the Vikings faced in Super Bowl VIII was actually a superior team.  What is important to note is that when the members of that undefeated team look down at that ring ... they have no choice but to point to that 72 game in Minnesota.  What this one event indicates is a unique role played by the Vikings within NFL history ... which has generated an accumulation of elite performances ... before and since ... with payment ... which is now well past due.    

A fond look back to prior Viking seasons indicate some incredible regular season play ... with each playoff appearance ending in a bitter disappointment.  In those seasons, it ended with either some sort of gaff, or gaffs, or a clear indication that we were not battle tested.  To understand where this is going, you need to look no further that to interview John Madden in regard to Super Bowl XI, where he viewed that final game somewhat like Vince Lombardi did ... an eventuality.  What Madden understood was that his team was battle tested and battle hardened where there was no way the 1976 Vikings was going to keep him from his destiny.   

It is for this reason that numerous dominant won-loss records end up on the scrap heap ... year after year.         
This 2008 Viking Baptism of Fire season indicates one very true and very valid point.  If the Vikings get even a whiff of ... a shot at ... a birth in ... the commissioners 2008 sudden death tournament ... I can guarantee you that there will be absolutely no team that will want any part of the battle hardened Vikings team ... of what will be the most dangerous team in the league.  The additional lumped on adversity, which we are about to face together, will do nothing more than to provide additional fuel on that fire.    

This is much different from the 98 season, where that plan was very simple.  Hold the blocks, fill the gaps, and chuck it as far as you possible can ... where the hope was that our gazelle would not have to slow down, or even stop, or have to run back ... and to snatch that lofty bird.   The momentum of that season turned on a simple grab of an outstretched arm that caused a fumble just prior to the end of the half.   

With every snap, the Kapp-like-Gus-Snarl evolves to add new weapons to the arsenal.  The shakes and the quakes are now building.  Maybe this week the prowess of Madieu Williams ... along with the necessary time to get his legs under him ... will begin to show its face ... causing redirection to a very hungry Sharp-Dressed-Man.  BOO-YAH!  More importantly ... the ever evolving timing learning curve with his receivers is building its momentum ... like a snow ball down a very large hill.  On paper ... only Berrian is a perceived threat.  As time evolves ... so to will the unstated communication where the special talents and threats of Wade, Allison, and Rice will finally blow open Peterson's door.  Chester will be the man!  Imagine actually experiencing this dream.  We are ready ... we are ravenous for it.  Belief can make it so.    

There is no explanation for Brady ... other than his cheating tells and an ever protective and vigilant offensive line.  We are impatient because we want the years of cohesiveness demonstrated by Manning and his receivers.   It's easy to have one step in ... and hit the ground running ... it's quite another to have to build it all from raw materials and from special parts coming from other organizations.  It take time to learn skills ... it takes more to communicate with it!

So what is the significance.  Well ... you see ... you cannot collect on a debt that you know nothing about.  You stand naked and alone!          

The Steelers are one of the oldest franchises in the NFL.  Their history was quit sordid.  At the time ... they were much like how we perceive the Cards today ... cursed by the Ollie Matson blockbuster trade.  Today, even the uninitiated associate the Steelers with their domination of the 70's.  It is from this that they transformed the organization for all time ... and it is from this that their future is ensured.   

You are indelibly tied to every Viking that ever was ... and that ever will be.  These are your fraternal brothers that now span generations.  Only a fool would try to walk away from something that becomes easily etched upon your soul.  What it is ... Bro!  There is no doubt in an afterlife ... at least in my mind.  Some one some where is writing Karl Kassulke's epitaph and we all grieve his loss.  I know that I could only fail in such an attempt but in my heart we can only truly honor Wally and now Karl with an image, which is indelible etched upon our minds.  It is of the spirit of their hearts pouring out for their brothers with fight, verve and passion for their brothers.    

So ... it really comes down to a simple choice.  Do I stand alone and find myself barking at the moon ... or do I stand with my brothers ... then and now ... to take on destiny and to will our way to what is rightfully ours.  

There to collect on a debt ... that appeared to have been silenced for all time.     

The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: October 30, 2008

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