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Bravado and Spirit Needed, All Vikings May Apply

It is a very good thing that I’m just a fan and not a player, because the sudden-death nature of post-season football makes me all nervous, twitchy, and slightly gloomy. For example, yesterday I got a Sidney Rice jersey for my birthday. My birthday isn’t until January 21, but I wanted to get the jersey now so I would be guaranteed to wear it for at least one game this post-season. See what I mean, gloomy.

And I’m extra gloomy about what I’ve been reading all week in the paper. The Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys have been engaging in so much mutual admiration and respect that it is enough to make me heave. Seriously, all this sweetness is right up there with the Academy Awards when everyone talks about what an honor it is just to be in the same category as the other actors. Jared Allen is a big fan of DeMarcus Ware’s physical pass rushing style. Tony Romo grew up in Wisconsin idolizing Brett Favre and now gets to duel it out with him in the playoffs. Adrian Peterson grew up in Palestine, Texas cheering for Emmitt Smith and the Cowboys. Favre even had to back-peddle, saying his previous statement about the Vikings being around for another week in the playoffs was referring to his focus on just one game at a time rather than the future or the suggestion that they will actually win on Sunday. And on and on it goes with everyone talking about how great everyone else is and how much respect they have for one another. Blah, blah, blah.

While this charming exchange might be interesting from a sportsmanship standpoint, it’s not the sort of thing that gets me, the fan, filled with the confidence and the conviction that Minnesota’s home-field advantage turns this game into a sure thing for the Vikings. Granted, there is no such thing as a sure thing in the NFL, but it’s nice to believe there could be and that the Vikings are it.

But, maybe a conservative tack is the safer way to look at things. Yes, again with the gloominess.

This year the Vikings have managed to flub a couple games that seemed like sure things. Given Carolina’s record, there was little reason to think they would give the Vikings the butt-whooping they did, or that the Chicago Bears would pull off an overtime win. But it happened and my Scandinavian pessimism once again took hold.

Normally, it would go against my nature to say this, but it’s the playoffs and I’m willing to give in to moral ambiguity for the sake of team spirit. We need more trash talking. I want bravado, bragging, confidence, over-confidence, and just plain smack. This polite exchange of compliments might be doing it for the players, but football is also about entertainment and this kind of Ladies Aid Society chatting is thin on entertainment and excitement. Is it asking so much that the Cowboys and Vikings get together over tea and scones to hash out a workable strategy of insults and invective the way professional wrestling does?

The Vikings are playing their first playoff game of the postseason against a team I have disliked for a long time. So, I put it to the Vikings team in general and Jared Allen in particular, give me a quip, a dig, a barb or a stab. Anything to remind us that this is post-season football and not a charity fundraiser or the Oscars.

-Skol Girl

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