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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Minnesota Vikings Franchise Has Turned Into a Nightmare

By Chris Bellamy

It may have taken until the fifth week of the season, but better late than never, right?

Finally, it was the kind of week Vikings fans had been waiting for: Zero turnovers. Zero dropped passes. Zero penalties. They were practically perfect! And most importantly, after starting the season with four straight embarrassing losses, the Vikes didn’t lose this week.

Of course?well, they didn’t win, either. Actually, it was just the team’s bye week (which, for non-football savvy readers, means they didn’t play). But, not losing for the first time all year has got to count for something, right?

But seriously, it’s gotten pretty sad up north. While the hometown Twins make a run at the World Series, it’s taken a bye week to provide Vikings fans with any relief. Ouch.

After Denny Green was fired and Mike Tice was brought in, people thought his discipline would immediately make things better. People thought the “Randy Ratio” plan would actually work. People thought the 2001 season was just an aberration.

People were wrong.

When Tice was hired, he said that while he expected the Vikings to be competitive, they were still in a working, rebuilding process.

Have you seen them play this year? I’m sorry, but that is not rebuilding?and it certainly ain’t competitive.

An organization that began the season with high hopes for their “new beginning” has seen the wheels fall off in just one month’s time. Tice’s whole plan has gone to pot (and no, I’m not making a subliminal reference to Randy Moss’ glove compartment). The team doesn’t look any more disciplined than last year’s version and Daunte Culpepper is just forcing the ball to Moss, whose fairy tale rookie season now seems like a distant memory. The loss to Seattle?on nationally televised Sunday Night Football, no less?reached comic proportions.

Rumors of a potential move to L.A. still persist, and now the team’s owner (for all of five years) is already walking out on his team. Something tells me Red McCombs won’t be getting much of a return on his $250 million investment.

And to make matters worse, the team still hasn’t signed its first-round draft pick.

For the second straight year, the Vikes take the cake as the most dysfunctional team in sports?and the laughingstock of the NFL. I know the Rams are 0-5, but I’m willing to bet that even they have some sympathy for those long-suffering Minnesota fans.

The only thing that could make things worse would be if their star player gets arrested for hitting a cop with his car, gets checked into a drug abuse program and then blames everyone else for his problems on national television. Oh?wait?

Tice, the new head coach who was supposed to be the team’s savior, simply doesn’t look like he knows what he’s doing out there. It’s almost painfully obvious. I’m certainly no NFL executive, but how often does an offensive line coach jump right to head coach? He can’t even get his own offensive line to block this season.

All you have to do is watch him on the sidelines during a game?he looks like he’s stuck in a David Lynch movie. And has anyone else noticed the startling resemblance between Tice and Mr. Potato Head? Anyone?

And like Green before him, he still refuses to tell Randy Moss what we all wish we could: GROW UP! You’re 25 years old and in your fifth season in the league. Quit crying, stop being such a prima donna and start acting your age.

It’s hard to believe that the league’s most exciting team in 1998?a record-breaking offensive juggernaut?is the same one we see sunken in disarray right now.

On paper, the Vikings are still a playoff team, because of their offensive talent alone. But the truth is, turning this team around won’t be as easy as it may look.

There’s just so much to fix?does anyone even know where to begin? Tice is in real danger of losing his job after just one season at the helm?that’s something even Marty Mornhinweg couldn’t pull off. Doubts concerning Moss continue to mount, the defense is a perpetual problem and even the team’s ownership and home city are up in the air.

The only question is, how much worse can things get before they finally start to get better?

Sorry Viking fans, but it might be awhile.

Chris welcomes feedback at [email protected]

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