Interested in rooting for one of the NFL's 32 teams -- but don't know where to start? Adam Rank has you covered with this series, which will present a handy guide to becoming an instantly rabid fan of each organization in the league. Below, find out why you should root for the Minnesota Vikings.
What you need to know so you don't sound stupid
Here's the good news: The Vikings have played in four Super Bowls. Just a handful of teams have appeared in more. So that's great, right?
The bad news? Yeah, Minnesota lost all four games.
The Vikes do have one NFL title to their credit. They beat the Browns for the NFL title in 1969 (no, this is real life), the year before the merger in 1970. But then they lost to the Chiefs in Super Bowl IV. So you're in kind of a dubious gray area with this one. I mean, it's an NFL title. But it seems kind of hollow without the Super Bowl, you know? It would be like if Prince actually took the time to write you a fight song, but it ended up being pretty bad. Oh wait, that actually happened.
But still, it's Prince writing you a fight song, so there is a certain level of cool. It's just that you didn't quite reach the top of the mountain.
My immediate conjecture is that "SKOL" is really just Norwegian for "Dude!" The Daily Norseman kind of backs that up.
There you go. So if you choose to become a fan of the team and folks yell "skol" at you, they are giving you a greeting for something great happening, and not looking to bum a dip.
Life after A.D.
But again, Peterson is probably the greatest Viking of all time, so it will be weird. Well, until Dalvin Cook busts an 80-yard touchdown run. Then everybody is going to be like, "Adrian who? I never liked that guy anyway. He fumbled in the playoffs and wasn't actually that great." Seriously, sports fanatics break up with players like you do an ex. That's just what fans do. Look, I know it's not the same level, but I wanted the Bears to keep Alshon Jeffery. Then he moved to the Eagles, and I was like, "Dude's always hurt and scored just two touchdowns, so who needs his [behind] anyway." (I will still defend Matt Forte forever, though. As you will find out in the Chicago Bears installment of this exercise.)
In any event, let me tell you this: Cook was too good to slip into the second round of the draft. Oh, I know, off-the-field stuff. There were off-the-field concerns for Randy Moss, and he was fine. Cook will blow past Latavius Murray and that other guy to be the lead back. So enjoy him when he becomes the next Edgerrin James and Peterson's Saints career mirrors that of Earl Campbell, the New Orleans years.
Let's talk about the current quarterback, Sam Bradford, who was, well, pretty good last year. And it surprised just about everyone. He even garnered some MVP buzz for a while. The former No. 1 overall pick for St. Louis feels like he has finally found his stride for the Vikings and could be in the MVP mix again.
And of course some jerk fan (probably cheering for the Packers) will be all, "Yeah, that's great ... until he gets hurt." But Bradford's made double-digit starts in five of his seven NFL seasons, and he has started 29 games the last two years. So, relax.
This stadium is pretty sweet
The Vikings opened U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016 and will play host to the Super Bowl this season. And before you ask, no. No team has played a Super Bowl in its home stadium, though two teams came close. The Los Angeles Rams played in Super Bowl XIV at the Rose Bowl and the 49ers played in Super Bowl XIX in Palo Alto (Stanford Stadium). I know, they used to play Super Bowls in college stadiums. Oh, shoot. All four of the VikingsSuper Bowls have been played in college stadiums. Tulane (twice), Rice and the Rose Bowl. So the Vikings have never lost a Super Bowl played in an NFL stadium. Deal with it, haters!
Two of my guys, Sherbs and WWE superstar Curtis Axel (humblebrag!) have been to the new stadium. Both told me it was pretty rad. And yes, it does look like that thing the Jawa scavengers cruised around in on Tatooine. It's a sandcrawler.
Damn, missed field goals
It was actually a punchline for the famed "Little Minnesota" episode. In that, any time a Minnesotan slams his/her hand on a table and screams, "Damn!," one can only assume they are talking about the 1998 NFC Championship Game. (And if you know the episode, they mistakenly call it the 1999 NFC Championship Game. But the rule is the year always refers to the season, not the actual date of the game. So the 1998 NFC Championship Game was played in 1999.)
BTW, Marshall wears a sick Jim Marshall throwback in this episode, too. Oh [deity]damn it. Is he really wearing a Jim Marshall jersey because his name is Marshall? How did this just hit me right now? I'm so stupid.
But seriously, the 1998 Vikings team was very good. A lot of people talk about the epic Super Bowl we missed between Minnesota and Denver. Those Vikes went 15-1 and set the all-time mark for points scored in a season. Had prime Randy Moss. But the Falcons were 14-2 that season and were pretty damn good themselves. Sure, the Vikings blew a big lead. But give the Falcons credit (and leave Gary Anderson alone).
I've talked to a member of the Vikings staff about this before (and I don't remember if this was off the record or not), but he said they wouldn't have done well against the Broncos. Remember: John Randle, Randall McDaniel, Dixon Edwards, Bobby Fuller and others were injured and might not have played. So it would have been great to be in another Super Bowl. But 0-5 wouldn't have been so great.
Not enough credit
Who was the first defensive player to win the NFL MVP award? No, it wasn't Lawrence Taylor. It was the Vikings' Alan Page. The dude played in 218 consecutive games for the "Purple People Eaters" (great name) and was a pretty dominant player. And any defensive lineman who wears a number in the 80s (88 for Page) is already pretty cool. He also went on to serve as an associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. And in HIMYM, Marshall Eriksen also becomes a judge! Mind. Blown.
Only wear a Herschel Walker No. 34 jersey if you have a sense of humor -- or death wish. The Vikings basically enabled the Cowboys dynasty in the 1990s when they sent about 30 players/draft picks to Dallas for the H-Bomb. But yeah, unfortunately that bomb detonated on the Vikings' roster. Use caution if you do this. If not, go with Page's No. 88.
Closing fun fact
Here's the thing with the Vikings: It's kind of like rooting for the Lions. You basically have to choose if you look better in Honolulu Blue or purple. I look great in both, so that would be a tough choice for me.
The Vikes do seem to have a franchise QB. Dalvin Cook is going to beast. Adam Thielen is fun. I really like the defense, too. Tony Barr and Eric Kendricks were two of my favorites when they played at UCLA. The Vikings are going to be sneaky-good this season. They sort of surprised most (not me) two years ago when they won the NFC North and were kind of a hipster Super Bowl pick last year before Teddy Two Gloves got hurt. They struggled to 8-8, but I foresee another playoff run looming this year. They play in a cool stadium. And I don't mind saying that Minneapolis is one of the most underrated cities in America. Honestly, you will read so many "I never knew Minneapolis was so cool" thinkpieces coming out of this season's Super Bowl. Believe me. This isn't a bad choice.