It’s that time of the year again, when the state of Minnesota places our hopes in the Minnesota Vikings, and we try to decide “could it actually be our year this time?” It’s the question that has always bemused sports fans in our state. After almost every big run of the past has ended in disappointment, we’re almost wary to embrace the team for a championship run. What I say to that though, is that if we don’t get behind them at moments like this, it will make us look foolhardy when that eventual Super Bowl comes.
I’ve been watching and supporting Vikings football for as long as I can remember, and I can recall a lot of the highs and lows. The 2009 season when we landed Brett Favre as quarterback is a big one in my mind. We went 12-4 that season, having many big games until finally arriving at the NFC Championship Game against the New Orleans Saints. In a crushing defeat, later marred by the Bountygate scandal of Saints targeting Vikings players, the Vikings lost 31-28.
Another big loss was the Wild Card loss to the Seattle Seahawks in January 2016. After a hard-fought game with few scores, the points stood at 10-9, the Vikings trailing by one point with seconds left in the fourth quarter, trusting our kicker Blair Walsh to put us over the finish line. Tragically, he missed, and Minnesota’s playoff hopes were dashed.
Of course, the moment that sticks out the most in recent memory is the “Minneapolis Miracle” of 2018 fame. After dominating the early game, the Vikings were trailing the New Orleans Saints 23-24 in the late stages. Gunning for a long reception and a chance for a game-winning field goal, Vikings quarterback Case Keenum threw a massive pass to Stefon Diggs. Instead of having to run out of bounds, however, Diggs dodged the Saints safety and managed to run it back to the end zone, winning the game.
This year has the potential to be another memorable season. We’re already almost exceeding last year, when we went 8-7-1. The Vikings are 8-3 this year following our recent win against Denver. There are five more games to keep up the wins and our team has been having breakout performances throughout. Running back Dalvin Cook, quarterback Kirk Cousins and our defense have been exceptionally outstanding.
At this time, many might invoke the “Vikings curse” or the curse that affects all Minnesota sports generally. As soon as a team starts to do well and fans across the state start to believe they can win, we’re all let down spectacularly. Minnesota teams exist to constantly disappoint us, the stories go. I don’t buy it.
Though the Vikings have never won a Super Bowl, we’ve been to the Super Bowl four times and the NFC Championship game even more times. The Vikings are never usually a “bad” team; where we have trouble is in the playoffs. Based on how our team plays and their strengths, winning a Super Bowl is something the Vikings should accomplish in the near future.
With that in mind, we should get behind our Vikings. This team has a great history and culture in our state. Millions of fans every year take their weekends to watch them and cheer them on. It’s a collective identity regardless of any differences Minnesotans can get behind. We’re all one when we’re doing the “Skol” chant and reveling in a win against our archrival the Green Bay Packers. Despite any apprehension about curses or being let down, let’s get out and support our Vikings as they keep pushing on this season. And who knows, maybe this could be “our year.”
Connor Kockler is a student at St. John’s University. He enjoys writing, politics and news, among other interests.