I finally put storage wax on my skis, which means it’s time for mini-camps to begin in the NFL.
Recently at the Seder-Skier we were made aware of a certain publication which not only made game-by-game predictions for the Minnesota Vikings upcoming season, but actually walked through how the game would unfold. This idea of make-believe realism is so … us, that we decided we needed to provide our own version.
Of course, we go WAYYYY in depth. As such, we will release one week at a time. This will have the effect, really, of you being able to experience and live out the Viking’s season twice. Once in a make believe, Shovel Lake-esque realm, and then for real. We will do our best to not break your heart twice. Or once…and have them break it again, for real.
Week 1 – 9/13 – vs. Packers – 11:00 AM
This game will absolutely set the tone for the rest of the season. It is in one sense a nightmare match-up in that we are starting the season against a potential superbowl contender and certainly key conference and division opponent. However, we get them at home, and notching a head start on the Pack could be critical.
That being said, when I peer into the crystal ball, I feel a since of optimism coming from the purple as we emerge from the darkness of CoVid-19. Our opening drive includes slicing and dicing up the field – a couple of 12-15 yard strikes to Adam Theilen, a 7 yard first down on 3rd and 5 to the rookie Jefferson, who stands up and gives the token ref/first down arm motion after the play. A holding (Paul Allen: no) on 2 and goal from the 3 pushes us back to the 15, and we settle for a field goal, which makes us nervous nellie Norwegians uptight the rest of the half.
Wondering how the game ends?
Check out the Monday FishWrap SooLine Trail Edition:
Cousins holds Court
Cousins has the cure for the Vikings in first game back after Covid-19
Detroit Lakes Headline: “CoVid-19 – ‘Theilen leads Vikings in home opener‘”
After an unconventional off-season which saw the 86-million dollar man doing pocket passing drills alone on an Orlando, Florida tennis court, launching balls into wooden statue targets created by his father, who lives next door, many Vikings fans were nervous about leadership under center going into 2020; some even were pining for Todd Bouman to return. Two missed targets on the opening drive in the season opener at TCF Bank in Minneapolis, MN, instigated small “Nate Stanley” chants from impatient upper deck rubes, but Cousins kept his composure and ultimately led the Minnesota Moving Company to wrack up 33 points on the helpless Green Bay Packers.
In a much anticipated game – for many reasons, only one of which was the return to action after a global pandemic (though Coach Mike Zimmer found wearing a mask to aid in shielding play calls) – rookie Jordan Jefferson shined early, but the real star in his debut was cornerback Jeff Gladney, who shut down some random Packer’s wide receiver for 3 quarters before a timely interception early in the 4th, haulting any misplaced sense of hope in an Aaron Rodger’s rally.
“Just worked hard and made sure I took one play at a time,” said Gladney.
The bright lights weren’t too bright at TCF Bank stadium, which was missing a notable iconic piece of furniture – the Skol Horn used to begin games was looted just seconds before kick-off.
The Vikes, however, didn’t need any help getting the momentum going early. A Gary Anderson field goal made it 3-0 early. After Rodgers was seen getting into a scuffle with his coach, who ‘accidentally’ nearly sent rookie draft pick Jordan Love to midfield for the coin toss. The awkward event lingered on the green and gold sideline and caused many uncharacteristic blunders. While pundents figured the Vikings revamped and reshaped defensive group would be sitting ducks for the veteran and 2-time MVP, it was the opposite. Rodgers went 3-10 in the first half for 34 yards and 1 interception. Luckily, Aaron Jones, whom the Packers are also mysteriously looking to replace after an absolutely MVP-caliber 2019 campaign, kept the cheese in the mix, running for 78 yards on 7 carries and 2 first half TD’s.
After Anderson’s field goal and a 3-and-out by the Packers, Cousins orchestrated another textbook drive, complimented by a couple effective screen passes to Dalvin Cook, which set up a Kyle Rudolph 8-yard TD to close the first quarter. Up 10-0, the Packers went back to Jones, who led them down the field to make it 10-7. A Cousin’s fumble on the second play (and subsequent “Stanley” chants) of the next drive set up an easy Jones’ TD, and with it 14-7, Wisconsinites were seen across social media platforms clearly breaking social distancing regulations as they cracked open a statewide “‘nother round of Bud lights.”
Cousins, however, came to save the day, and, as if he had been taught by Billie Jean King herself on those coursts in Orlando, found his spots with incredible precision. A 34-yard strike to Theilen, 22-yards to Irv Smith, and a critical 13-yard first down shot to Jefferson after a Cook hold led to another Rudolph touchdown.
A pouting Rodgers decreed two consecutive three and outs, which the Vikings used to capitalize with another couple of Blair Walsh field goals, sending the Vikings and Coach Grant into the half with a 20-14 lead.
In the locker room, Zimmer was heard saying, “We are playing great. Really well. Let’s just stay doing the things we are doing,” which was evidently enough inspiration to keep the team in the correct mindset for battle. Meanwhile, in the other dungeon, Donald Trump somehow snuck into the Packer locker room and gave them a speech which will be cherished for decades.
“The Vikings are the greatest team in the world. They are the best team, a very good team. Any other team? Awful. You guys are a team, for now, but you’re going out of business and nobody is cheering for you.” With that, Trump, who was accompanied by a MAGA mask wearing Tom Brady, left the visitor locker room. We didn’t hear much more at the halftime report, other than Rodgers apparently tried to pick up his comrades by saying something along the lines of, “Well, it’s not my team anymore anyway,” then, walked by Love and did the thing that Moe used to do with his two fingers to Larry in the three stooges, where he jabs his eyes. Aaron Jones followed his leader by giving a wet willy to the QB who must be feeling great about his lot in life at this point.
The Vikings would come out slaying in the second half. Unheralded draft pick Dan Chisena, a late round rookie out of Penn State, did his best Thielen impression by blocking a Packer punt and returning it to the one, which set up a Dalvin Cook dive to pay-dirt. I weak attempt at sports brought the Pack down the field for 7 plays and 34 yards before Rodgers fumbled a snap, which he of course blamed on his center. That set up a huge strike from Cousins to Smith Jr. for 53 yards before ultimately Theilen would hit Jefferson on a trick play pass for a TD. With the score 33-10, Waconia native Aaron Elling did his best but came up short on an extra point. Favre then through a late interception to Gladney, who promptly gave the ball to a child in the stands.
Key stat leaders:
Cousins: 24-29, 309 yards, 2TD’s, 1 fumble
Cook: 21 carries for 101 yards, 1 TD
Thielen – 8 catches for 103 yards
Smith Jr, – 5 catches for 88 yards
Jefferson – 4 catches for 45 yards, 1 TD
Rudoloph – 3 catches, 21 yards, 2 TD’s
Hunter – 2 sacks
Moe Williams – 2 carries for 3 yards
Ontarrio Smith – DNP
Rodgers – awful
Love – would have called “tails.”
Brady – 44-51, 432 yards, 6 TD’s in debut.