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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Zulgad: Heart-breaking loss is nothing new for Vikings franchise

By Judd Zulgad

MINNEAPOLIS – As Blair Walsh set up to attempt a 27-yard field goal with 26 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of the Vikings’ playoff game against Seattle on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium, members of the team’s defense began discussing what they would do in the final seconds after Walsh had given Minnesota a 2-point lead.

“We were kind of already talking about what they might try to do with the last seconds,” safety Harrison Smith said. “What defenses we were going to be in. (With Seattle) out of timeouts, just make one tackle in bounds.”

Clearly, Harry and his teammates haven’t been around this franchise long enough. One thing no member of the Minnesota Vikings should ever do is assume there will be a happy ending in the playoffs.

This lesson was hammered home again Sunday, when Walsh’s attempt sailed wide left, giving the Seahawks a 10-9 victory and adding to the Vikings’ list of heartbreaking defeats.

Minnesota was granted an NFL franchise in 1961. They qualified for the playoffs for the first time after the 1968 season and have now made 28 postseason appearances. In 47 games, the Vikings have gone 19-28, including four Super Bowl losses in the 1970s.

Presenting these simply as won-loss figures does a disservice to long-time Vikings fans and tells only a small portion of the story. Many of these defeats were forgotten quickly, but what makes the Vikings the Vikings is their ability to punch their fan base in the gut with a brutal loss.

Sunday’s setback, a game in which the Vikings held a 9-0 lead after three quarters, will be added to a list that can bring a Vikings fan to tears with a simple mention of the season and opponent: 1975, Dallas; 1987, Washington; 1998, Atlanta; and 2009, New Orleans.

Chicago Cubs fans can lament their team’s misfortunes all they want, but when it comes to NFL franchises, you would be hard pressed to find a fan base with as many tough to swallow playoff moments as the Vikings.

There are three Vikings remaining on the roster from that 2009 team that lost to the Saints in overtime, despite outgaining New Orleans by 218 yards. The list includes defensive end Brian Robison, linebacker Chad Greenway and running back Adrian Peterson.

Greenway, asked to undergo the root-canal like exercise of comparing what happened in the Superdome and what took place Sunday on a frigid field at TCF Bank Stadium, said, “I think today is right up there.”

Peterson agreed. “It felt like there was so much promise for us this season,” he said. “The way we came out gave us a chance to come through. I feel like we dominated throughout this game and kind of gave it away in the fourth quarter, and in the fashion that we did is right there with the NFC Championship Game.”

Peterson played a significant role in both losses.

He was charged with two of the Vikings’ six fumbles and lost one of them, the team lost three total and had five turnovers, in New Orleans. On Sunday, Peterson was stripped of the ball by Seattle safety Kam Chancellor after making a catch in the fourth quarter and the Seahawks recovered at the Vikings’ 40-yard line.

Seattle had pulled within 9-7 on its previous possession and this time drove to the Vikings 28 before Steven Hauschka hit a 28-yard field goal to give the Seahawks their first lead.

If there hadn’t been the familiar feeling of “here we go again” before that, there certainly was after. Not surprisingly, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, who has gone a long way toward changing the culture around this team in his two seasons, disagreed.

“I never felt like there was any, ‘Here we go again,’ today,” Zimmer said. “We missed the field goal, we lost the game. Other than that, they hit a kind of fluky play (on a broken play that resulted in a 35-yard completion to the Vikings 4 in the fourth quarter). We played great on defense all day. We did a good job in the running game, we did a good job on their quarterback. We missed a chip-shot field goal, so that’s life.”

More accurately, that’s life when you follow the Minnesota Vikings.

The post Zulgad: Heart-breaking loss is nothing new for Vikings franchise appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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