Friday, September 7, 2012

Change of Pace

Like any other Vikings fan who's lived through 1987, 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2009, I tend to dwell on the negative. I've always maintained that I've written on this blog because I HAD to, for myself. I've even resorted to seeking out painful losses I didn't remember seeing as a kid. It's not easy rooting for this crap franchise.

In fact, ask any Vikings fan their favorite win ever. Anyone over 45 would probably say one of the NFC Championship wins over the Rams in the 70s. Anyone around 25-30 would probably say the 1998 MNF game at Lambeau. But the sad reality is that it's so much easier to rattle off the 8 or 9 worst losses you've seen than even five memorable wins. I even did it myself, it took probably less than an hour to write this column here.

Thanks to YouTube, I've remembered that there are a lot more fun wins over the years than I realized. Here's a few I could find on YouTube, the best last second or overtime wins in Vikings history...

[NOTE: I'm not including Ryan Longwell's game winning field goal to beat the Giants' second string team putting a lame-duck Vikings team in the playoffs in 2008. We can do better than that.]

7. Week 11, 2005 - Vikings 20, Green Bay Packers 17
6. Week 7, 2005 - Vikings 23, Green Bay Packers 20

The video flip-phone quality, but Paul Edinger once upon a time was probably the best kicker from 50+ yards the NFL had seen in a long long time. He hit 56 and 27 yard field goals, both with time expiring, to beat the Packers twice in 2005. Okay, the Packers were awful and finished 4-12 that year, but still.

5. Week 11, 1987 - Vikings 44, Dallas Cowboys 38 OT

The Cowboys weren't very good in the late 80s, but beating them on the road on Thanksgiving Day was still a big deal. Darrin Nelson blows past the Cowboys defense to win in overtime. Plus how do you not love classic Pat Summerall screwing up Nelson's name at 1:45? "DARRYL... DARRIN NELSON..."

4. Week 14, 1994 - Vikings 33, Chicago Bears 27

All he does? Catch touchdowns. A huge late season win over Wannstache's Bears that ended a three-game losing streak. That '94 team was a lot of fun.

3. Week 3, 2009 - Vikings 27, San Francisco 49ers 24

I never liked Brett Favre, but I'll be damned if this wasn't freaking awesome. Greg Lewis doesn't get enough credit for that catch.

2. 1997 NFC Wildcard - Vikings 23, New York Giants 22

Unfortunately this video doesn't include Jake Reed barely getting his foot down in bounds for a TD in the back of the end zone with less than 2 minutes left. It doesn't show the Vikings recovering an onside kick (when does that EVER happen???) either. But it does show an impressive Randall Cunningham-led drive for the winning field goal, as well as Denny Green calling a Robert Smith draw play that actually worked.

This was Denny's first playoff win and inspired many to envision a repeat of 10 years previous where the Vikings upset the Niners in San Francisco in the Divisional round. Didn't happen, but this was a lot of fun while it lasted. This sort of stuff never ever ever happened to the Vikings.

1. Week 15, 1980 - Vikings 28, Cleveland Browns 23


I was born in '82, so this one was before my time. That doesn't make it any less astounding to watch. A whopping fourteen seconds, a mere 80 yards, the division title on the line. No problem for Tommy Kramer and Ahmad Rashad. (Yes, that Ahmad Rashad.)

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