COLUMN: The Vikings curse
If you’ve been a Minnesota Vikings fan your whole life, you may be used to disappointment by now. The 2017-2018 NFL season was exactly that: disappointing.
The Vikings’ season started off advantageous. They drafted a promising Florida State running back, Dalvin Cook, and had a rejuvenated offensive line. This seemed good for fans, since the blocking was the main problem last season.
The team was returning seven of its defensive starters. The season was looking pretty good, but Vikings fans should’ve known that disappointments awaited.
The opening game for the Vikings was against the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. This game was different for the Vikings since Adrian Peterson was now in a Saints jersey.
After a dominant performance by Sam Bradford and Cook, things were looking great for the team. Then, what we’ve all been expecting: the Vikings curse happened.
Enter backup quarterback Case Keenum. After four seasons in the NFL, Keenum hadn’t yet found his groove.
The season seemed gloomy for Vikings fans. After a strong start by Bradford, the team had to resort to a mediocre quarterback to lead Minnesota to a Super Bowl. Keenum started the game against the Steelers in the Vikings’ first loss of the year.
In week three, Keenum excelled. He threw three touchdowns and zero interceptions in an easy win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Was there light in this hopelessness for Vikings fans? Maybe for about a span of a week, Vikings fans felt hope. Until the curse reminded us of what team we were rooting for.
The next game against the division rivals Detroit Lions. Vikings fans were excited until our starting running back, Cook, went down with a knee injury in the second quarter.
Throughout the season Keenum, both backup running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon, and receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs filled the roles that fans have been dreaming of.
Keenum finished the regular season with 22 touchdowns and a QB rating of 98.3. Murray and McKinnon combined for over 1,400 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Thielen finished as a top five receiver with over 1,200 yards, while Diggs had 8 receiving touchdowns.
Adding to the successful offense, the Vikings defense ended the year with the least amount of yards allowed per game in the NFL. The success led the Vikings to a 13-3 record, tied for the best record in the league.
The Vikes looked like the team to beat since the number one seed the Philadelphia Eagles lost their starting quarterback, Carson Wentz, to a torn ACL. Many fans thought this year might finally end in a Super Bowl win.
Once again, we forgot about the curse.
However, this year seemed particularly special for the Vikings and their fans. The team was in the playoffs, but not only that; the Super Bowl was going to be played there.
Our first playoff game was at home against the Saints, which we beat the first game of the year. If you recall, the Saints were the team that knocked Minnesota out of the NFC championship back in 2009, so this seemed like a great chance for revenge.
However, the Vikings found themselves down by one with 10 seconds left in the game. On his own 35-yard line, Keenum threw a deep pass to Diggs, who ran the ball into the end zone as time expired.
This was the birth of the “Minneapolis Miracle” and added confidence that this might be the Vikings year.
Next up, a trip to Philadelphia for the NFC championship game.
Considering the story of our quarterback, our amazing defense, the “Minneapolis Miracle,” and the Super Bowl being played in Minneapolis, the thought of the Vikings losing to the Eagles didn’t even cross my mind.
I was wrong.
The Eagles embarrassed the Vikings. The final score ended up being 38-7 in favor of the number one seed. As I watched the game each Philly touchdown kept reminding me about which team I was cheering for and what was with us.
No, the Vikings did not make it to the Super Bowl being played at its home stadium. Yes, the curse is still completely alive. The good news is there is always another season for more disappointment.