Aug. 2000: Vikings 35, Cardinals 17, Preseason
Flashbacks, and Berserker Hookie
By Marcus "Mookie Vike" Anderson
How many of you can really remember the details of your very first experience attending a Minnesota Vikings game? Well it's been almost 25 years for me, and I can still remember that cold day in December 1976 when the Vikings beat the Washington Redskins 35-20 in that Divisional Playoff Game at the Old Met Stadium.
I remember the aesthetic details, the smell of brats, and sausages on the tailgaters grill's as we walked toward the gates, the smell of cigars and cigarettes in the Met Stadium air, the High School Cheerleading Parkettes on the sidelines, Fred Cox's straight on kicks in warm-ups, and of course the players and coaches on the sideline during the game who I was able to get autographs from after the game: Fran Tarkenton, Jim Marshall, Carl Eller, Fred Cox, Nate Wright, Sammie White, Ed White, Wes Hamilton, and Matt Blair.
I can also remember that it was my father, Ken, who was the person responsible for my attending that first game and subsequent 1/4 of century addiction to the Purple, so when we the Berserkers had a free ticket available for this Friday Night Preseason game in August, the first person I called to invite was dad.
Much has happened since that first game in 1976, and with my dad's presence at this game I could not stop reflecting on how much life has changed in for both the Vikings and myself.
In 1976, I was in 6th Grade and wore a purple Fran Tarkenton jersey. My biggest concerns in life were math homework and getting good grades at Roosevelt Elementary School in Watertown, SD. We lived in the country, so we didn't have cable TV, and I was never allowed to watch a Monday Night Football game on ABC past the Howard Cosell halftime report. To fuel my Vikes addiction, my father would bring home the Minneapolis Tribune from work, so I could read up on the latest news and actually see pictures of the team. My brothers and I would watch all Sunday afternoon games that were televised on CBS or NBC. When the Vikings lost we would burn the football cards of the opposition in some sort of sick sacrificial ritual of young purple witch doctors.
In 2000, Fran Tarkenton is rarely seen or heard from in Minnesota, and one rarely sees a #10 jersey on anyone. Hell, it was as recent as last year that the Metrodome even had Tark's name spelled wrong on the Dome ring of honor! My biggest concerns in life are keeping my wife happy and keeping my season tickets. Our Sunday Star and Tribune is always delivered late, and when I finally open it, it's yesterdays news. Now-a-days my Purple brothers and I attend every home Viking game and we are the ones who now make that cool smelling tailgate BBQ's in the outside parking lots of the NFL stadiums.
We have satellite dishes and never miss a half of any NFL game. We are making plans to create our tailgate vehicle- the ultimate weapon, and we host a web page dedicated to the Vikings and their purple fans. Howard Cosell is dead and a Comedian named Dennis Miller makes references on Monday Night Football that not even all our College Education's combined can comprehend. I have sold most of my ball cards on E-Bay to money-grubbing bastards who preserve those cardboard toys in glass, as if they were gold.
Despite, the differences over the last quarter century, their is much that is still the same.The Vikings are perennial playoff losers, we still love them and we will go to their games no matter if they are played indoors our outside. We are the fan base, the loyal, and our leader, our father, was present once again for a Vikings game on Friday Night. This time the game was indoors, in the middle of the summer, with nothing at stake, but we were witness to new Viking QB Daunte Culpepper's coming out party on National TV!
I got that call from South Dakota at about noon on Friday that my dad and brother, along with Mom and niece, were heading out. I could hear Dad in the background with concern as to what to wear, so I offered up a suggestion, "Hey, tell him to just wear the #85 Kleinsasser jersey I got him for Christmas last year!" I could hear the relief over the phone.
A few hours later, I skipped out of work (playing hooky) at 2:30 to meet Rocky at the house and get down to the Dome to tailgate. I didn't really lie to my co-workers, I just told them that I needed to get out of my cube and downtown to the sunny Washington Avenue parking lot ASAP. I think they understood. I didn't hurt that I had worked overtime all week, so leaving 1 hour earlier was not that big of a deal, at least that's what I'll believe until I hear otherwise.
