Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.


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Wasswa comparison grows stronger for Robinson

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: October 13, 2013 - 6:15 PM

The 2000 New York Giants were looked at as a team of such modest prowess that the 11-5 Vikings went into the NFC title game as road favorites.

It didn't quite work out that way. The score was 34-0 for the Giants at halftime and, I must admit, the reporters in the visitors end of the large press box had lost all decorum.

If Twitter had existed on Jan. 14, 2001, we could have entertained ourselves by sending out smart-aleck messages of 140 characters or less. With no Tweets, we had to settle for "blurts -- quick, sarcastic comments that could be overhead in the range of a few seats to the left or the right.

By the second quarter, the blurts were coming with the subtlety of an old-time Tommy gun.

Several members of the Vikings' brain trust were in position to hear this cacophony of ridicule. I recall Rob Brzezinski, a Vikings' vice president, expressing his unhappiness directly to me ... and for good reason, I'm sure.

The lasting memory from that game remains the bites that the Vikings' defensive backs were taking every time Giants quarterback Kerry Collins went with a pump fake. This was particularly true for Wasswa Serwanga, who had been sent into action that season after the secondary sustained a couple of injuries.

The best observation on this came from Kevin Seifert, then the Vikings' beat man for the Star Tribune: "Have you ever seen a guy throwing Frisbees to an amped-up dog on the beach, and he fakes one, and the dog takes off? Poor Wasswa looks like he's chasing an imaginary Frisbee.''

Seifert said this in a conversational tone, not in a blurt. I thought it was so danged funny that I took care of the blurting. The Wasswa-chasing-a-Frisbee comparison might have been what put Brzezinski over the edge, come to think of it.

On Sunday, I was watching the first half from home. Carolina was on the first of what would be a series of lengthy drives. It was fourth-and-1 at the 2. Cam Newton went into the spread formation, looked at the Vikings' defense and called timeout.

Coach Ron Rivera stuck with the decision to go for it. Offensive coordinator Mike Shula, in the press box, obviously had watched enough tape on the Vikings' first four games to know there was a strategy for this occasion:

Something that could get Josh Robinson, the Vikings' second-year cornerback, in a position where he had to track a receiver off the line of scrimmage.

Boom. Veteran Steve Smith reset to the right, cut back through traffic, Newton had time to wait, Smith cleared the traffic, Robinson was trailing by three steps, and the Panthers had the lift of a touchdown, rather than the disappointment of starting with a field goal.

And there was Robinson, slowing behind Smith, head hanging like a pitcher who knows he just gave up a bomb.

"Wasswa ... Josh really is the second coming of Wasswa,'' I said to myself in the TV den in Golden Valley.

Later, as the Panthers turned the Metrodome into an abattoir for the Vikings, I joined sparingly in the fun on Twitter. Such Tweets mostly get lost in the avalanche of ridicule that surfaces during a putrid Purple performance.

I don't know about the quality of blurts in the press box on Sunday. I gotta say, though -- no matter how quick-witted the home scribes might have been during this 35-10 thrashing, there's no way they topped the quip fest of 41-donut.

One reason I know this: We had the pompous Denny Green to blurt over in January 2001. Sunday's victim was nice guy Les Frazier.

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Chicago WSox 0 Delayed
NY Yankees 0
Tampa Bay 0 Top 1st Inning
Toronto 0
Detroit - B. Farmer 12:10 PM
Minnesota - Y. Pino
Seattle - C. Young 12:35 PM
Boston - B. Workman
Baltimore - B. Norris 1:20 PM
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks
San Francisco - T. Lincecum 3:05 PM
Washington - J. Zimmermann
Houston - C. McHugh 6:05 PM
Cleveland - D. Salazar
St. Louis - S. Miller 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan
Atlanta - E. Santana 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Leake
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez 6:10 PM
Milwaukee - W. Peralta
San Diego - A. Cashner 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Miami - T. Koehler 7:10 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Kansas City - J. Guthrie 7:25 PM
Texas - N. Tepesch
LA Angels - C. Wilson 8:05 PM
Oakland - J. Lester
NY Mets - J. deGrom 8:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 6 FINAL
Seattle 34
Tampa Bay 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 7:00 PM
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(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
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ULM
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(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
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Toronto 3:00 PM
Edmonton
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Brt Columbia
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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