Some out there in Vikingland are actually rooting for the Purple to lay down and die tonight against the Packers, for the sake of draft position. But those of us who still have a shred of human life in our souls – and realize that fandom has nothing to do with such cold logic – only care about one thing: watching the Vikings shove it as far up the Packers’ behinds as they possibly can.
Who cares if the season is already lost? Who cares if the Vikings would be better off tanking for a higher draft pick? When the Vikings play the Packers, big picture goes out the window. It doesn’t matter if both teams are good or if both teams stink. It only matters that our guys are suiting up against the team we hate the most and their hideous fans.
Look at the Vegas line – Packers minus 9 at last check – and you realize how little chance the Vikings have in the eyes of the wider world. But screw that. Of course the Vikings have a chance to win this game, a pretty good chance as a matter of fact. As long as that guy with #28 on his back is suiting up? The Vikings have a chance.
I don’t need to remind you what Adrian Peterson did to the Packers in 2012. Two regular season games, 409 yards. No B.J. Raji, you don’t get to wag your finger. You know where you can stick that finger.
409 yards in two games is almost impossible to comprehend. I watched every handoff and I still don’t believe it happened. But it did happen, and it can happen again. Adrian may be dinged up this season and the offensive line may not be as strong as it was last year, but like I said, throw all that stuff out the window when it’s the Packers.
You look at the Packers’ stats against the run this year and say to yourself, “This isn’t the same Packer defense Adrian Peterson tore up last year. They’ve gotten better up front with Johnny Jolly back in the fold, and in run support with Charles Woodson no longer dragging his carcass around the field. And A.J. Hawk looks like a different player this year, not just because he cut his hair either.”
All perfectly valid observations. But again I say, the heck with all that stuff. On paper the Packers should be able to contain Peterson, but shred that paper, in fact shred the whole book. The book said Adrian wasn’t supposed to be able to play the way he played so soon after major knee surgery. Do I need to remind you how many yards Adrian piled up last year?
I know his hamstring is sore and I know his blocking hasn’t been the same and I know the Packers have shored up their run defense. But I also know that in any given game Adrian Peterson can drop an epic performance on anyone. It’s irrelevant whether Christian Ponder is a mediocre QB, whether the defense is in disarray, whether the other team has maybe the best quarterback in the NFL.
When you have Adrian Peterson on your side, you have a potential logic-defying factor working in your favor. You have a field-tipping factor. It doesn’t matter how Peterson has performed up till this point. It doesn’t matter that he was stuffed on Monday night by the Giants. Have we learned nothing from all our years of watching Adrian Peterson?
Adrian can do it. He will be fired up to lay a whupping on the Packers in front of the home crowd and coming off one of the most embarrassing two-game stretches in team history. He will be fired up because now he has some doubters. He is hearing whispers that he could be headed downhill. He is hearing whispers that he is overpaid and overrated and the Vikings would be better off trading him.
Not that Peterson needs any extra motivation beyond the desire to bring the pain on Sundays, but that kind of stuff doesn’t set well with the MVP. So don’t be surprised if he goes out there and lays 2 Benjamins on the Packers. And if that happens, the Vikings absolutely can beat the Packers, bad defense and lame quarterback be damned.
And if the Vikings do win and some of you nerds whine about draft position? Well you know where you can stick that too.