It was a purple critics' smorgasbord starting last Monday Night.The 20-3 loss to the 49ers served up enough ammunition for the purple cynics that they lamented for days.
"Ten carries for thirty yards? Adrian Peterson is on the down side of his career, he will never be like he was.."
"What kind of idiot offensive coach would only give AP ten carries?"
"The offensive line makes Swiss cheese look solid."
"Three passes to start in their territory? AP a bystander?"
"Chad Greenway is done. Hodges never will get started..."
"Teddy Bridgewater looked lost. Misfires. Not ready. Unable to throw deep on multiple Hail Mary attempts. He is not the same..."
The list is much bigger. From Tuesday morning until they grew tired on Friday, the haters hated. And to be frank, our Vikings gave them plenty of fuel for the fire. Losing 20-3 to a team that was supposed to be rebuilding is not good. Losing on a national stage when expectation of a strong season was high is irreparable. The lack of offense alarming.
Still, it was only one game. A road game.
Now in the second week on the season, Minnesota opens its' doors to the visiting Detroit Lions. Last season Detroit won 17-3 in our fair state in the first game vs. a divisional opponent week five. We finished 7-9. Minnesota was 1-5 vs. the North. The Lions swept us last year.
But last season we won our opener, over a depleted Rams squad 34-6. The hype was steady. Then we lost five of the next six games. Our dreams crushed.
Now, if only a few purple kool-aid drinkers remain hopeful, then so be it. Most of we seasoned fans are used to disappointment. Few of us, however, expected the Vikes to lay an egg week one. Even the toughest of critics were not ready to be so right so quickly.
And now week two. The 49ers won with Carlos Hyde ripping yards in every direction against our run defense. Colin Kaepernick escaped the 'contain' of the front four and passed and ran enough to keep drives alive. Detroit is not the same. The Lions live mostly off the right arm of pocket-passing Matthew Stafford. Most fans could not name the two feature backs in Detroit. Even less could spell their names accurately. The Lions are a pass-first organization, as in they had only 16 carries week one. (The names: Ameer Abdullah and Joique Bell, and yes, I had to spell check the former)
If Minnesota loses, the rough start may be enough to make this look like a Les Steckel season before we see October. If Minnesota wins, then the fan base will start their migration to purple love... slowly. 1-1 sounding infinitely better than 0-2.
It will be a raucous crowd at TCF on Sunday. They will be prepared to do their job supporting the team. The Gopher football team and the surprising Twins baseball team have our attentions diverted into multiple directions. If Minnesota delivers vs. the Lions, we could find ourselves cheering for three non-losing state teams at the same time. That would be remarkable.
I think we can handle it.
Prediction: Minnesota 27 Detroit 17. Fan Base returns at least 68%.