Rand: Clarity emerges from Vikings' game in the blizzard

  • Updated: December 8, 2013 - 8:19 PM
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Vikings cornerback Chris Cook was a lonely figure in Baltimore, where the Vikings endured snow, sleet and, well, more points in the final two minutes than any team can survive.

Photo: Brian Peterson • brianp@startribune.com,

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Four thoughts about the Vikings’ game Sunday, the likes of which we might never see again:

• A number of emails and online comments streamed in shortly after the 29-25 loss to Baltimore blaming officials for the loss. We get it. The refs botched some major calls, perhaps including a pass interference call that extended Baltimore’s winning drive. But when a team allows another squad to go 80 yards in 45 seconds for a touchdown, well, that’s where the blame starts.

• The Vikings are 3-9-1. They deserve every bit of that record because in the NFL, you are what your record says you are. That said, Sunday marked the FOURTH time this season that the Vikings have given up a winning TD in the final minute after being ahead. At Chicago. Cleveland. At Dallas. At Baltimore. The Vikings have been completely outclassed in three of 13 games this season: against Carolina, at Green Bay and at Seattle. They could have competed at New York, but their QB situation was at its messiest. In nine of the 13 games, they have ... three victories, all of them down to the wire ... those aforementioned four losses on TDs in the final minute ... the tie against the Packers after leading 23-7 in the fourth quarter ... and the season-opening loss to Detroit, a game they controlled early.

• I had a chance recently to have a conversation with legendary former Vikings coach Bud Grant, and the discussion invariably turned to playing outdoor football. Grant played and coached almost exclusively in the outdoors for his whole life until 1982, when the Metrodome opened near the end of his coaching career. He is looking forward to the Vikings’ two temporary home seasons outside at TCF Bank Stadium, and Sunday’s snowy contest in Baltimore showcased why. Football in the snow can be sloppy and unpredictable, but that’s what makes it so much fun.

• Never feel bad for a gambler because betting on sports means you deserve everything you get. That said, imagine what it would feel like if you had bet on the over-under line for Sunday’s Vikings game. Postgame research shows the over-under line was 41.5 at most places in Vegas before kickoff. So if you bet the “under,” you were betting on the total points scored being lower than that number. And you probably felt great when the snow-filled game was 7-6 going into the fourth quarter and 12-7 with less than three minutes left. Even after the Ravens went ahead 15-12 it was OK. When the Vikings answered to make it 19-15, you were nervous but still in great shape. And even when the Ravens scored again to make it 22-19, you were safe — barely — at 41 total points, but needing just one defensive stop. And then there were TWO more touchdowns. Rip up that ticket and just walk away. And if you somehow bet the over and won? Spend that money ASAP before it disappears.

MICHAEL RAND

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