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Additional Minnesota Viking Commentary

The Machine 
Welcome my friends ... Welcome ... To the machine.  

It was my sons first game.  He's 22 years old now.  Where are you going dad ... Section 120 is this way.  No son, this way.  Follow me.  Are you sure dad?  Yup, just follow me.  We pass through the tunnel and there lying before us is the Vikings bench.  As we step down those stairs, getting closer and closer to the field, my son is in disbelief.  He's trying to fathom what is evolving before his eyes.  Wow dad ... these are great seats.

At first, I could only see long snapper McDermott, lefty Locke & Blair Walsh practicing field goals, when I point out Mark & Ziggy Wilf to my son.  He then counters with hey dad, that's Mike Zimmer stewing over there.  Then I pointed out Rick Spielman in his pink shirt ... always working his tactical personnel magic ... never letting any moment pass him by.  In time each of the groups would enter the field in preparation for the start of the game only to return to the locker room for the introductions.  It was appropriate that I'd never get to see Adrian Peterson in person ... as my father had once saw Jim Brown those may years ago.   

Yes, I was there.  The tears began rolling just as they unfurled two flags of the United State of America.  They were about to play our national anthem, the melody which so many have given their souls.  Then the Viking team was introduced to a round of boo's followed by the pomp & circumstance of the home team.  Cheer leaders, pyrotechnics, the crescendo of bombs followed by the home teams introductions.  Then the fly over ... gone in the blink of an eye.  At that moment, my only feeling was that they were cheering for the wrong team and that maybe one day that might be for my team.  55 years of history ... of always knowing that the other shoe was about to drop ... I held my tongue.  I suppressed my emotions as best I could but there was no holding back the welled up waterworks.  Something had driven me to be here on this day at this exact moment.  There was something there to witness ... something on par with that 98 season.  It was without choice ... orphaned to my role ... whatever that might be.

It started just as I expected, just as it did versus the Titan's.  We were handled readily where the cheering for the Panthers felt as if it were directed at me.  The Panthers were riding high, where I held my lip & all of my emotions in check.  I had seen too much to know that it was way too early to jump of the graves of these characters.  I was to patiently await the turning point ... bite my tongue & bide my time.  Then it came.  Danielle Hunter found his way to Cam in the end zone to extend his prayer hands up to the heavens.  The hand of the big guy had arrived.  Kids playing a game, not knowing either how or why, just being apart of something they cannot explain.

For the Panthers, from this point forward, they were to negotiate the hidden perils of quick sand.  Nothing would make sense as everything would lie just beyond their fingertips, everything off kilter ... and know one knew why.  What was odd is that a good deal clicked, from time to time ... only to self destruct.  Favor would extend to the next drive that would find a similar result.

Sherels returns a punt all the way.  We are down 10-8.  Going for 2 should be the call but we instead call for the extra point.  My son argues that it's the right call (it's too early to chase points).  My argument was to take the opportunity of tying the game when it presented itself.  There is one unequivocal rule in regard to 2-point conversions and that is it is harder to convert at the end of the game as opposed to the beginning as the defense can rely on the fact that it has a good deal of time to recover from a good conversion.  In fact, an immediate 2-point conversion should be planned for execution even before the game starts as the defender may not be able to cope with the speed of its execution.  As it turned out, the Panthers were in shock after giving up the punt return, or in other words, the iron was hot, where it was time to act like men ... not do whatever everyone else is doing.  Walsh misses the kick which is when I asked my son, " How do you feel about the extra point now."  There is a key message for Zimmer & his staff, "Do not lament or worry about what you didn't need."  If Walsh wasn't your man, he wouldn't come up huge twice at the end of the game.  Walsh is not a problem ... he's exceptional.  

The rest of the game was surreal.  Punch followed by counter punches.  It was a thing of beauty.  Now I think back to the Purple Gang & the Purple People Eaters of Sheb Wooly with the hope that they never link this group to those guys as each was special in their own regard.  This group has it's own identity where in time they will have their own moniker.  Any comparison might dishonor the memory of all of them just like there could never be any comparison to Fran Tarkenton.  There was only one ... there will only ever be one.

It was getting toward the 7:09 mark, when both my son & I would be exposed for the first time.  Tears & emotion were welling in my eyes and the feeling the turning point was at hand.  Of course, my son corrected me by saying that it was not the turning point of the game, because he didn't understand.  I had no idea what was about to happen but the overwhelming energy surged threw me ... driving my emotions to a new level.  It was about to explode before my eyes.  I watched Theilen contort his body as if to fly through the air with one arm extended to grasp onto what might have been a Sam Bradford errant throw ... pulling it in on the 5-yard line.  The turning point ... of that there is no doubt.  Sure, it was the straw that broke the camels (Panthers) back but in reality what it was became the turning point of the season.

The rest became the grind to the conclusion of the game.  There we sat in complete disbelief.  What just happened?  

Welcome my friends ... welcome ... to the machine.  The big guy wanted and created the 85 Bears.  He did it again with the 2,000 Raven's.  What has he done now?  The buzz is at hand ... there is no stopping it now.    

The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: September 27, 2016