Painted on the door of an interstate service plaza in Indiana:> No PetsNo ShirtNo ShoesNo ServiceMinnesota Vikings fans were treated to another painful, classic Vikings loss yesterday. When the best offense in the NFL (Minnesota) meets the worst defense in the NFL (Arizona), something had to give. Naturally enough, the giver was the Vikings. What did they give up? A berth in the postseason. Even as the last two minutes were winding down yesterday, and the carnage that was the Vikings' season was being ground out relentlessly by Arizona's previously punchless offense, dread infused my bones. I watched the clock ticking down towards zero, all the while hoping against hope that Tice would use the three timeouts the Vikings had in their pockets to stop the clock. After Arizona recovered the onsides kick, it became immediately obvious that the Vikes would need time to get down the field and kick a winning or tying field goal. Of course, Arizona scored a touchdown as time expired, giving them the lead, and the game, and the Vikings had no chance to salvage their season.
There is plenty of blame to go around for the Vikings collapse yesterday. However, one person deserves a larger than average share of the blame: Denard Walker. What is this stiff even doing on the team, much less on the field? He made two completely brain-dead plays in the last two minutes of the game alone. All year, his MO has been to enter the game, make a bonehead play or two, commit a penalty or two, and give up a few long passes or two until he is yanked. What is even more unfathomable is why Tice and Co. keep putting Walker in the game week after week after week.
What made that loss even more painful is that I work with scads of Green Bay Packers fans. And who should benefit, almost exclusively, from the Vikings stumble? The Green Bay Packers. My co-workers wasted no time this morning letting me know that they were fully aware of which team got into the playoffs and how that scenario came to life.
Yesterday, we had fifty degree weather (in December!), so Sarah and I took advantage of the mild weather to work outside the house for a change. It certainly didn't seem like December in Wisconsin when we were outside without jackets, hats, and gloves.