COMMENTARY: Vikings' game at TCF Field lot like old days, except '10 team overpaid, awful"My guess is that they wouldn't play any better under water or at zero gravity, either," columnist Tom Powers writes. "They will not win another game this season. And, please, somebody put poor Brett Favre on the injured reserve list before he winds up permanently taking his meals through a straw."
By: Tom Powers, St. Paul Pioneer Press / MCT
It was a Winter Wonderland on Monday night at TCF Bank Stadium. We had snow, sleet and wind. We had patrons not so discreetly sipping adult beverages from flasks. There were snowballs and big, shirtless guys shaking their bare bellies for the TV cameras. It was all very retro.
"What do I think? We lost, that's all I think," Pat Williams said.
There was that, too. Otherwise, it was just like the old days at Metropolitan Stadium, except the current Vikings are overpaid and awful. That's a rather large difference, I suppose. Plus, they don't make them as tough as they used to. For example, Tarvaris Jackson's streak for consecutive games started ended at one.
How do you squeeze 62,000 ticket holders into a 50,000-seat stadium? It's very easy when 22,000 of them say "no thanks" and stay home. There was plenty of elbow room. Unfortunately for those hearty souls who did brave the slippery roads, the Vikings don't play any better outdoors than they do indoors.
My guess is that they wouldn't play any better under water or at zero gravity, either. They will not win another game this season. And, please, somebody put poor Brett Favre on the injured reserve list before he winds up permanently taking his meals through a straw.
"The bottom line is that we got our butts kicked," Jared Allen said. "On offense, defense and special teams. It sucks."
I'm not so sure that really was the bottom line, though. Monday night wasn't so much about football. Well, there was a game going on, but everyone knew Minnesota had no chance of winning. Instead, the attraction was the novelty of being outside in the dead of winter. That's kind of weird, if you ask me. But in this current computer age where social media has replaced human contact, some people clearly long to reconnect to what they see as a better time.
So the cash customers draped their arms around each other and reveled in the shared experience. It was like some primordial ritual. They didn't really need to see football players out there on the field. A fire at the 50-yard line would have been just as good. It was all very ... tribal.
People actually spoke instead of tweeting.
"The atmosphere was great," Toby Gerhart said. "It wasn't ideal weather, but the fans were crazy. They were yelling."
And that was the real bottom line. The fans also got to see a bunch of vintage footage of former Vikings greats playing in the snow and looking very tough and underpaid. In addition, many of the recently anointed top 50 Vikings of all time were on hand to lend an air of legitimacy to the outdoor event. It's unfortunate they had to witness such a lousy effort by the home team, though.
In addition to the Vikings' lack of talent, they were banged up against the Bears. Favre didn't last long. The brittle Jackson was ruled out by midweek. Thank you, Brad Childress, for that quarterback legacy. Third-stringer Joe Webb is green as grass. Adrian Peterson was out with an injury. So was Steve Hutchinson. Even without all that, they would have lost, although perhaps by a less lopsided score.
On the field, there were a couple of key differences from playing in the Metrodome. Most notably, when players fell to the ground, they slid a very long way. Most often they didn't stop until they crashed into something, usually a snow bank or a fellow player. The other noticeable difference was that players tended to get hurt when they banged their heads on the frozen turf. Favre went out with a head injury. So did Madieu Williams.
Anyway, with the score out of hand, many left early. But I think most of them had a good time. The temperatures weren't too bad: 23 degrees at kickoff with a wind-chill factor of 9. Twenty years from now, however, they'll tell stories about how they sat at TCF Bank Stadium during a great storm that dropped two feet of snow and that saw wind-chills drop to 30 below.
They'll talk about how they took their shirts off and waved them over their heads and screamed for their purple heroes. They'll tell of winding up with frostbite and numb fingers and blurred vision from the whipping winds.
And that's the way they liked it.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.