The land of 10,000 heartbreaks

Posted: April 10, 2024

The land of 10,000 heartbreaks

Every prideful Minnesotan can recount where they were on the night of the Minneapolis Miracle — when Stefon Diggs ran along the U.S. Bank Stadium sideline hoisting the ball in the air, sending the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC Championship for only the second time in 17 years.

All hope had seemed lost. Down one to the Saints in the NFC Divisional game, with 10 seconds to go, quarterback Case Keenum launched a prayer to Stefon Diggs from the Vikings’ own 39 yard line. Diggs managed to climb the ladder and secure the reception, suddenly regaining his balance and making his way to the endzone to solidify their trip to Philadelphia. The fans in Vikings purple let out a chilling “Skol” chant that reigned throughout the U.S. Bank Stadium rafters.

In the week following this miraculous victory, the Vikings reverted back to form; they went into Philadelphia with their season on the line in an attempt to head to the Super Bowl, and lost 38-7. A common taste of so close, yet so far for this historically dissatisfying franchise.

Minnehaha sophomore Josiah Neterer said, “I had incredibly high hopes for a Lombardi trophy, only for the Vikings to be completely dismantled by the Eagles.”

For years, crushing defeats and heartbreaking snapshots of football history have haunted this franchise. Iconic names — such as Randy Moss, Adrian Peterson, Fran Tarkenton, and many more — have passed through Minnesota, but the Lombardi Trophy has never found itself in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Remarkably, despite the vast amount of disappointment, the fandom of Vikings fans never seems to waver.

“I grew up [in Minnesota] so being a Vikings fan is in my blood,” said Minnehaha first-year student Obadiah Gamble. “Even though we do bad a lot, I kind of just keep hoping.”

This tends to be the consistent theme amongst Vikings fans; the “this year is our year” mindset. Coming into the 2023-24 season with high hopes once again, as usual, things went astray. Both superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson and quarterback Kirk Cousins suffered severe injuries, but this isn’t some sort of newfound bad luck.

Consistent disappointment has plagued the Vikings since the 1970’s. The Vikings reached the big game four times in the 1970’s, and somehow managed to lose in all four attempts.

This lack of success continued until 1998 when it appeared as though things would finally turn around. With a 15-1 record in the regular season, the ‘98 Vikings were scorching hot. They had just defeated the Cardinals to send themselves to the NFC Championship.

“[The Vikings] had an amazing year that year,” said Minnehaha math teacher Richard Pluntz. “And Gary Anderson hadn’t missed a field goal all season.”

The Vikings were up seven on the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship when they had the chance to put the game away with a 38 yard field goal. They trotted out kicker Gary Anderson who had yet to miss a single kick all season, making him the first kicker in NFL history to have a perfect regular season on both field goals and extra points. What should have been a fairly easy kick became a memory of despair for Minnesotans alike.

“I remember right before that kick, one of my friends said, ‘Boy, it would be ironic if he missed this one,’” Pluntz said. “And then [Anderson] kicked it and it went wide. We all dove on my friend.”

The Vikings went on to lose the game in overtime. They still have yet to reach the Super Bowl since the 1970’s, and have struggled to find much playoff success since 2017’s miracle.

“Being a Vikings fan is an endless cycle of torture. I wish I could get out, I wish I wasn’t a Vikings fan, but I was born into this. It is ingrained into my heart and soul,” said Neterer.

To this day, the Minnesota Vikings are one of the most popular North American sports teams. There is no answer as to why Minnesotans continue their everlasting loyalty, but nothing will stop them from rooting on this team come autumn Sundays.

“I’m not sure why, but I will always love the Vikings,” said Minnehaha sophomore Camren Erickson.

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