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Jim Souhan: Vikings might be headed to boredom

By Jim Souhan, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) –

On Sunday, Minnesotans face a difficult choice.

What to watch on TV?

The Vikings open the season at the Metrodome against Jacksonville. That’s an option. There’s also “Food For Thought with Claire Thomas.” And a rerun of “My Name is Earl.” And a spicy new drama entitled “Government Access Programming.”

My advice: Avoid the kind of stress and excitement that can lead to myocardial infarction, and choose the Vikings. Your heart will thank you.

This might be the most boring team in franchise history.

This might be the first boring team in franchise history.

Our Vikings know drama. This is the franchise of quarterback controversies and water-borne debauchery. This is the franchise of wacky owners and rampant arrests, like the time Keith Millard told cops that his arms were more powerful than their guns.

This is the franchise that traded hundreds of players and draft picks for Herschel Walker; watched Denny Green issue statements regarding allegations about his behavior from a bunker of unknown location; twice acquired and ditched Randy Moss; landed Brett Favre just in time for him to become famous for texting pictures of his Crocs; had a head coach scalp Super Bowl tickets; and had a starting quarterback coin the term “Slappy” for back-stabbing backups.

What other franchise could give you both The Whizzinator and the Pecos River Learning Center? None other than the Vikings.

So we’re going to have to get used to the idea of the Purple being beige.

The current owners, the Wilfs, have curbed their impulsive ways. Zygi was quiet and deferential during the stadium pursuit and signed up for the current rebuilding process. Don’t you miss Roger Headrick’s coaching shorts and stopwatch? Don’t you miss Red McCombs bellowing “Purple Prahd”?

The current GM, Rick Spielman, is a professional, workmanlike guy. He, unlike Mike Lynn, will not blow smoke in your face and tell you “It’s tough in the arena.”

The coach, Leslie Frazier, is one of the classiest people you’ll ever meet. He, unlike Mike Tice and Denny, respectively, is unlikely to scalp tickets or accuse three local columnists of conspiring to get him fired.

We used to have fun in this town with Vikings coordinators. Who can forget the former offensive coordinator named Schnelker, whose first name, if I remember correctly, was “Fire.”

You could call for the Vikings’ current coordinators to get fired, but that would require looking up their names.

The 2012 Vikings possess neither of their quarterbacking staples: a controversy, or a starter known for failing to win the big game. Instead, they offer Christian Ponder, an unquestioned starter who may never play in a big game.

Even the Vikings’ schemes prompt spontaneous napping. The offense is designed to run the ball and control the clock, and the defense retains elements of the old Cover-2. Both schemes give the Vikings a chance to make the playoffs in, depending on your level of faith, either 2015 or 1986.

There’s nothing about the Vikings’ approach to inspire anger. They’re building with a wave of young players. It’s a common approach that sometimes even works.

While we wait, the team’s braintrust has erred by leaving us without someone to hate, or at least ridicule. What’s a Vikings team without a first-rate villain or a second-rate scapegoat?

What are we going to do without Lynn’s smoke rings, Schnelker’s short passes, Burnsie’s adjectives, Herschel’s tiptoes, Denny’s bunker, Cris Carter’s tantrums, Moss’ spoken-word poetry, Tice’s bluster, McCombs’ bull and Favre’s ballcap?

What are we going to do when there is nobody named Childress to fire?

The Wilfs have no choice, if they want to uphold Purple tradition and provide the level of entertainment to which Vikings fans are accustomed. They need to bring back Favre, and Moss, one more time.

What could go wrong?

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