Perhaps the only thing more entertaining than the 29-29 Vikings vs. Packers tie on Sunday was watching the emotional roller coaster the game produced for those simultaneously viewing and tweeting.
There are bound to be moments of overreaction during the course of an NFL game, but Sunday’s twists and turns brought things to new levels.
• Suddenly in love with Vikings third-year receiver Laquon Treadwell when he scored a first-quarter touchdown (the first regular-season score of his career). “Happy for Laquon. First of many more to come,” read one tweet.
And then … Treadwell had a pass sail through his hands late in the fourth quarter, resulting in an interception that very well could have (and probably should have) sealed a Vikings loss. My Twitter mentions were flooded with “cut Treadwell” messages, with the only variation being the number of exclamation points after them.
• Then folks were mad at coach Mike Zimmer for playing it safe at the end of overtime and setting up for a field goal. Folks … I know you’re mad at the rookie kicker, but that was absolutely the right way to play it.
Asking a professional kicker to make a 35-yard field goal is far less risky — even given his previous misses — than staying aggressive and setting up the potential for an interception or some other clock-stopping events that might have given Aaron Rodgers one more shot with the ball in his hands.
Zimmer set the Vikings up for two outcomes: either a win or a tie, with Rodgers guaranteed to not get one more crack at the win. You can be upset at the missed kick (and at GM Rick Spielman for drafting Daniel Carlson in the fifth round, a risky gamble in a Super Bowl-or-bust year). But Zimmer played it perfectly.
• This tweet from ProFootballTalk about summed up the postgame sentiments: “Daniel Carlson and Laquon Treadwell should not even get on the bus.”
For my tastes, though: The Vikings deserved a loss, with only a highly questionable roughing-the-passer penalty on Clay Matthews extending their tying drive and a Mason Crosby missed kick forcing overtime. Then they deserved a win for their stunning comeback and perseverance in overtime. So a tie is the deserved outcome.
• The Vikings shut out the Packers in frigid conditions last December at Lambeau Field, the third of three consecutive late-season meetings between the teams in Green Bay.
It figured to be quite a different story when the schedule came out and showed the teams meeting in mid-September this year, but few could have predicted about a 70-degree difference in game time temperature from last year to this one.
• Elk River’s 80-70 victory over Buffalo on Friday — a basketball score in a football game — can be measured in many different ways. But try this one:
There were some big scores among the noon kickoffs in the NFL Sunday, including the Chiefs’ 42-37 win over the Steelers. But it would take the point totals from three different early NFL games to surpass the 150 put up by those high schoolers.
• Minnesota’s 26-3 victory over winless Miami (Ohio) wasn’t particularly eye-opening, but the events around the Gophers on Saturday rendered their 3-0 start more meaningful and impressive.
First, consider that seven other Big Ten teams lost nonconference games this weekend. They ranged from the stunning (BYU upending Wisconsin) to the surprising (Troy defeating Nebraska and Akron knocking off Northwestern) to the somewhat predictable (undefeated Missouri over winless Purdue).
But it added up to a brutal day for the conference, and the fact that the Gophers escaped the carnage and will enter conference play undefeated is meaningful.
And then there’s the matter of retroactive weight given to last week’s win over Fresno State. The Bulldogs were impressive Saturday, steamrolling UCLA 38-14 in Pasadena. Granted, the Bruins are winless and rebuilding under Chip Kelly, but a 24-point road win over a Power Five team says Fresno State might be pretty good.
• Speaking of BYU’s win over the Badgers, which severely damages any hopes Wisconsin had of contending for a national title this year, the Cougars added the dagger in the locker room celebration.
Video captured the joyous players dancing to “Jump Around” — traditionally played at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison between the third and fourth quarters of games.