MOORHEAD, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings did not win the Super Bowl on Sunday. They didn't play in it, of course, but that hasn't mattered in the past. The purple squad is 0 for 4 in the Big Game, although it's been seven presidents and one incompetent gangster ago since it crushed the soul of an entire state by losing.
There's been plenty of soul crushing since then, it's just that it's happened in games before the biggest one. Which do you choose as the crushingest? Dropped pass at the goal line in 1987? Wide left in 1998? Interception in 2009?
Either way, it's been six decades of futility for the state's most popular sports team. The Vikings were formed in 1961 and by the late '60s it seemed inevitable they'd win a Super Bowl or three. For those old enough to remember, present company included, they were that good. Alan Page wasn't always a retired judge, you know.
Since then, championship-worthy teams have been sporadic and fans have moved from expectant to fatalistic. The state's mentality when it comes to the Vikings has slid from "they'll win one soon" to "they'll win one someday" to "hope they win one in my lifetime" to "they'll probably screw this up" to "they'll screw this up so pass the booze."
If you want to question why grown humans would get that emotionally invested in a team of millionaires owned by billionaires, none of whom have ever set foot in Effie, Sleepy Eye or Nimrod, look out the window when you're done reading this. It's colder than a well-digger's teat and we need distractions.
The state's second most-popular team, the Twins, has won a couple of championships but even those are ever-distance ancient memories. The most recent was already three decades ago and the statewide orgasmic joy that occurred in 1987 and 1991 is hard to fathom given the divides that exist today.
Not to get all political here, but it's hard to imagine Minnesotans unifying so solidly behind a team as we did back then. Somebody would find something about which to gripe. Rural folks would scream that Minneapolis sucks. Democrats would moan about which athletes voted for Trump. Republicans would bellyache about Black athletes speaking about social justice instead of game plans.
It's where we are.
The alternative view is this: If there is one thing that could unify Minnesotans it would be the Vikings, the team almost everybody in the state (other than stinkin' Wisconsin transplants) wants to see win a Super Bowl.
If 2021 becomes the Purple's year — an unlikely occurrence — maybe for a few glorious months Pipestone and Plymouth fall in love, MAGAs and Bidens embrace, Walz and Gazelka take family vacations together.
The Vikings are perhaps the one remaining thread in the fabric of Minnesota that can do this. The franchise that's broken the state's collective heart for 60 years is the last best hope to save us from ourselves.
Strange times, indeed. The future of the state rests with Kirk Cousins.
Couldn't it at least have been Brett Favre?
Readers can reach Forum News Service columnist Mike McFeely at firstname.lastname@example.org or (701) 451-5655