Something about the Minnesota Vikings 2022 season felt different from the start. From before the start, actually. I’m not quite sure why I felt this way back in July 2022. Maybe it was the intrigue of a new head coach coming off a Super Bowl-winning season with the LA Rams. Or it could be my rediscovery of the Minnesota Vikings Podcast over the summer, which I listened to consistently throughout the offseason into the regular season. Whatever the case, for the first time in several years, I felt extremely excited about the return of Minnesota Vikings football.
It’s safe to say that the Vikings had some of the best of the best games this season, as well as the worst of the worst (unless you’re an Eagles, Cowboys, Lions, or Packers fan, that is). Yet even the best games were a heart-racing, intense ride. The most comfortable games to watch this season were our opener against the Packers and the closer against the Bears. While beating the Packers week one was incredible, my favorite game is split between that incredible match against the Buffalo Bills and our historic comeback over the Indianapolis Colts to win our title as NFC North Champions. Though it was fun to win on Thanksgiving night against the New England Patriots as well.
Actually, while all of those thrilling finishes were great to watch, on principal I have to give my favorite game of the 2022 season to our regular season matchup with the New York Giants on Christmas Eve. The reason? It was my first ever in-person Vikings game in U.S. Bank Stadium. And what an experience it was! Minnesota’s home field certainly does game day right. The attention to detail, the Vikings-themed hype, the SKOL Chant, the atmosphere—it was all perfect. And to finish off a fantastic game in an incredible space with a record-setting field goal kick? What a Christmas gift come early! When that happened, the Giants fans sitting next to me and my dad left so quickly, one of them forgot his phone. Absolutely wonderful. If I were rich and lived in Minnesota, I would absolutely splurge on season tickets for me and my dad. I already want to go back for another game. Which is no surprise at all, considering how much I enjoy football with this team.
However, if we had beat the Packers the very next week on New Year’s Day, that might’ve ended up as my second favorite game this season, as it was also one I got to watch in person at Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers. The rivalry match in person was so fun, as Minnesota fans definitely traveled well. We were surrounded by allies and enemies alike in the stands. We were only a few rows back from the visitors’ bench, and it was so surreal to be that close to players my dad and I root for by name each week. Though I wish the game had gone much better for us, the experience of watching a rivalry game at Lambeau was a very special and cool memory I now get to share with my dad. Neither of us will ever forget it, though both of us want to keep returning to Lambeau until the Vikings walk away with a win to wash the bad taste of that loss out of our mouths.
And, while I still have little love for the Packers football team, going to Green Bay gave me a newfound appreciation for their fans. The Packers’ fan base is quite unique and has an endearing redneck quality to it. Green Bay fans are kind people, I must say, and us Vikings fans might be a little bit snobbish… But then again, we did lose very badly that day, so there was a lot of wounded pride to go around for those clad in purple.
As a fan of the Minnesota Vikings, despite a hard playoff loss to a team I fully expected us to beat, I am optimistic about the team’s future. Us Vikings fans sometimes have a hard time trusting our team and hoping we’ll win a Super Bowl, but I like the new coaching staff. (On the offensive side of the ball, to clarify.) I will be sad if we lose some of our long-time veteran players over the offseason, as I want so many of them to be a part of that Super Bowl winning team. Harrison Smith was a rookie during my first year of seriously watching the Vikings as a fan. Adam Thielen, Minnesota’s hometown hero, also comes to mind as a player I’d love to see get a Super Bowl Ring with us. But regardless of what happens to the players who make up our team, I’m grateful for the memories of an exciting 13-win season and eager to see what happens in 2023. After all, this year, we reversed last year’s close-game failures, posting an impressive 11-0 record in one score games—basically the opposite of what we did in 2021. If we could make that much progress in a single season, how much more will we grow in 2023?
I will admit, though I am happy with what happened this season, there was a small part of me that dared to genuinely hope (for the first time since 2017) if this year would actually be our year to win a Super Bowl. The season as a whole was a fun, bumpy ride, and given our franchise’s reputation for poor playoff luck, this year did seem to be the right tone. When the Vikings do win the Super Bowl, it’s likely to come off of a chaotic season filled with impossible odds and question marks. We will win the Super Bowl as the underdogs, the team no one really believes in. It just fits with the narrative around the Minnesota Vikings. (So…next year, guys?)
I’m thankful for this season. A season of incredibly exciting football, full of fun games that (mostly) went our way for once, that I got to share with my dad. This was definitely my favorite football season as a Vikings fan, and one I think I’ll remember for a long, long time. Skol Vikings, and thanks for a wonderful season!