The Vikings Fan: An Oddly Optimistic, Ornery Bunch Broken Down Into 5 Categories

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings fan is, in a word, peculiar.

Some are relentlessly optimistic, refusing to allow the years of letdown to influence their belief that this year will be different. They cry poppycock whenever someone speaks ill of the team. Others exist on the other extreme, embracing defeat before any competition even begins. They say bah humbug at the mere thought of Super Bowl contention.

And, of course, there is all kinds of nuance in between. To keep things orderly, I’ll be offering up 5 categories for the most common Vikings fan you’ll find. Chances are you’ll see a bit of yourself in the options. There’s an even greater chance you’ll see some of your friends, family, neighbors, and sworn enemies in the mix (assuming you know other Vikings fans).

Let me know on Twitter @VikingsGazette what kind of Vikings fan you are and/or if you’ve got another category to add to the pile.

Option #1 – The Time is Nigh Prophet

When these fans look toward the horizon, they see doom and gloom approaching. Major change (and pain) is forthcoming. Repent while you still have time, perhaps by putting all your eggs in the hockey basket.

Forget the 13-4 record: Kevin O’Connell’s seat is already getting warm. The young coach will soon be looking elsewhere for his next coaching gig.

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Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell looks on before a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah? His initial draft class didn’t perform in Year 1, clear evidence the young executive is in over his head.

Soon, the team’s best players will force their way out via trade or simply stroll away in free agency.

Just you wait. Disaster approaches. The team will be back to square one and will have nothing to show for their toil and struggle. It has all been foretold.

Option #2 – The Naive Dreamer

No matter how bad things get, these Vikings fans find a way of seeing a glass that’s half full (even when there’s no water in the glass).

Kirk Cousins inexplicably throws short of the sticks with the season on the line? He tried his best! Anyone would dump the ball off if they were under duress from the formidable pair in the middle of New York’s defensive line. He’ll rebound and put together his best ever season in 2023 as he ages like fine wine.

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Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) celebrates the win after the game against the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, Ed Donatell faced a few obstacles, but Brian Flores is going to have the secret magic to get the defense on the right track. The young guns are going to flourish with Flores.

Oh, and the kicker? Give the kid a chance. Greg Joseph is going to be just fine. All that kicking curse stuff is nonsense.

Option #3 – The Here-We-Go-Again Pessimist

Worn down by years of pain and suffering (across multiple sports), the Here-We-Go-Again Pessimists know what it’s like to be let down.

Somewhere, one of them is cracking a joke about how he wants the Vikings to be his pallbearers so the team can let him down just one more time. Another quips that leaving at halftime in an NFC Championship Game at least allows you to beat the traffic.

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Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings place kicker Greg Joseph. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Every field goal is reason to get the heart rate up. A Hail Mary pass at the end of the game? Don’t even get this fan started. And, of course, the dreaded come-from-behind 2-minute drill. Scary stuff.

If there’s a way to suffer a crushing defeat, the Vikings will find it. Like a hound on the trail of another animal, Minnesota sniffs out new ways fall flat on their face. The fan can feel it coming.

Option #4 – The Good Ol’ Days Purple People Eater

Fran Tarkenton. Carl Eller. Mick Tingelhoff. Alan Page. Jim Marshall. And, of course, Bud Grant.

The golden era of Vikings fandom cannot be replicated. Not now, maybe not ever. The Good Ol’ Days Fan participates in what Tony Soprano refers to as the lowest form of conversation: “Remember when…”

Aug 22, 2019; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; A tatue of Bud Grant is seen outside of Investors Group Field before a game between the Green Bay Packers and the Oakland Raiders. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Were the Purple People Eaters dominant? No doubt. Is Bud Grant the best ever Vikings coach? There’s really no debate. Truly, this era of Vikings football was the best in franchise history. Randy Moss, John Randle, and friends did do some special things, but they don’t come close to the ’70s.

These fans work through the decades of disappointment by hearkening back to a day when things didn’t appear so bleak.

Option #5 – The Sweet Summer Child

Not altogether unlike The Naive Dreamer, The Sweet Summer Child clings to optimism like a life raft while adrift in the NFL’s stormy waters.

Nov 21, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) and wide receiver Adam Thielen. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

However, this fan has just recently joined the purple masses. In all likelihood, the fan saw Justin Jefferson’s griddy and decided that a life supporting the Purple & Gold – remember: sports fandom is a death-do-you-part marriage – was the right choice. Some even insist that getting to 13 wins isn’t all that difficult.

Collectively, the rest of Minnesota’s fans pity this poor soul.

So young, so stupid.

Credit where it’s due: Sean McIndoe from The Athletic helped inspire the piece with his breakdown of the different types of Maple Leafs fan heading into the NHL playoffs. Give it a read if you’re looking for a chuckle. There’s even a Vikings reference tossed into the mix!