A game to remember

I’ve been a Vikings’ fan since I was five or six years old and I’m going to be 49 on the day after Super Bowl LII (that’s 52 if you are not a Roman Numeral expert).

So that’s 43 years of being a fan of the Purple, and before Sunday, none of us loyal Viking fans have ever witnessed a finish that even comes close to the ending of the Vikings/Saints NFC Divisional Playoff game.

I take that back.

We’ve never watched a finish that came out in the Vikings’ favor like the one before Sunday’s 29-24 miracle finish at U.S. Bank Stadium — a win that pushed the Vikings into the upcoming NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

As Purple fans of all ages know, the Vikings have been through their share of heartache so we know how Saints fans are going to feel for awhile.

About once a decade, Viking fans get their heart ripped out.

In the 1970s, it was the Dallas Cowboys that started the history of what some like to call a curse.

In the 1980s, they lost a heartbreaker to the Washington Redskins that would have sent the Purple to their fifth Super Bowl.

In the 1998 season, the 15-1 Vikings fell to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game in devastating fashion.

In the 2009 season, the Saints cruelly took out the Vikings in the game before the big game.

Two years ago, it was Blair Walsh missing a chip shot against the Seattle Seahawks in the opening round of the playoffs.

And then Sunday happened and all the devastating defeats of year’s past suddenly didn’t seem so bad.

Stefon Diggs hauled in a last-ditch pass from Case Keenum and raced to the end zone sending the Vikings and their passionate fan base into delirium.

My favorite interview I saw after the game was the one on ESPN by the Vikings’ standout defensive end Everson Griffen.

He couldn’t believe what happened. He couldn’t describe what he just saw and was almost speechless.

He was exactly like all of us fans.

Griffen’s words were almost to a T like the five phone conversations I had after the game with my son Aaron, my girlfriend Susan, my sister Jill, my nephew Nathan and my daughter Emily.

“Oh my gosh …”

“Did that just happen?”

“Can you believe it?”

“That’s unbelievable … Oh my gosh … I’m speechless …”

Seconds before, I sat on the same couch that I watched most of the first 16 games of the Vikings’ 2017 season in disbelief.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I’m the eternal optimist and think my team can win any game under any circumstance.

But 61 yards away from paydirt, no timeouts, 10 seconds on the clock, trailing by one, even my hopes were quickly diminishing.

The following thoughts were going through my head:

“How could the Vikings blow a 17-point lead?”

“Now we have to hear all about the greatness of Drew Brees.”

“Man, it’s going to be a long off-season.”

“I don’t think I can watch next week’s conference championship games.”

And then Keenum to Diggs happened. And I’m still stunned.

I can watch another 43 years worth of Viking games and will never see a finish like the one that happened in Minneapolis on Sunday.

And that’s OK. Sunday’s miracle finish will be talked about forever.

Skol Vikings!