Rocky and I were downtown whooping it up for nearly 2 hours before Saueey and John showed up. We did not grill out or bring any of the regular season supplies as it was still just preseason. We admired from afar the Purple Battlewagon, noting it's improvements from last year, and waxing philosophical about someday buying ourselves a killer tailgate vehicle. Although, the tailgate vehicle is purely a pie-in-the-sky idea and will probably never happen, we still tease each other with the possibilities.
The Viking cheerleaders came out and walked through the crowd once again, waving to all us poor drunken slugs, and posing for pictures with wide-eyed kids and their horny dads. That's always good humor. We actually appreciate their presence and probably don't thank them enough for all the fun they provide throughout the year, so on behalf of all the Section 205 Berserkers, "Thank you Vikings Cheerleaders!"
Little Schmidty showed up sporting a new Packer Sucks purple t-shirt, and found his way to the beer and free tension release. It was about 6:00 and we were nearly an 1 1/2 hours from game time when I saw an #85 Kleinsasser and #57 Rudd walking toward us in an anxious gait. When Dad and lil bro Steve arrived, the pre-game tailgate was complete. Before the pre-season, many Viking fans were questioning the decision of Dennis Green to not sign Randall Cunningham or Jeff George to be the Vikings starter in '00. It seemed like everybody in purple land had an opinion on who the Vikings quarterback should be, and the consensus was that Duante Culpepper would not be their choice.
The Berserkers posted a poll, asking Viking fans, "If You Could Bring Back 1 QB from the Vikes history in his prime to play in 2000, it would be _________. " We announced the winner at the tailgate and shared memories about these Viking fan choices:
Tommy Kramer 36% "Imagine T.K. throwing bombs to Moss!"
Fran Tarkenton 24 % "The Scrambler would keep defenses honest!"
Brad Johnson 12% "With Brad, it would be same team, same playoff loss result, no Daunte!"
Warren Moon 8% "In his prime, he could do everything!"
We ate the rest of our chips, drank a few beers and talked about our favorite tailgates from games past.
I couldn't help but to flashback to 1998. There we were, watching the Vikes vs. Cards, just like '98 Divisional playoff game, and once again the Vikings were scoring points fast and furious. Both Randy Moss and Cris Carter caught TD's and Robert Smith looked like he has all his speed back for '00.
My favorite plays:
- The TD to Moss. Looks like he caught it on a rope, in stride from Daunte after an audible at the line. This cannot be stopped!
- Gary Anderson 51-yard Field Goal attempt... Close... so close it hit the crossbar, and fell short, but guess what? He's BAAAAAACK!
- The option pitch TD from Daunte to Mo Williams, shows another potentially unstoppable play in the red zone.
- You can't tell me that CC wanted to actually catch that TD pass and run to the end zone?
My unfavorite plays :
- Little Buddy showing everyone in 205 his breasts, rubbing them and being a weird-o in front of my Dad.
- Saueey and John bailing early in the 3rd quarter and not saying good-bye
Post Game Tailgate:
Pretty mellow tailgate. It was just father and his 3 sons waiting in the parking lot for traffic to subside so we could get on home.
Roll Call & Game Day Grades:
In attendance where Rocky, Mook, Lil Schmidty, Saueey, Steve, Ken, Cowboy John, , Lil Buddy, and Notre Dame Dan
Grades: B However, Saueey and John get D's for an early exit. Other than that, the early faction drank fast and furious and 2 cases of beer went down like White House intern (old pathetic joke, sorry.)
MVP: Ken, who held court and drank beers with the Boys like he raised us or something.
"The '99 Draft will probably go down as one of the GREATEST in Viking history" Mook, after Daunte's 8th TD pass in the first few minutes of the game.
"I am too old for that kind of junk." Ken commenting on the possibility of a tailgate parking lot brawl.
"Anyone want an extra pork chop?" Neighboring Tailgater with a huge 1-inch thick chop that looked like money!".
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