With the future of the Vikings franchise in doubt, it may be time to start considering the idea that the 2012 season will be the last season of Vikings football in the state of Minnesota. If you logged on to NFL.com at 6 pm CT on Tuesday night to get a glimpse of the 2012 Vikings schedule, I applaud your dedication. If you then proceeded to watch 3 hours of NFL schedule coverage on ESPN, that’s fucking pathetic. Almost as pathetic as a Bob Costas monologue.
I caught a few moments of ESPN’s coverage during commercials for the NHL playoffs and Twins game. At one point, I saw Ron Jaworski breaking down the top 15 quarterback match-ups of 2012. On a side note, the best part about Monday Night Football the past few seasons was when Gruden would piss off Jaws. There was nothing better than an intense Gruden getting Jaws fired up. But since the two apparently cannot co-exist together in the booth, Jaws is relegated to breaking down the top 15 quarterback match-ups in 2012. Who fucking cares? Honestly, anyone who is tuned into ESPN’s schedule coverage is already a moron. Anyone who needs Jaws to tell them that when the Steelers play the Giants, Ben Roethlisberger faces off against Eli Manning, probably shouldn’t be watching the schedule release show in the first place. Jaws’ analysis goes something like this:
“And my number three quarterback match-up is Big Ben Roethlisberger against Eli Manning. You know what I love about this match-up? They both have jewelry. And what I mean by that is they both have Super Bowl rings, multiple Super Bowl rings at that. These quarterbacks just know how to win. Big Ben is as tough as they come. And Eli Manning always seems to rise to the occasion on the big stage. This should be a classic match-up of outstanding quarterbacks.”
Really? Thanks Ron. The only thing that could have made it worse would have been if Costas provided that insight. I get it though. Everyone loves the NFL. Except for people in Minnesota. Most people in Minnesota would rather let their professional football team leave. But all other 49 states care about the NFL. A lot. And ESPN probably got a few people to tune into their coverage. I’m not going to lie, I looked over the Vikings schedule a few times over the last 48 hours. I get excited for it. But not for 3 hours of coverage on ESPN with all of those idiots (Trent Dilfer being the worst). Besides, my analysis of the Vikings schedule is far better than anything the talking heads on ESPN could put together.
Week 1- vs. Jacksonville: The Vikings open the season at home for the first time since 2007 against Blaine Gabbert and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Remember Mr. Gabbert? He was the hot girl we really wanted to ask to prom in this post here. I think Ponder is going to make us forget all about the hot girl in this game, and make us thankful we brought him to the dance. I like the Vikings starting off the season 1-0 with a victory.
Week 2- @ Indianapolis: The Vikings will likely get an early season look at Andrew Luck in week 2. Probably better to get a look at the kid early in the year while he is still learning. The Colts suck. I mean, if you thought the Vikings sucked last year, the Colts sucked more. It’s a battle of two teams in re-building mode. I think our overall talent is better. Vikes get a road win in week 2. And yes, start the season 2-0.
Week 3- vs. San Francisco: The last time the 69ers came to the Metrodome was in 2009. And this happened. Look out Greg Coleman!! Kind of hard to predict another game like that. But this will be a tough match-up for the Purple. San Francisco has an unreal defense that could make Ponder’s head spin. And even though they still have Alex Smith (who had a career year last year that he will not duplicate), they do have the Superfreak on their side. Yes, Randy Moss makes his first trip to the Metrodome as an opponent in the regular season. 49ers are too tough and have the potential to make another deep playoff run. The Vikings will suffer their first loss of the year here and drop to 2-1.
Week 4- @ Detroit: Last season in Detroit, Joe Webb led a furious comeback and almost pulled a win out of his ass. Were it not for a missed facemask at the end of the game, the Vikings very well may have won that game at Ford Field. I don’t think this is a home game for the Vikings. But they did play a home game at Ford Field in the 2010 season. So we’ll have to wait and see which logo is at the 50 yard line at kickoff. Megatron is a freak. And as much as I love the Chris Cook acquittal (innocent until proven guilty!!!), I don’t think he can stay with Megatron the whole game (see last season at the Metrodome). Lions win here. Vikings fall to 2-2 (here comes the putter throw…).
Week 5- vs. Tennessee: Pretty mediocre match-up here. If the Vikings are any worse than 2-2 and show signs of struggling at the beginning of the 2012 season, we may need to put the TV blackout watch on for this game. Since I think they will be 2-2 and have a very winnable game at home, we should be safe to watch it on TV here locally. Again, boring match-up. But since it’s at home, I’ll give the edge to the Purple. Vikes move back above .500 to 3-2.
Week 6- @ Washington: As head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, Leslie Frazier has a record of 6-16. 2 of those 6 victories have come at FedEx Field in our Nation’s Capitol, including his first win as head coach during the 2010 season. It must be something those guys put in the water. Every year it seems to get better and better for Coach Frazier in DC. In addition, the Vikings will likely get a chance to try and stop Are Gee Three, the likely second overall pick in the upcoming draft. I know it’s an outdoor road game, but Leslie knows how to win there. I am taking the Purple to add another one to the win column. 4-2 (wait…he’s restrained himself!).
Week 7- vs. Arizona: The Vikings were 3-13 last year. But one of their three wins was a 34-10 drubbing of the Arizona Cardinals in week 5 at the Metrodome. The Cardinals suck. They have Fitz, but no one to throw him the football. The Vikings ride the momentum of a fast start at home and move to 5-2.
