The Vikings have been called lucky to beat New Orleans. But a legendary coach once said all wins should be appreciated.
The Vikings were three-time defending champions of the NFL/NFC Central and carrying a 6-2 record into a home game with Green Bay on Nov. 14, 1971.
John Brockington, the Packers' powerful rookie from Ohio State, had 23 carries for 149 yards. The rest of the runners added 96 yards for a total of 245 yards rushing against the Purple People Eaters and the back seven of the Vikings' legendary defense.
The Packers also completely stifled a Vikings offense that was quarterbacked by Gary Cuozzo. The home team completed five passes with a long of 14 yards, and rushed 31 times with a long of nine yards.
Final totals: First downs, Packers, 15-5; total yards, Packers, 301-87; plays, Packers, 66-45; average gain, Packers, 4.6-1.9.
Final score: Vikings, 3-0.
The Packers were second-and-goal from the 8 early in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Scott Hunter threw his eighth pass of the afternoon toward tight end Rich McGeorge in the end zone.
Cornerback Charlie West intercepted and took the ball to the 50. From there, the Vikings managed their fourth and fifth first downs and Fred Cox kicked a 25-yard field goal.
There had been grumbling among the Met Stadium patrons during the 2 hours, 10 minutes of the game. There were mild suggestions in the Twin Cities dailies that perhaps the Vikings were fortunate to win. Fans sent letters to the sports editors' mailbags to ridicule the quality of this and several other victories.
It was at this point that coach Bud Grant told us as true-Purple Minnesotans to cease and desist -- that winning wasn't easy in the National Football League, and all victories were to be appreciated.
We felt properly chastised, because when Bud spoke, we listened.
We are long past the time when a disgruntled fan was required to put pen to paper and attach a real name and address to get a critical opinion into the public forum. Now, you can be an Internet freeloader with a nonsensical pseudonym and secure space for invective-filled commentary on a newspaper website.
This is what passes for public opinion -- this and postings elsewhere in cyberspace -- and has led to the idea that Brad Childress' job is in imminent danger as Vikings coach.
Tony Kornheiser embraced the Chilly's-in-trouble theory on Monday night's telecast, even if he had no source for this other than the bleating in blogdom.
Presumably, owner Zygi Wilf would have a decision to make if Childress does not end up in the playoffs in his third season. But it's a waste of limited brain cells for blog posters to offer scenarios where our guy Chilly will follow Scott Linehan and Lane Kiffin to unemployment during the season.
Two reasons: A) Linehan was 3-13 last season in St. Louis and his team was again showing no interest in playing for him; and B) Kiffin was working for a crazy person.
In contrast: A) Childress was 8-8 last season, and his athletes showed Monday that they continue to play for him; and B) Zygi is emotional but not crazy, unless you count agreeing to give $13 million to sign a safety with a bad neck.
This has been an amazing week in Vikingsland. Monday's 30-27 victory ranked with Adrian Peterson's pair of 200-yarders as the most entertaining games of Childress' 37-game run. It required a late comeback in an extra-loud environment. The comeback was based on deep passes that made the Saints pay for a gamelong preoccupation with stopping Peterson.
Asked about Peterson being stuffed, Childress said it was probably the reason "we had some of those shots up the field and put some of those guys [Saints defenders] in a tough position." Bernard Berrian caught a 33-yard touchdown pass for a 27-27 tie. Safety Kevin Kaesviharn, Lakeville's own, chose to tackle Berrian for a 42-yard interference call rather than allow a long catch -- and that yielded the winning field goal.
This was a dramatic victory to give the Vikings a chance to take off on a run to the NFC North title. Most of the coaching blunders were made by the Saints' Sean Payton.
Take the word of a longtime Vikings follower on this, Chilly: If Bud refused to apologize for winning with 87 yards, you don't have to apologize for Monday's victory.
Patrick Reusse can be heard weekdays on AM-1500 KSTP at 6:45 and 7:45 a.m. and 4:40 p.m. firstname.lastname@example.org