Lost in all of the recent Super Bowl hubbub by most of the NFL/Vikings media was an article by Dan Graziano of ESPN (Something that I became aware of thanks to an article on TheVikingAge.com by friend of purplePTSD.com Adam Patrick) that made use of a crystal ball that ESPN apparently has under lock and key in Connecticut. The ball decided to barter with dark forces to shed light on ten different truths from the upcoming season now that the 2016/17 season is officially in the books. These truths, as I’m calling them out of more desperation for the first appearance in the Super Bowl in my lifetime than a lazy attempt at humor, are actually pretty interesting (As far as random speculation goes), so I’d definitely recommend that you all give it a read when you’re done reading the 5,000th different take on why/how Atlanta just surpassed 9/11 in the annals of bad things that can happen to a city. I know that that “joke” sounds harsh, but it’s hardly hyperbolic. Like I stated in my article this morning about how we as Vikings fans can understand the Falcons pain like few others, the amount of pilling on that writers seem to be doing on and about Atlanta is nearly as unprecedented as the comeback loss that created it.
But, back to the prediction. While it is always nice to hear the words “Vikings” and “Super Bowl” in any article that doesn’t come out of this website, I do feel like that because of the fact that the prediction was the tenth of ten and also the fact that it was more about where the Super Bowl is being played than by who, means that it’s more of a matter of convenience than tangible thought or belief in the team itself. As in, if Super Bowl 53 was going to be played in Miami, I doubt that the Vikings would be mentioned as anything but spectators. But, as the Falcons now know, beggars can’t be choosers, so, let’s look at what Mr. Graziano/The crystal ball said…
10. The Minnesota Vikings become the first team to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium
Their opponent is the Indianapolis Colts, who win a 41-38 thriller after Andrew Luck throws a go-ahead touchdown with 1:45 left and Sam Bradford checks it down to a running back with time expiring at the Colts’ 15-yard line. Two months later, Bradford signs with the Texans. Circle of life.
The Colts? Wow. Going out on a ledge and selecting two 8-8 teams? This isn’t the first time that I’ve heard that the Colts may be the bounce back team of next season and I truly don’t know enough about the AFC to make any concrete statements, outside of that I know that Andrew Luck clearly is one of the best young quarterbacks in the league (2015 notwithstanding) and that the Colts have been a trendy pick to “Take off” about three seasons in a row now mostly because of that (And their GM’s fondness for fading stars). Nothing would make me happier than avoiding playing the Patriots in the Super Bowl, so definitely sign me up and give me the match-up that the Vikings should’ve had and would’ve won back in 2009 had the Saints not cheated/guilted their way into that game.
This prediction doesn’t stop at the opponent, though, as it also goes into the final score (The Vikings losing, what a surprise) and also what becomes of Bradford’s career as a Viking. Again, this was the last pick of the ten predictions and was written Sunday night, so I’m thinking that perhaps Graziano had a few too many Brandy Alexander’s during the game, because you’d have to be drunk to think that the Vikings/Bradford would EVER check down to a running back. He’d check down to a wide receiver.
But, this article does say that it’d be Bradford playing in the Super Bowl, someone Tweet Jason Cole! But, the final score of 41-38 and the way that it happens does sound a little too much like a realistic Vikings scenario for my liking, and honestly it made me super anxious for some reason (I’m not exaggerating) as the Vikings, as you all know, are one loss away from being the only 0-5 team in Super Bowl/NFL history. So, while this is all just conjecture I’m going to pretend like it isn’t and point out a few flaws or things that I think Graziano missed.
First. Yes, this would be the first time an NFL team ended up playing in front of it’s home crowd in Super Bowl history. That means something. The game typically is meant to be played in front of a neutral crowd, and the fact that the Vikings would have a huge majority of people that are their fans in the crowd would mean that their home-field advantage would be amazing and mostly unprecedented when it comes to SB history. While US Bank Stadium hasn’t really proven to be the advantage that the Metrodome was, especially when it comes to noise, it’s hard to argue that Vikings fans create pretty inhospitable environments for opposing teams. Add the gasoline that is the Super Bowl to that fire and just imagine Andrew Luck and company trying to communicate on the field, in a stadium that has a ceiling made of sound reflective glass and a crowd made of alcohol ingesting humans. That advantage would mean that the Colts offense would have a hard time getting set and that the Vikings defensive line, especially would have a huge advantage.
That’s the second part of my gripe. I really don’t see the Vikings defense, one that still finished as a top 5 (In regards to points allowed) unit this season, would allow 41 points, especially in a game of this magnitude and in front of it’s home town crowd. And while a lot of changes remain to be seen this off-season, I also would find it hard to believe that the Vikings offense would end up in a shoot-out responsible for almost 80 points. If anything, especially with the crowd noise, I could see this being a relatively low-scoring affair. Although I will say that I do believe that with the right moves at the offensive line position, this Vikings offense and especially Sam Bradford, has the potential to be one of the better units in the league.
And they’d have to be to reach the Super Bowl which makes me question the logic that Graziano used to say that somehow the Vikings would move on from Sam Bradford the off-season after he lead them to their first Super Bowl Appearance since the 70’s. So, you’re saying that he helmed the NFC Championship team, something that while disappointing, is obviously no small feat (As we as fans know all too well) and the Vikings decided to move on from him while he’s still 30-31 for a younger quarterback coming off of a catastrophic knee injury? Yeah, unless the Texans (Bradford’s new team, per the crystal ball) gave up J.J. Watt and a first rounder, no, there’s just no way…
So, while again this is all mostly thee worthless type of nonsense that the off-season brings, it’s nice to see that the Vikings are in the conversation for contenders next season (Regardless of the how and why). The window of opportunity is definitely still open for this team and it’s really gratifying to see that at least one person in the national sports media agrees (Regardless of the Brandy Alexanders). I also, obviously, believe that the Vikings have a strong chance to be the first team to play in a home Super Bowl and truly do hope that that happens as the alternative that I see being close enough to a reality (That it gives me nightmares)… Green Bay playing in a Super Bowl at US Bank Stadium! Ugh, can you imagine? I can, and it would be our Falcons/Patriots moment as a market… So, I’ll take articles like this all day.