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January 22, 2018

Here's how they're taking the Vikings loss in Minnesota

[Spoiler warning: Not well]

The city of Minneapolis woke up Monday morning with a slightly different outlook on life than those in the Delaware Valley – assuming the millions of Eagles fans living in the area even went to sleep at all. 

In Philly, the euphoria of Sunday night's 38-7 win over the Vikings was still alive and well. In Minnesota, however, it was a much different scene.

Before long, the Eagles – and thousands of their fans – will travel to Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII. And for Vikings fans, that makes the loss sting just a little bit more. 

Soul crushers

Bob Sansevere | St. Paul Pioneer Press

There will be no bringing it home. No making history as the first team to host a Super Bowl in its stadium. None of that fun stuff. Just misery in the playoffs, like always.

Of all the soul-crushing postseason losses the Vikings have suffered, and there have been plenty, this was the soul-crushingest of them all... 

The Eagles didn’t just hijack momentum from the Vikings. It was like they ripped out the Vikings’ heart, aorta and everything else that gave them life this season.

And remember, the Eagles did this without quarterback Carson Wentz, the guy who likely would have been the NFL’s Most Valuable Player if he hadn’t suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 14.

They did it with a journeyman backup, Nick Foles, who threw for more than 350 yards and three touchdowns and helped set up a Feb. 4 date at U.S. Bank Stadium against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.  []

Making the loss even worse for the Vikings faithful was how the game started. After Case Keenum led their offense down the field for an opening drive touchdown, they were starting to believe that this could be their season.

I know they say not to believe everything you read, but just take a look at what some Vikings fans had to say about the loss and try to tell me this wasn't a "soul-crushing" loss. The Vikings have been road favorites twice in the conference championships – last night, which saw them lose by 31 points to the Eagles; and in 2001, when they were shut out, 41-0, by the Giants. 

So what made this year worse? It was supposed to be their year.

Loss comes at you fast

Brian Arola | Mankato Free Press

A couple tables over, Mike Lundgren said the Diggs catch felt like a symbol of changing times.

“You always want to believe,” he said. “So many people were down last week, and when that catch was made it rejuvenated the fans and the team.”

Their enthusiasm only picked up when the Vikings scored on their opening drive. The bar erupted in cheers, followed by a “Skol” chant.

From there, not much more went right. A Case Keenum interception returned for a touchdown set off 24 unanswered points for the Eagles by the half. The scene at the bar was subdued, some fans dejected and others starting to talk themselves into a comeback...

“It’s only halftime,” repeated Eli Nelson a few times.

Asked how a loss would feel, he said “like every single other year. We get our hopes up and they let us down.”  []

'I'm very depressed.'

Jeff Wagner | CBS Minnesota

“What an absolute let down man. That was crazy. We came out flat, defense didn’t even show up,” said fan Michael Carbone.

“Depressed, I’m very depressed,” added [Vikings fan Mackenzie] Weber.

Most fans didn’t stick around to see the ending. And why should they when you consider it’s one they’ve already seen several times.

“You’ve been through ’98, you’ve been through ’01 getting crushed 41-0. You know how it feels to get crushed,” said Weber. “I want our city to go to the Super Bowl. When is it gonna happen? When?  []

When the Vikings players arrived back in Minnesota, the video was a bagpipe-playing-amazing-grace away from being a full-blown funeral procession. 

Fans who were brave enough to travel to Philly for the NFC Championship also began returning home on Monday morning. How was their flight? "Sad and quiet," they told local reporters.

Long road home

Staff | KARE 11 (NBC)

Some fans automatically talked about how hopeful they are for next season, but most fans were still processing the blowout game.

"It's a damper on everything, not interested in going to the Super Bowl anymore," one fan said. "We'll watch it and see the commercials"

Many fans also told KARE 11 they were shocked at how Eagles fans treated them. While they said some were nice, fans shared that most were not and some situations turned violent.  []

Needless to say, the nice people of Minnesota were not prepared for Philly or its fans, who reportedly threw beer cans at the Vikings team bus. 

Oh, the stories they will tell

Diane Mizutani | St. Paul Pioneer Press

So much for the City of Brotherly Love.

“Yeah,” Thielen said, calling the lack of sportsmanship a bad look for the entire NFL. “I think that’s kind of ridiculous for fans to be acting that way. You know, I guess it is what it is.”

Eagles fans have a long-standing reputation as some of the most volatile in the league, and a quick scan of social media shows they were no different Sunday evening... 

“I’ve heard some crazy things,” Thielen said. “You don’t ever want to see that. Honestly, it’s just a game. You love when fans are passionate about their team and stuff like that. When it starts crossing the line, I think that’s ridiculous. I think there were a lot of lines crossed. You know, at the same time, it is what it is. You have to be the better person and walk away from those situations and try to lead by example and show people how it should be done.”  []

Believe it or not, those stories didn't stop one Vikings fan from doing something nice for the city of Philadelphia.

Giving back

WCCO Minneapolis | CBS Minnesota

After the Vikings loss at Philadelphia, Vikings fan Jessica Brennan Leibrock of Farmington is encouraging fans to channel their heartbreak and anger at Eagles fans by donating to the Eagles Charitable Foundation. It helps more than one million low-income children in the Philadelphia area.

The goal is to raise $38,000.  []

See, some stories do have happy endings – just not the story of the 2017 Minnesota Vikings.

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