As many of you know, I am a hardcore Packer-backer and member of the Cheesehead Nation. I wear my Packers uniforms on campus along with my cheesehead. I was devastated by Aaron Rodgers’ injury against the Vikings, but in the Packers-less playoffs, I don’t have a problem rooting for the Vikings. This just means we have a chance to beat the Super Bowl champs twice!
I’m writing this article less than an hour after the end of the game and I still cannot believe that Minnesota pulled it off. I am simply in awe. With this victory, the Vikings have become the first ever team to advance past the Divisional Round when the Super Bowl is in their home field. Next week, we go to a Carson Wentz-less Philadelphia Eagles.
If you check my season preview at the beginning of the year, I didn’t give Minnesota much of a chance, placing them at 10-6 or 9-7 with an outside shot at the playoffs. Obviously, I have to eat my words. It feels pretty bitter.
Every year, there’s one team in each conference that feels like a team of destiny. In the NFC, it is clearly Minnesota: third-string quarterback, Cook gone, and always playing in Packers’ shadow does not exactly inspire confidence. But Keenum is 12-3 as a starter, the running game hasn’t missed a beat, and the Vikings played well enough for the #2 seed. The play of the defense has allowed the Vikings to win close games, which has further added to the drama of the year. I like their odds.
Defense wins championships, pure and simple. Even in this age of pass-happy and big-gain offenses, most of the Super Bowl champions in the last decade have been No.1 in yards allowed per game and points allowed per game. Minnesota is the league leader in both. Jacksonville is No. 2 in both. Such a game would be a shot of adrenaline for the NFL, with powerful defenses, no Patriots, and neither team having won a Super Bowl before.
While the Cinderella feel happens just about every year, it isn’t often that those teams win the Super Bowl. The Vikings have a real shot and for a fan base that is arguably among the best and most loyal in the country, it would truly be wonderful for them to finally be rewarded with a Lombardi trophy. The 90-year-old Bud Grant was in the stands against New Orleans and it has been said that he is the best coach to never win the big one. Skol Vikings! Win this for Bud Grant and your fans!