Reusse: In Vikes fandom, the generation gap is huge

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 25, 2012 - 7:57 PM

The age for sincere emotional involvement with a sports team is 12. Anyone whining over the result of a game before that is a crybaby destined to grow up with few friends.

Which means, if you were 12 on Jan. 11, 1970, the last cheery moment you had about the eventual fate of the Vikings came before that afternoon's kickoff of the fourth-ever Super Bowl.

Minnesotans as a whole were never more certain of anything than that the Vikings' magnificent defense would stifle the Kansas City Chiefs and provide a pro football championship in only the third season of Bud Grant's coaching tenure.

The final was Kansas City 23, Vikings 7. A couple of months later, NFL Films released a highlight tape from the game, complete with Chiefs coach Hank Stram cackling and ridiculing the Vikings throughout his team's decisive upset.

It was a wound that never healed for Vikings fans that were at least 12 that day, and are now 54, older, or dead.

All of these are my people when it comes to the Vikings. We never had a truly optimistic thought about the Purple since taking in the gloomy events that occurred on that Sunday at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.

We have spent more than four decades following the Vikings with cynicism and humor, which are basically the same thing.

You rarely will hear a member of the longest living generation of Vikings fans say, "This is going to be the year." Nor are you likely to hear them say, "I think the Vikes are going to be a lot better than people think."

We all call them the Vikes, by the way, since it's easier to curse their inevitable failure in one syllable than two.

This year's edition of the Vikings -- No. 52 overall -- is scheduled to report today for training camp. They will be encamped on the Mankato plateau for three weeks, or a week longer than in recent years.

Most of the fans gathering at Minnesota State will be from generations whose main burden is the loss to the Atlanta Falcons in January 1999, rather than the first of the Super Bowl losses in the '70s.

For some reason, these younger folks were not turned into fatalists by that defeat. I'm not sure where the 40ish fans stand on the Vikings, but somehow the under-40s seem capable of greeting each season with giddiness and optimism.

Everywhere you turn this week, there are Minnesota sports fans in their 30s looking you in the eyes to pronounce: "I think the Vikings are going to be a lot better than people think."

I call these people the Randy Moss Generation. Even as Denny Green's team squeezed into the playoffs regularly in the '90s, passion for the Vikings was waning. It was a frequent battle to avoid blackouts. The number of people you encountered that were moping around on a Monday after a Vikings loss seemed minimal.

And then Moss showed up in 1998, and struck a chord with every person who owned a bar jacket in Minnesota, and there was a renewal of Vikings enthusiasm that has continued even through the down times of this century.

We old-timers, we survivors of Jan. 11, 1970, look at the 2012 Vikings and see a low-budget remake of a 3-13 team.

In contrast, the Moss generation finds Rick Spielman's shopping in the bargain basement to have been productive, and looks at a two-deep draft as if it was a bonanza, and is confident that a young quarterback will emerge to trigger a potent offense.

The only difference of opinion is whether that quarterback will be Christian Ponder (as the Vikings envision) or Joe Webb (as a vocal segment of the fan base believes should be the case).

The longest surviving generation of Vikings fans looks at Percy Harvin and sees a talented receiver who practices only on his schedule, and might start pouting at any moment if he feels as if a new contract isn't on the way.

The Moss generation sees a great player. Period.

These modern-day fans puzzle me. Why isn't Gary Anderson's missed field goal as emblazoned on their memories as K.C.'s Frank Pitts running the end-around? Why isn't Brett Favre's throw over the middle to the Saints' Tracy Porter as haunting as Stram's cackling?

What's wrong with you 20-, 30-, maybe 40-year-olds?

You are Vikings fans. Start being cynics. Stop being optimists.

