Skol Vikings! Let’s win this game
Skol Vikings! Honor your name
Go get that first down
Then get a touchdown
Rock ‘em, sock ‘em, FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT! FIGHT!
Go Vikings, run up the score, you’ll hear us yell for more!
Skol Vikings, let’s go!
My brother and I surprised our Dad with tickets to the Vikings game Sunday night, and managed to keep it a secret until Sunday morning. This was amazing not only because we talked about how the Vikes were going to dominate the game practically ALL NIGHT on Saturday, but because a couple of people at dinner were so excited they almost spilled the beans.
Seriously, this wasn’t that big a deal. But one of my mother’s best friends, upon hearing the plans, told me “Oh, I have goosebumps just thinking about you guys doing this for your dad! What a special gift, tickets to the game with his two sons!” Apparently we’re better shoppers than we thought. I had the idea for this little adventure back in September when the Vikings were still terrible. In past years, its been impossible to get Viking tickets; with their recent run of suckiness, that has changed. A bad year on the field translated into a great year to buy tickets for a game.
So I bought tickets after Week 2. The team stumbled to a 3-6 start, and to be honest I wasn’t all that excited to go to the game. They were terrible. And then a funny thing happened.
They won five in a row to get to 8-6, their rookie running back Adrian Peterson morphed into the most dynamic back in the NFL, and suddenly they were on the verge of being a playoff team. As a matter of fact, all they had to do was win Sunday night, and they clinched a playoff spot. NBC picked the game up and moved it to primetime as their “Sunday Night Game Of the Week”. Now I was excited for the game!
A big Vikings game? Oh oh. I should have known better…
Sunday morning, my brother and I went out to get donuts from the bakery. Before bringing the box of rolls into the house, I snuck an envelope with the tickets into the box. Upon taking out a roll, our dad noticed the envelope with his name on it, opened it up, and was stunned silent. It didn’t register right away what the tickets were.
“Are these what I think they are?”
“Yep. We’re going to MInnesota tonight. Pack your bag!”
Dressed in our finest purple nordic attire, we jumped in the van and began the short three-hour drive to the Twin Cities. Well, its three hours in good weather; in Sunday’s ground blizzard, it took us almost five hours. When we arrived, we took the light rail to the Metrodome and thanked the good Lord for the Dome — outside it was 12 degrees, snowing and occasional 35 MPH wind gusts. Fun stuff. I’ve cursed the damn Dome during baseball for twenty years, but on this night, what a place!
Once inside, we grabbed a Dome Dog and a beverage and headed to our seats, which were halfway up the upper deck in the corner of the stadium. We’ve had Viking tickets in locales as varied as seven rows up from the field, all the way to the last row in front of the scoreboard, and no matter where you sit, its just as much fun. Our dad had never been to a game regardless of seat, so he was really enjoying it. As we enjoyed our Dome Dogs (which are just as tasty at a Vikings game as they are at a Twins game), we watched game highlights of earlier games on the Jumbotron. We got our photo taken. We watched the teams warm up. We booed the Redskins. We mocked the dude in the ridiculous Hog mask in front of us. We had a blast, and the game hadn’t even started.
Right before kickoff, the grounds crew began inflating the giant Viking ship that the team runs out of as they take the field. A highlight package of Joe Mauer’s Greatest Plays came on the board, and my brother and I turned to each other as if to say, “Joe Mauer? What’s up with that?” Our question was soon answered by the PA Announcer.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome tonight’s Honorary Viking, Minnesota Twins All-Star catcher and native Minnesotan Joe Mauer!”
Mauer, dressed in a purple #7 jersey with MAUER on the nameplate, blew the Gjallarhorn — a giant Nordic horn which is best known to non-Viking fans as the horn from the Ricola commercials. According to Norse mythology, the ringing of the Gjallarhorn signals the beginning of Ragnarok (which I’m certain Cliff Glypha knows way more about than I do, so I’ll shut up now before I drop some half-truths on you that he’ll shoot down). At Viking games, the ringing of the Gjallarhorn signals the beginning of ass-kicking buffet time.
