I am doing my best to not get too excited about the Vikings this season. Their 10-1 start is better than I expected, and it's been fun to watch even with a certain No. 4 at quarterback (strange, but as the season has gone on he's looking more natural in the Purple).
But optimism and Vikings fans have had a rocky relationship. That's because the Vikings have a history of disappointing us. For me it started with the Vikings' fourth Super Bowl loss. Honestly, I don't remember much about Super Bowl XI, but I do know I watched the 33-14 loss to the Raiders.
That feeling of disappointment has never left me when it comes to watching Vikings games. And for good reason. No team has lost more playoff games than the Vikings. But it's not just the losses -- it's the way they've lost.
There was the Darrin Nelson Drop in the 1987 NFC Championship game. Then there was the 1994 playoff loss to the Giants in which the Vikings blew a 10-3 halftime lead while their quarterback tandem of Jim McMahon and Sean Salisbury (egad!) was knocked silly.
But that was nothing compared with the 1998 NFC Championship game, which unfairly is blamed on Gary Anderson. Sure he missed the field goal that would have given the Vikings a 10-point lead over the Falcons, all but clinching a trip to the Super Bowl. But it was the defense that let the Falcons march down the field in the closing seconds of regulation and tie the game before winning in overtime. It still hurts.
And who could forget the 2001 NFC Championship game? Apparently the Vikings did. They forgot to even show up in an embarrassing 41-0 loss to the Giants. Ugh.
So forgive me if I don't want to be too excited for this year's team. I feel like I'm just waiting for the inevitable crash. I know I'm not alone, either. I think deep down all long-time Vikings fans are holding their breath.
Yet, here I am writing this wearing a Vikings hoodie over a Vikings T-shirt. My Vikings hat sits next to me, waiting patiently to be put on my head when the game starts in two hours. When it gets closer to game time, I'll don my Adrian Peterson jersey. The Vikings flag has been flying in front of the Minnesota Embassy since 10 this morning, a good nine hours prior to kickoff.
I do this because ... well, I guess because I'm crazy. I somehow manage to hold onto some tiny bit of optimism despite all the disappointment. So screw the past! I'm going to enjoy the season and stop worrying about what might happen down the road. Skol Vikings!!!!!
(And, yes, I realize my blatant optimism has just doomed the Vikings.)