Stu checks in with a talker to take you into the sweet evening:
Kerry Collins retired today. A couple things:
• He's one of 12 QBs to throw for over 40,000 yards in his career. That floored me. Kerry Collins! (He'll also join Vinny Testaverde as the two guys in that group who won't end up in Canton.) [Proprietor note: And Drew Bledsoe].
• The high point of his career was probably 41-Donut. That game is still one of the weirdest Vikings games I've ever witnessed, in that it was 14-0 before I even sat down to watch. If I recall correctly, you were a witness to this game. Perhaps you can share your memories of it and open up the comment section to share their recollections of one of the most infamous games in the history of a team with its share of infamous games.
Oh, Stu. We weren't at that game. We merely wrote about it quite a bit in the week leading up to it and would have helped cover the Super Bowl if the [redacted] Vikings had won. We wrote three features that week. One on Daunte Culpepper. One on Fernando Smith. And one on Wasswa Serwanga. Here are some words of wisdom on Wasswa:
Wasswa Serwanga didn't get onto the field until the regular season was more than half over. Since then, the Vikings cornerback has progressed more rapidly than an opposing quarterback goes through his reads. In the Vikings' game of musical cornerbacks, Serwanga is the last one standing - which, in this case, is the way to win the job. He has vaulted up the depth chart and will make his second consecutive postseason start in Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the New York Giants.
"Corner is a position where they love you one minute and hate you the next," Serwanga said. "I was fortunate enough to come here and get the opportunity."
While his twin brother, Kato, played cornerback regularly with New England throughout the season, Serwanga saw his first action on special teams in a 31-14 victory over Arizona, Minnesota's 10th game of the season. The Vikings released veteran cornerback Cris Dishman two weeks later, pressing Serwanga into secondary duty. He continued to move up the depth chart, passing Keith Thibodeaux as the nickelback Dec. 17 against Green Bay. A week later, he moved past Kenny Wright into the starting lineup against Indianapolis and star receiver Marvin Harrison. The veteran lit up the Vikings, catching 12 passes for 109 yards and three touchdowns. Much of his work came against Serwanga.
"Baptism - I think that's how people would title it," Serwanga said. "I accepted it, learned from my mistakes and moved on." Serwanga was part of a defensive rebirth in the Vikings' 34-16 playoff victory over the Saints. With a more aggressive scheme in place - one that placed more responsibility on his shoulders - Serwanga responded with three pass breakups to go along with six tackles.
A burned corner had turned the corner. "He came in and played a good game," said Robert Tate, the Vikings' other starting cornerback. "He stepped up and delivered a blow."
Needless to say, in 41-donut, Serwanga was not part of a defensive rebirth. He looked every bit the part of a guy who had passed other marginal cornerbacks by default on the way to a starting role in a now decade-old embarrassment. But at least Vikings fans can rejoice now. Big, bad Kerry Collins is out of football.