Its a goosebump moment if you’re part of the purple faithful. The team is inside of a giant Viking ship, their presence apparent because they are jumping around inside and literally rocking the ship back and forth. The Gjallarhorn is blown, Ragnar the Viking comes blasting out of the ship on his Harley, and the team follows him as Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” blares. So you’ve got a Gjallarhorn, you’ve got a long-haired guy dressed as a Viking on a Harley, you’ve got cannons shooting off, you’ve got Robert Plant screaming “Aaahhhhaaaaaaaa–Aaaaa! Aaahhhhaaaaaaaa–Aaaaa!”, and you’ve got 62,000 people going berserk.
The Viking ship, rumbling before the team busts out. The crowd was in such a frenzy, myself included, that I couldn’t even hold the camera steady!
The classic Zep song has been their de facto theme song for as long as I can remember. It makes no sense other than the fact that its an up-tempo rock song that everyone recognizes…until you think about it. The version played for the Vikings is a remix with only certain lyrics included. Chief among them: “We come from the land of the ice and snow…” and “The hammer of the Gods will drive our ships to new lands”. Seriously, read about it on Wikipedia:
“The song is dedicated to the Icelander Leif Ericson. It is sung from the perspective of Vikings rowing west from Scandinavia in search of new lands. Its driving, regular beat evokes the determination of the explorers and their oars hitting the water, and the lyrics make explicit reference to Viking conquests and the Old Norse religion (To fight the horde, singing and crying/Valhalla, I am coming!).”
This song was practically written for the Minnesota Vikings to use as a theme song. Of course, they have a “real” theme song that predates Immigant Song by a decade. I’m talking, of course, about “Skol, Vikings”. Its lame, its cheesy, but dammit, its our lame and cheesy song and I like it.
So we were having a ball, my brother, my dad and myself. And then Tarvaris Jackson threw his first pass, had it intercepted, and the air was sucked out of the building by the Vikings QB sucking so badly. The fact that it was Fred Smoot, perpetrator of the Love Boat scandal when he played for the Vikings, who made the pick was even worse. I’m still not sure who the boos were louder for — Jackson or Smoot!
Washington drove to the goalline, scored what appeared to be a touchdown on 4th and Goal from the one yard line, but a Viking Challenge overturned the call giving them the ball on the 4-inch line. Now the dome was rocking again! Aaannnnd then the Vikings couldn’t run the ball out of the end zone, got a safety, and the place was booing again.
Is there a more bitter fan base in all of sports than the Vikings? I say this as one of them. I’m bitter as hell.
This is what happens at a big Viking game — complete and utter disappointment. Like a reverse-Colt 45 or something. Works every time.
In the first half alone, the Vikings threw two interceptions, lost a fumble, had a safety against them, and were behind 22-0 at halftime. They were booed off the field, and even though I very rarely boo my own players…I stood up and booed lustily. When your team sucks that much on National TV in the Game Of The Week, they deserve it. I wanted them all to get violently ill on bad Gatorade in the locker room, and frankly, karma should have made it happen. Because I was violently ill watching them suck so much.
Son of a bitch.
In the second half, the Vikings scored a quick TD and promptly tried a surprise on-side kick — and they got it! Suddenly, there was hope. Another TD and all of a sudden, it was 25-14. On a subsequent Washington drive, they threw a pass that led the receiver out of bounds, but the refs called him in-bounds. Before the Vikes could challenge it, the Redskins quickly snapped the ball to prevent a challenge. Trouble was, they fumbled the snap and the Vikes recovered it. Likewise, trouble was the Vikings had 12 men on the field due to the quick snap (one guy was still running off the field due to the quickness of the snap) and the ‘Skins challenged THAT, and won.
If you’re thinking I went home with one shoe, well…
I wanted to punch the camera with my shoe. My brother gave a hearty thumbs-up to this idea.
Good lord. 32-21 Redskins was the final. Yet another bitter heartbreaking defeat for the Vikings. As my brother noted after the game, “The Vikings have two ways of breaking your heart: losing the big game, or losing the game before the big game.” Truer words were never spoken.