The Vikings take on the Redskins tonight at the Dome. Don’t know what it’s doing in Minneapolis but here it’s snowing like a bitch. Hope the damn power stays on.
Anyway, it’s a huge game for the Vikes – biggest they’ve played since the playoff game in Lambeau a couple years ago. They clinch a post-season berth with a win and a Saints loss. A playoff berth. Amazing really, especially considering how down this team looked after the 34-0 debacle against Green Bay. Man, that seems like a hundred years ago now: that disastrous loss, and all the talk of Chilly being fired, and the apparent dissension in the ranks. And of course just before that you had the Troy Williamson Grandmagate kerfuffle which Dwight Smith says brought the team together. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing for a team to rally around their mutual hatred of the coach, but whatever gets the job done…
Of course Chilly is a genius now – I was going to start calling him Chilichek but thought that might be too cute or its own good. What this proves of course is that a coach’s fortunes rise or fall with his quarterback. When Tarvaris plays well, Chilly’s offense looks kick-ass; when he doesn’t, it looks like it did against the Bears on Monday night. Tarvaris needs to play nothing less than the best game of his life tonight against Washington. This isn’t the Bears – we won’t be able to survive another turnover-laden performance. And frankly the offensive line has to get it back together tonight as well. For a few weeks they looked like monsters, but against the Bears they seemed only average, particularly Matt Birk who got driven into the backfield on several notable occasions by a Bears defensive tackle whose name now escapes me. I have confidence that the line will play well tonight and that Adrian and Chester will get their yards. And I also have confidence that the defense will continue to play well. I want to have confidence that Tarvaris will get back to where he was a few weeks ago when he looked like a genuine NFL QB, but unfortunately I just don’t. That’s why I have a sinking feeling about this game and our playoff prospects in general. My gut tells me that, come the first round of the post-season, the Vikings will not be around.
So, my official prediction for tonight is Washington 21, Vikings 17. Sorry, but I don’t think anything is ever going to come easy for this team. They’ve had their destiny in their own hands for several weeks now, and it was just too good to be true. They’re going to have go into Denver and win that game and sweat out what the Redskins and Saints do next week as well. It’s our lot to endure that excruciating tension. Of course, I suppose we could all ask Santa to let the Vikes win today and have the Saints lose, allowing us to enjoy a nice long celebration before the first-round match-up (and allowing the team to rest everybody against Denver). Maybe Santa will even grant our wish. Or, maybe there are more Redskins or Saints fans who believe in Santa than there are Viking fans. Or perhaps Santa is a sadist who will dangle it there in front of us, then rip it the last week with some kind of Nathan Poole moment.
Always suspected that jolly fat man was really a bastard.