The final gun sounded at the Metrodome last weekend in a Vikings win over Green Bay … and Vegas was already posting odds for Green Bay to win this week’s wild-card matchup by a big margin. Even the San Francisco 49ers are game-planning to face Green Bay next week after they beat the Vikings today. That’s pretty much the definition of “we don’t get no respect”.
The Daily Norseman‘s Christopher Gates explains why this isn’t a problem:
So, once again the Minnesota Vikings find themselves in the playoffs, and they don’t have a lot of people supporting their cause. Oh, there’s no way they can beat the Packers at Lambeau Field … ignoring the fact that there wasn’t supposed to be any way for the Vikings to beat the Packers last week because of how super duper awesome the Packers are in domes and such. The Packers are just too talented … the Packers are just too good … the Packers have Aaron Rodgers … I’m sure you’ve heard all of it since last Sunday night. How bad is it?
The San Francisco 49ers are already game-planning for a match-up against the Green Bay Packers next week.
Yeah. So there’s that.
The Vikings aren’t favored to win on Saturday night in Green Bay, and they shouldn’t be … don’t get me wrong on that. As it stands right now, the Packers are a better team than the Vikings are. How much better is something that we could debate for a while … and the gap is significantly smaller than it was just 12 months ago … but they should be the favorite as it stands now.
For whatever reason, the folks that cover the National Football League just don’t seem to be as impressed with the turnaround of the Minnesota Vikings as they probably should be. To hear these folks talk about the Minnesota Vikings going into this season, the “rebuilding” of this team was supposed to take anywhere between ten and thirty years, and it was going to take a significant amount of time before the Vikings caught up to not only the Packers, but to the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions in the NFC North. (Remember when the Lions were better than the Vikings? That was weird, huh?)
Yet as we sit here, just hours before the start of the 2012 NFL playoffs, the Lions are 4-12 and in the top 5 of the 2013 NFL Draft, and the Bears are looking for a new head coach after missing the post-season following a 7-1 start. But the Minnesota Vikings … a team that, just one year ago, had a franchise player coming off of knee surgery, no stadium, and (allegedly) no hope going forward … sit ready to take on the Packers in the wild card round of the playoffs. Sure, they’ve done it on the legs of Adrian Peterson … but a ton of credit has to go to a lot of younger players on this team. Guys like left tackle Matt Kalil, safety Harrison Smith, and kicker Blair Walsh have played big roles for this team in their first season, and going into this season half of the Vikings’ roster had two years of NFL experience or less. The stars on this team are playing like stars, but the role of the youth and their ability to accelerate the rebuilding process is not to be ignored.
I hope the Vikings can win again — I don’t really expect it, but the team is much better now than they were earlier in the season, so my hope isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Coming into the 2012 season, I expected a 6-10 or 7-9 with a lucky break or two. I really didn’t expect 10-6 and a playoff berth. The team has exceeded pretty much everyone’s expectations. Here’s hoping they can do it again tonight in Green Bay.