What we would like to do is imagine briefly an "Inception" plot based not on a billion dollar energy industry but rather on a purple-clad football team that has never won a Super Bowl. To do this, we have to weave in a few notions from the actual movie. If you want to go into the movie cold and still haven't seen it, consider yourself warned. Also consider yourself warned that some of this will read as nonsense if you haven't seen the movie ... or perhaps even if you have.
--> The mission: If you believe that much of sports is a mental game -- is a battle of belief -- find the original thoughts that will change the Vikings from being oh-so-close torturers (four Super Bowl losses in a decade ... and four agonizing in their own way NFC title game losses in the past quarter-century) to champions. Plant those thoughts with those who can make a difference, via layers of dreams, and in such a way that they believe these thoughts were their idea.
(Note: Would it just be easier to break into the dreams of Sean Payton, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, etc. and steal their game plans or some such thing before big games? SILENCE!)
--> The obvious (one-layer dream): Getting Adrian Peterson to believe his fumbling is a serious enough problem that he won't be the best back in football -- and he won't earn the full trust of fans -- until he conquers it. This might involve hijacking and sedating Chris Johnson and Emmitt Smith, which shouldn't be a problem. The kick: the feeling of a linebacker trying to rip the ball out of his arms.
--> The doable but complicated (dream within a dream, two layers): Brad Childress fully finding peace with letting go and letting awesome players do awesome things. First layer: Fourth and goal from the 1, down by 3, :02 seconds left. Brett Favre is lobbying to go for it. Andy Reid is in the dream. He's trying to hide the helmets of everyone but the special teams players. Favre is the architect. Come with me, he says. I've drawn a tunnel through the center. It can't miss. But we have to go down here to layer two. Layer two: There's a 12th man in the huddle, but he is thrown off an unending staircase. He's falling to a sure death, but instead lands on a giant pillow with a diagram of a QB sneak. Favre runs through a two-foot gap where nobody can touch him. Game over. Post-game reporter asks where Childress got the idea. He smiles. He is kicked back to the first layer by Favre smacking him in the butt. The second kick back to reality is the opening of "Welcome to the Jungle."
--> The crazy (Inception). First layer: Giant high-def television. Sunday. You can't place the date or time. How did you get here. Kickoff. Second layer: You want to run the wrong way because you've been told this is your history. But it's a trick. What you thought was the wrong way turns out to be right. How can this be? Third layer: You're deep inside it now. Your foot is on the turf. You smell stale beer. Is that Brent Novoselsky? This is very important! Do not use specific memories! Do not think about the kneel-down! Or a missed field goal! Or 12 men in the huddle! Or a dropped pass! Bud Grant walks past slowly. He looks you in the eye and tells you, "There is no curse." First kick: A bullet from a faceless man in a Herschel Walker jersey. Second kick: Crashing your hovercraft into Lambeau Field. Final kick: Your father shaking you. He's dressed in purple. He has a tear in his eye. Wake up with the thought buried in your subconscious that losing is not your destiny.
It's February 2011. Super Bowl. The football is oblong and it is still spinning. Is it all a dream?