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500-AM. preusse@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 17 FINAL
New England 9
Cleveland 10 FINAL
Baltimore 20
Dallas 44 FINAL
Washington 17
Indianapolis 27 FINAL
Tennessee 10
Jacksonville 17 FINAL
Houston 23
San Diego 7 FINAL
Kansas City 19
NY Jets 37 FINAL
Miami 24
Chicago 9 FINAL
Minnesota 13
Philadelphia 34 FINAL
NY Giants 26
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Tampa Bay 20
Carolina 34 FINAL
Atlanta 3
Detroit 20 FINAL
Green Bay 30
Oakland 14 FINAL
Denver 47
Arizona 17 FINAL
San Francisco 20
St. Louis 6 FINAL
Seattle 20
Cincinnati 0 1st Qtr 6:44
Pittsburgh 7
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/4/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/4/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Detroit 103 FINAL
Cleveland 80
Houston 85 4th Qtr 11:38
San Antonio 85
Oklahoma City 58 3rd Qtr
Dallas 64
New York 8:00 PM
Portland
Toronto 8:00 PM
Denver
Phoenix 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Toronto 4 FINAL
Florida 6
Vancouver 0 2nd Prd
Anaheim 0
Tulane 57 FINAL
St Johns 82
Central Conn St 48 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Iona 81 FINAL
Drexel 62
Concordia (MI) 42 FINAL
Eastern Mich 100
Harvard 46 FINAL
Arizona State 56
Longwood 64 FINAL
Ball State 69
Sacred Heart 76 FINAL
Brown 79
Colgate 64 FINAL
Columbia 69
MD-Eastern Shore 78 FINAL
Duquesne 69
UNC Greensboro 50 FINAL
East Carolina 71
Marist 64 FINAL
Elon 69
NJIT 71 FINAL
Lafayette 76
Cincinnati Christian 58 FINAL
Liberty 78
Morgan State 53 FINAL
Marquette 81
Campbell 56 FINAL
Samford 65
Bucknell 71 FINAL
Siena 73
Long Beach State 67 FINAL
Syracuse 85
Coppin State 80 FINAL
Evansville 85
UMKC 73 FINAL
Indiana State 70
Hofstra 88 FINAL
Long Island 62
Coast Guard 48 FINAL
Army 93
Thomas (GA) 48 FINAL
High Point 85
Texas Southern 58 FINAL
Kansas State 56
Rutgers 59 FINAL
Monmouth 58
NC Wesleyan 54 FINAL
NC A&T 58
South Dakota St 63 FINAL
Northern Iowa 74
Central Penn College 69 FINAL
Radford 119
Bowling Green 79 FINAL
South Florida 70
Harris-Stowe 66 FINAL
SE Missouri St 94
Robert Morris-IL 56 FINAL
SIU Edwardsville 104
Northland College 59 FINAL
North Dakota St 83
Milwaukee 60 FINAL
South Dakota 84
Northwestern St 92 FINAL
Arkansas 100
Saint Peters 59 FINAL
Cornell 52
St Katherine 62 FINAL
Fresno State 93
Haskell 42 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Wake Forest 65 FINAL
Richmond 63
Fla Gulf Coast 57 FINAL
Xavier 71
SD Christian 45 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
Judson 46 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 80
Ill-Chicago 60 FINAL
Bradley 68
Loyola-Maryland 61 FINAL
Fairfield 59
Miss Valley St 53 FINAL
Houston 80
Lehigh 58 FINAL
UMBC 55
Delaware State 56 FINAL
Temple 66
Belmont 56 FINAL
Butler 67
Howard 59 FINAL
Fordham 74
NW Christian 67 FINAL
Nevada 81
UC Davis 83 FINAL
Washington St 90
Abilene Christian 81 FINAL
Grand Canyon 83
UCLA 50 FINAL
Alabama 56
Stony Brook 26 2nd Half
Washington 35
Buffalo 27 2nd Half
Wisconsin 26
CS-Bakersfield 9:00 PM
California
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
Toledo 1/4/15 8:00 PM
Arkansas State
Drexel 71 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 54
Holy Cross 63 FINAL
Norfolk State 62
East Carolina 62 FINAL
South Florida 69
(10) Oregon State 63 FINAL
(8) Tennessee 74
Providence 51 FINAL
Boston College 79
Florida A&M 47 FINAL
Miami-Florida 83
Oakland 69 FINAL
Central Michigan 74
Chattanooga 59 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 49
Fairfield 59 FINAL
La Salle 73
St Francis-PA 59 FINAL
Pittsburgh 97
Milwaukee 72 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 78
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Longwood 63
New Hampshire 58 FINAL
Manhattan 54
Bucknell 68 FINAL
Binghamton 57
Northeastern 70 FINAL
Albany 67
George Mason 70 FINAL
Towson 72
Richmond 59 FINAL
William & Mary 56
Tulane 60 FINAL
Cincinnati 50
North Florida 51 FINAL
Florida 63
(14) Georgia 51 FINAL
Seton Hall 70
Tennessee St 75 FINAL
(12) Kentucky 87
American Univ 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 77
Massachusetts 78 FINAL
Boston U 57
Quinnipiac 69 FINAL
Saint Josephs 67
Lafayette 49 FINAL
Saint Peters 34
Northwestern 61 FINAL
(20) Michigan State 57
Duquesne 82 FINAL
Lehigh 75
George Washington 72 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 49
(17) Rutgers 66 FINAL
Indiana 51
(24) Green Bay 66 FINAL
Dayton 72
Western Mich 55 FINAL
Stony Brook 59
Davidson 67 FINAL
Virginia 57
UNC Greensboro 61 FINAL
LSU 82
Denver 63 FINAL
North Texas 55
VA Commonwealth 63 FINAL
Coppin State 52
Huston-Tillotson 36 FINAL
Houston Baptist 86
Lamar 63 FINAL
Rice 97
Miss Valley St 40 FINAL
Alabama 71
Saint Louis 63 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 49
Middle Tennessee 98 FINAL
Tenn Tech 76
Penn State 52 FINAL
(23) Iowa 77
Purdue 62 FINAL
Illinois 55
DePaul 99 FINAL
Illinois State 62
Sam Houston St 46 FINAL
Wichita State 70
South Dakota 76 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 69
(4) Notre Dame 82 FINAL
UCLA 67
Coll of Charleston 51 FINAL
SC State 60
Alcorn State 53 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 63
Dartmouth 76 FINAL
Niagara 70
Colgate 68 FINAL
Siena 80
Michigan 53 FINAL
Wisconsin 63
Fla Gulf Coast 73 FINAL
CS-Northridge 64
Yale 51 FINAL
(25) Arizona State 69
UC Santa Barbara 34 FINAL
(16) Stanford 90
Long Island 63 FINAL
Long Beach St 71
Jackson State 56 FINAL
Louisiana 65
Eureka 50 FINAL
Western Ill 91
Cornell 59 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 76
Temple 6 1st Half 11:22
Memphis 12

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close