Week 8- vs. Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay: The Vikings will play 13 of 16 games at Noon CT during the 2012 season, 2 of 16 games in the late game window on Sunday afternoon, and 1 game in prime-time, the game in week 8 at home against Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay. It’s a Thursday night game at 7:20 local time. The NFL wanted every team to play at least one prime-time game. So here is a big stage for the Vikings. Unfortunately, the Vikings have to be one of the worst prime-time teams in the history of the NFL. While most of their failures tend to come on the road in prime-time, Tampa Bay under-achieved last year. And added Vincent Jackson and Carl Nicks to Josh Freeman’s offense. Tampa is a better team than the Vikings and I am not sure the Purple is ready to beat a bunch of teams that are legitimately better than them. Another loss in prime-time. 5-3 at the midway point of the season.
Week 9- @ Seattle: Unfortunately for the Vikings, it probably won’t be Tarvaris Jackson running the offensive show for Seattle this week. The Seahawks picked up Matt Flynn, the former Packer, who presumably will be their starter (it would be a big slap in the face to Matt Flynn if he gets beat out by T-Jack). I just have a bad feeling about this one. Road game at 3:05 pm CT. Seattle has a sneaky good defense. Two game losing streak for the Vikings. 5-4.
Week 10- vs. Detroit: The Vikings begin a stretch this week in which they play 5 of their final 7 games against division opponents. The NFC North is perhaps the toughest division in football. However, the Vikes played Detroit tough twice last year, should have won the first meeting at the dome, and could have stolen the second meeting. I like the Purple in this one. They are not going to get shut out in division play two years in a row. It is a big game in the middle of the season if the team really has a shot at the post-season. They stay above .500 and move to 6-4.Week 11: Bye (not sure what the fuck I am going to do this weekend…just track fantasy football all day I suppose…) Week 12- @ Chicago: The Vikings never win in Chicago. Even if the Bears didn’t have Brandon Marshall and his bi-polar personality, I think the Vikings lose. But since Cutler and Marshall are now re-united, it makes the Bears that much tougher. They always have a good defense. And while their fans are the biggest d-bags in all of sports, I will give the nod to the Bears in the Windy City. 6-5. Week 13- @ Green Bay: I played golf in Las Vegas last week. The starter on the first tee was from Wisconsin. When I told him I was from Minnesota, he naturally defaulted to saying he hates the Vikings. I am used to it. There is nothing to do in Wisconsin. It is probably the saddest state in America. So I feel a little bit bad for him that he has to resort to that with his first comment to me. Nothing else to talk about. That’s fine. He also proceeded to say that he hates Brett Favre. I think it’s funny that Packer fans hate Favre now. Green Bay told him not to come back. So he went somewhere else. And yes, he picked the Vikings so he could get back at Ted Thompson and the Packers. But, Favre also brought the Packers back to relevance in the early ’90′s. From 1970-1991, the Packers won more than 8 games in a season only twice (1972 & 1989). Enter Favre in 1992, and the Packers would go on to win more than 8 games in 13 of Favre’s 16 seasons with the team, including a Super Bowl Championship and 7 division titles. Favre turned the Packer franchise around and is a football legend (I felt that way before 2009). So don’t pretend like you hate Favre, Packer nation. Aaron Rodgers in the best quarterback in the NFL and the Vikings will not stop him at Lambeau. Vikings fall back to 6-6 and .500 on the year. Week 14- vs. Chicago: Second time in 3 weeks the Vikings play the Bears, which is a little odd. And with the Bears fighting for the division at this point in the season, I think they will be a little too much for the Vikings (wow, is the Twins pitching bad…just watched Granderson go yard for the third time tonight). Anyways, too much Cutler, Forte, and Marshall. Vikings go on a 3 game losing streak and and their playoff chances slowly slip out of their hands. 6-7 (ok, now we can throw the putter). Week 15- @ St. Louis: I do think Sam Bradford will have a much better season this year after his Sophomore slump last year. For whatever reason, I have a feeling both the Vikings and the Rams will be hanging on by a string in the Wild Card race in this game, so both teams will be needing a win. I am going to be a homer here (which is rare) and convince myself the Vikings will keep the season interesting. The Purple will end their 3-game losing streak and battle back to .500 and 7-7.
Week 16- @ Houston: The Vikings play their fourth road game in five weeks when they visit Houston (the last 6 games for the Vikings are absolutely brutal!). Houston has to be a favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl this year. They have a vastly improved defense, and hopefully will have Matt Schaub back for this season. A healthy Andre Johnson and Arian Foster gives the Texans one of the most explosive offenses in the league too. A far superior team to the Vikings. No upset here to save the season. The Vikings fall to 7-8 and unfortunately will probably fall out of the Wild Card race for good this week.
Week 17- vs. Green Bay: Again, why did the NFL make us play Green Bay and Chicago 4 times in the last 6 weeks? That sucks man. If I really analyze this game, there is potential for the Vikings to win their last game ever in the Metrodome and last game ever as the Minnesota Vikings. If you think about it, the Packers should already have the division wrapped up and their playoff fate set. Maybe they will be playing for a bye in the first round or home field advantage. Point is, if the Packers rest some players (and no, they won’t have Matt Flynn as Rodgers back-up like they did in Week 17 last year…), the Vikings might be able to steal this one and finish the Dome off with a victory and an 8-8 season. But, if the Packers employ a full army for the game, the Metrodome will be closed out with a loss. Let’s just assume the latter is going to happen.
So there it is. 7-9 for the Purple this year. If they don’t get off to a fast start based on how much easier the beginning part of the season is compared to the latter portion, the season could get really ugly, really fast. However, I wouldn’t mind getting to a point this season when Jaws features Christian Ponder in one of his top QB match-ups.