Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A., Earth- This franchise has nothing to hang its hat on. There is no coat rack. It’s all just lore. I don’t know when I’m going to die, I’m 90 and these young floor flushers running circles around me just might be sapping up my energy, shortening my life, boring me to death. Is a walk a pleasure these days? Sometimes. Or is it a slow march to death? Probably. I don’t care. Heavy life issues don’t matter any more.
My verdict is in: the franchise of the Minnesota Vikings has ultimately proved to be a futile one.
I’ve seen it all and I’m not impressed. Do you know what I had for breakfast? Eggs. Did I get a crown for eating my eggs? Or a ring? No. So, by that logic, me eating those eggs is about as meaningful as 51 years of Vikings history. It was breakfast on another day of a seemingly endless life. It all blends together. Sun, moon, covered or not, I don’t care, just like these purple games I watch, I have no idea if it’s live or on film. It’s all the same, a seemingly noble pursuit of a footballer on this hopeful path to the ultimate in sport, a trophy held high but they don’t give trophies to second place teams in the NFL.
Here I am, punishing this tape recorder with more talk of meaningless football. Victory after victory, loss after loss, hope upon hope, glory seemingly in the distance like the appearance of a bar still serving at the end of the night. But this bar has been closed forever.
The Vikings have the look of a 4 time oscar winner but reality is the only thing this team deserves is star on a Hollywood sidewalk or an achievement award on a piece paper with Congratulations Vikings written in ink. Lifetime achievement awards mean nothing in the NFL. I’m tired. So, assuming that a Super Bowl is not won in my lifetime and assuming my dream of being zapped to the skies by Von Schmalien the Alien to be preserved in an other worldly lucid dream experiment where I still get to watch football every Sunday, assuming these things, it is time for my once in a lifetime, nobody in the history of the franchise ever won a damn thing so who cares greatest Viking of all-time award. Let’s just get right to it. The futzing winner is:
Jerome Monahan “Jerry” Burns. Burnsie was the Vikings offensive coordinator from 1968-1985 and the head coach from 1985-1991. Burnsie. He is the greatest Viking of all-time. Why? Why fucking not.
I was all set to write a seething column about Bill Musgrave but Burnsie flashed into my head while I was mentally clubbing Musgrave across the face with his stupid little play sheet. There was a moment in today’s travesty where the Vikings had the ball on the Chicago 12, it was 3rd and 2 and Adrian Peterson was finally being allowed by Musgrave to put the team on his back and see how far the squad would go. It was the teams only chance. Peterson has been insane over the last few weeks, the best player in football, yet, he only carried the ball 18 times on Sunday.
18. EIGHTEEN. He had a 6 yard per carry average. 18. 6. 18 x 6 =108. Christian Ponder had 153 yards on 43 passing attempts. 43. I have no idea. It’s almost like Musgrave was using some space age formula. But Sunday didn’t call for space age mathematics it called for giving it to the guy with the best chance to get you there. 28. That was the only number Musgrave needed to know.
I think I died a little more on a 3rd and 2 in the second half when Peterson had led them down the field to the 12 and Musgrave called a Ponder ass pass. On fourth down they called another Ponder ass pass. And the greatest running back in football walked off the field while Musgrave was once again left looking too cute for his own good while calling plays in the red zone. He doesn’t have a resume to base that cuteness off of. Bill Walsh could be cute. Bill Belichick can be cute. Bill Musgrave can go fly a kite.
Immediately I was reminded of a Burnsie press conference defending Bob Schnelker, a wanted man in the late eighties for his crimes against offense. Burnsie, after a Vikings victory in which they scored 21 points on 7 field goals, defended Schnelker for giving his heart to purple as fans wanted to zap his play sheet with a ray gun.
I realized, after all this time in a nothing meaningful gained Vikings history, that a Musgrave is a Childress is a Green is a nothing much. Names that hover around the purple earth like doomed kites crashing into trees.
Burnsie, you win. You swore the most, which, in my book, means you cared the most. You gave it all to this organization, you beat the 80s dynasty Niners on the road in 1988 which remains the greatest win in Vikings history and because of this and your entertaining swearing, I’m naming you the greatest Viking of all time. All hail fucking Burnsie.
I’m an old, broken down sports writer giving a quasi eulogy because right now there is no deciphering between yesterday and tomorrow, much like this franchise, purple flashes of purple ghosts in 51 years of games being processed by this adorable head to no real path of lasting glory. Every time the Vikings have punted has meant the same thing as every time the Vikings have scored a touchdown. Ouch. Sue me.