Skepticism rampant among fansPublished 7:11am Monday, August 13, 2012 Updated 12:13pm Monday, August 13, 2012
The Minnesota Vikings, new stadium in its back pocket, made its debut Friday night. I have to say, this is about as apathetic toward the Vikings as I have been in some time.
Ever since I watched the last Super Bowl the Vikings were in at the age of 7 (when they were whipped by the Oakland Raiders), I have been an ardent follower. I could name every player on the team by memory, and watched every minute of every game.
Of course, during this time of year, training camp and preseason games, excitement is supposed to be at an all-time high.
After all, the team is 0-0, and all of the team’s draft picks and free agent signees and trade acquisitions have yet to play.
Once the season gets to, say, game 10, unless your team is having a season like, say, the Vikings teams of 1998 or 2009 did (when they came within one play of reaching the Super Bowl), the warts typically show.
Yet, and this seems to be a common theme among Vikings fans, this year, skepticism is rampant. Two bad seasons in a row will do that to fans. So will a quarterback in Christian Ponder that, while not an official draft bust yet, is clearly unproven and certainly not at a level of top-flight quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady or Drew Brees.
Come to think of it, for everyone who is excited about Ponder’s prospects, the fact remains that, if we had a quarterback like that, the Vikings’ chances of improvement would be substantially higher.
Between Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Chad Greenway and Antoine Winfield, the Vikings have still have some star power.
With draft picks Matt Kalil (tackle), Harrison Smith (safety) and Josh Robinson (cornerback) and free agent Jerome Simpson (wide receiver), the team clearly addressed some major weaknesses.
I heard lots about how the Vikings’ pass defense was the biggest reason why they went 3-13 last year. The problem with that theory is that the worst four passing defenses in the league last year based on yardage were four of the top teams in the league — Green Bay, New England, New Orleans and the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
In this day and age in the NFL, you need one of the best quarterbacks in the league playing at the top of his game.
Each one of the teams mentioned above has one (though the Giants’ Eli Manning is clearly the worst). The Vikings had that in 2009 in Favre.
Will Ponder be that guy? It’s hard to think he will.
The Vikings clearly reached when they took him in the first round of last year’s draft. There are many, many first-round NFL quarterback busts. And I am not one to believe that the Vikings’ braintrust knows more than anyone else in the NFL.
I guess we’ll see. If anything, watching Ponder’s progress will make normally boring preseason games somewhat more interesting.
As for the regular season, I’m holding firm to my plan of DVRing the games, and simply erasing losses unwatched.
• • •
Thanks to all who came out and enjoyed the Concert in the Park Thursday night. Hopefully, you were able to withstand the many lyrical gaffes, pauses when the wind blew my pages over, and restarts due to the fact that I don’t have the vocal range of Johnny Cash or John Denver.
Unlike other precarious performances, I felt relatively (though still nervous) relaxed Thursday.
It’s hard to picture the audience in their underwear when it was as chilly as it was. I have to accept the fact that, at this stage in my life, spending many hours a day rehearsing music, and memorizing lyrics, isn’t in the cards.
And that, as Stuart Smalley of Saturday Night Live used to say, is OK.
Now, if I could just use the same strategy with my golf game…
Joel Myhre is the publisher of The Daily Journal. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.