The Minnesota Vikings (4-7) hosted the Carolina Panthers (3-7-1) on Sunday in which in my mind the loser is out of the playoffs while the winner hangs on by their fingernails.
It was an exciting day as I was given on field passes before the game by a member of the Vikings organization. They know I write and appreciate my support so each of the last 3 years I have been given this wonderful opportunity to go on the sidelines one game a season from 10am-11:30.
This was the game that will test my wife and fans to see just how cold we can take it. My wardrobe was as follows: jeans and snow pants, socks and thermal socks, a face mask, stocking hat and a very warm winter jacket with a hood along with some of the finest gloves from Cabelas. I need to add we also had hand and feet warmers which are true life savers.
We moved to our seats at 11:30 and I looked across and noticed maybe the most empty seats I have ever seen at a Viking game excluding preseason games. I have said this before and repeat myself when saying we sit on the sun side of the stadium. The emptiness I saw was on the shade side which had to be incredibly miserable if you were not well bundled.
The pregame had former Purple People Eater, Gary Larsen blowing the Gjallarhorn. The National Anthem was sung by Nicholas David, a contestant from NBC’s, The Voice in 2012. The honorary captain was 2014 Minnesota’s Mr. Football, Robbie Grimsley (Hutchinson).
The game was so strange because it seemed Carolina had the ball the whole first half thanks to two blocked punt returns for touchdown by the Vikings. I found out after the game it had been 453 games since the last time the Vikings blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown. Yes, Adam Thielen blocks the punt picks it up and runs it in for his first NFL touchdown. I was still thinking about the play and then another blocked punt by Jasper Brinkley is picked up by Everson Griffen and there he goes for 6. Wow, are you kidding me two in one game and a little over 12 minutes between them. NFL history as only the 4th time this has ever happened.
The performance by Teddy Bridgewater was very nice to see. His quarterback rating was 120 which was a career high. His 15 for 21 was good for 71 percent which also was a career high. Teddy threw 2 TD’s tying his high and his 138 yards passing was his career low.
The Vikings still struggled in tackling this week. It seems the cut back runs really give this team fits. I do give praise to two players specifically and that is Everson Griffen who had 2 sacks and ran back the punt block for a TD and the other I felt defensive back, Xavier Rhodes played lights out in coverage.
The weather was cold so this brings me to the fans. I want to touch on the Beer Vendors with one shouting out, “Want to stay warm, get a beer” and the other said “Who needs hot chocolate when you can get beer.” I will add the price of hot chocolate was 8.00 down on the concourse and 8.25 in the stands.
I noticed with a little less than 9 minutes left in the game a good amount of fans filed out of TCF. I don’t mind this because it makes getting out of the stadium a little easier for us. I saw two young men in the lower level wearing no shirts and wondered how they will feel Monday morning.
The game was the 7th coldest game in Vikings history and am proud to say my wife and I stuck it out to the end. We love our team.
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