PURPLE PEOPLE EATEN: I’ve always been one to caution against trashing one’s own team publicly, but it must be said: the Minnesota Vikings suck. Everything that could’ve possibly gone wrong this season has, all of which has manifested itself in an 0-3 start. And it’s going to get a hell of a lot worse before it gets better.
The team has a horrible owner (Red McCombs, who has Minnesota on constant alert that he’s about to whisk the team off to LA or San Antonio) and a coach who never should’ve been hired (Mike Tice, who got the job on the basis of acting as McCombs’ locker-room narc during the last year of the Dennis Green era -even though he was merely tight ends coach- and is best known as the guy who taunted tackle Korey Stringer about his weight mere hours before the lineman died from heat exhaustion.) The team’s gross salary cap mismanagement has resulted in a severe depletion of both their offensive line and their entire defense; the Vikings haven’t even been able to sign their first-round draft choice, tackle Bryant MacKinnie, who could be providing much-needed blocking help.
But worst of all, the Vikings made the decision to base the entire direction of their offense on Randy Moss, who behaves more like a six-year-old than an NFL superstar. How can a professional franchise be so afraid of a man who must get the ball a certain amount of time, lest he whine about it and decide to go home? And when he does get the ball that much, he still cries, and the team loses all its games to boot? Haven’t we learned from recent world events that appeasement never works? And adding insult to insult, the Vikings’ only unblemished asset going into the season, quarterback Daunte Culpepper, has played like an amateur, throwing four interceptions in Sunday’s loss to Carolina and even getting into a sideline skirmish with Moss.
Tice is looking a lot like the second coming of Les Steckel, the coach who took over the Vikings for a year in 1984 and went 3-13 before he was fired. How in the world could this team hire Tice when a proven coach with ties to Minnesota (Tony Dungy) was available? And when the team has a huge, very public lawsuit pending by Stringer’s widow, shouldn’t Mike Tice (who is named in the suit) have been the last person to consider as their new head coach? McCombs is apparently emulating his baseball counterpart Carl Pohlad’s strategy from throughout the ’90s- when you’re pushing for a new stadium, the best thing you can do is give off the impression that you’re failing miserably in your current situation.
When a team is horrible for a long period of time (like the Arizona Cardinals, LA Clippers, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, etc.) the problem is usually trickled from ownership on down. While the Vikings are only in the second year of their down cycle, their organization is in such disarray, from top to bottom, that’s it hard to imagine them emerging from their funk anytime soon. Especially not as long as Randy Moss is on the team.
All I can say is, thank God for the Twins.

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