Lombardi: Why I hate the Vikings

Boyhood dream team now an embarrassment to the league

I try and keep this a secret during my daily activities around Green Bay, but I was born in St. Paul, Minn. I grew up a Vikings fan. I wanted to be Chuck Foreman. Fran Tarkenton, Bob Lurtsema and the Purple People Eaters were my childhood heroes. I met Bud Grant when I was 12 and it was a big moment for me. I cried when they lost to the Raiders in the Super Bowl and I died a little when my dad moved us to Seattle. I loved the uniforms, I loved the helmets, I loved the logo, I loved the games in the snow and I loved how they won their division every year. My grandfather was gone by then and the Packers stunk, so there was no loyalty there for a boy my age. Until my father started working for the Seahawks and my love for him overcame my love for the Vikings, I would have never considered rooting for another team.

After the Seahawks, my old man worked for the NFL and we had to be non-partisan. Working in the league after college purged me of any loyalty to any individual team. But deep down, I always had a thing for the Vikings. It is hard to shake the loyalty of a five year old. They were what I knew as a boy and I have so many childhood memories of them and their victories. But over the last 20 years, they have turned that secret allegiance into mild disgust and outright resentment.

Moving indoors was the first mistake. Hiring Dennis Green and then Mike Tice were mistakes. Letting Randy Moss hold the team hostage with his antics was also an error. Green was very permissive and what some people call a players' coach, which translates into letting the players coach. Tice has only solidified the reality of the situation that anything goes in the Twin Cities. He has presided over big starts followed by massive collapses and has been caught scalping Super Bowl tickets. Sure everyone does it, but only he gets caught. Moss showed that there is no accountability within this franchise if the talent is there. What is the tipping point with this team? How many incidents and how long will they put up with bad behavior? Had they stepped up in the beginning, Moss would have probably been better behaved, because even he knows how far he could push.

The Vikings are an embarrassment to the league, the state of Minnesota and to their fans. They probably do not care about any of this and that is ultimately the root of the problem. These players have no pride in themselves or their team, because if they did, they would have acted differently. They do not respect their coach or owner, because if they did, they would have acted differently. That lack of pride and respect is reflected in their quality and style of play. It is reflected in what they do during their free time. I am not the first person to point out that they are not the first group of athletes to get involved in a sex/booze/drug scandal, but only the Vikings do it with such class. The bizarre question in all of this is: What did they have to celebrate?

I only hope that the Packers do not overestimate the chaos surrounding the Vikings and expect an easy go against the Purple and White. Nothing is more vicious than a cornered animal. The Vikings can go two ways right now, they can quit or they can lash out with zeal and effort. Based on the Bears game, it looks like they have quit. I hope that that trend continues.

It took moving to Green Bay to make me actively root against the Vikings, but it took their poor play, their lack of integrity and their total lack of class and honor for me to actually detest the team I once loved. I just feel sorry for that five year old kid sitting in front of the TV each Sunday and how his experience is so different from mine.

I try and keep this a secret during my daily activities around Green Bay, but I was born in St. Paul, Minn. I grew up a Vikings fan. I wanted to be Chuck Foreman. Fran Tarkenton, Bob Lurtsema and the Purple People Eaters were my childhood heroes. I met Bud Grant when I was 12 and it was a big moment for me. I cried when they lost to the Raiders in the Super Bowl and I died a little when my dad moved us to Seattle. I loved the uniforms, I loved the helmets, I loved the logo, I loved the games in the snow and I loved how they won their division every year. My grandfather was gone by then and the Packers stunk, so there was no loyalty there for a boy my age. Until my father started working for the Seahawks and my love for him overcame my love for the Vikings, I would have never considered rooting for another team.

After the Seahawks, my old man worked for the NFL and we had to be non-partisan. Working in the league after college purged me of any loyalty to any individual team. But deep down, I always had a thing for the Vikings. It is hard to shake the loyalty of a five year old. They were what I knew as a boy and I have so many childhood memories of them and their victories. But over the last 20 years, they have turned that secret allegiance into mild disgust and outright resentment.

Moving indoors was the first mistake. Hiring Dennis Green and then Mike Tice were mistakes. Letting Randy Moss hold the team hostage with his antics was also an error. Green was very permissive and what some people call a players' coach, which translates into letting the players coach. Tice has only solidified the reality of the situation that anything goes in the Twin Cities. He has presided over big starts followed by massive collapses and has been caught scalping Super Bowl tickets. Sure everyone does it, but only he gets caught. Moss showed that there is no accountability within this franchise if the talent is there. What is the tipping point with this team? How many incidents and how long will they put up with bad behavior? Had they stepped up in the beginning, Moss would have probably been better behaved, because even he knows how far he could push.

The Vikings are an embarrassment to the league, the state of Minnesota and to their fans. They probably do not care about any of this and that is ultimately the root of the problem. These players have no pride in themselves or their team, because if they did, they would have acted differently. They do not respect their coach or owner, because if they did, they would have acted differently. That lack of pride and respect is reflected in their quality and style of play. It is reflected in what they do during their free time. I am not the first person to point out that they are not the first group of athletes to get involved in a sex/booze/drug scandal, but only the Vikings do it with such class. The bizarre question in all of this is: What did they have to celebrate?

I only hope that the Packers do not overestimate the chaos surrounding the Vikings and expect an easy go against the Purple and White. Nothing is more vicious than a cornered animal. The Vikings can go two ways right now, they can quit or they can lash out with zeal and effort. Based on the Bears game, it looks like they have quit. I hope that that trend continues.

It took moving to Green Bay to make me actively root against the Vikings, but it took their poor play, their lack of integrity and their total lack of class and honor for me to actually detest the team I once loved. I just feel sorry for that five year old kid sitting in front of the TV each Sunday and how his experience is so different from mine.

I try and keep this a secret during my daily activities around Green Bay, but I was born in St. Paul, Minn. I grew up a Vikings fan. I wanted to be Chuck Foreman. Fran Tarkenton, Bob Lurtsema and the Purple People Eaters were my childhood heroes. I met Bud Grant when I was 12 and it was a big moment for me. I cried when they lost to the Raiders in the Super Bowl and I died a little when my dad moved us to Seattle. I loved the uniforms, I loved the helmets, I loved the logo, I loved the games in the snow and I loved how they won their division every year. My grandfather was gone by then and the Packers stunk, so there was no loyalty there for a boy my age. Until my father started working for the Seahawks and my love for him overcame my love for the Vikings, I would have never considered rooting for another team.

After the Seahawks, my old man worked for the NFL and we had to be non-partisan. Working in the league after college purged me of any loyalty to any individual team. But deep down, I always had a thing for the Vikings. It is hard to shake the loyalty of a five year old. They were what I knew as a boy and I have so many childhood memories of them and their victories. But over the last 20 years, they have turned that secret allegiance into mild disgust and outright resentment.

Moving indoors was the first mistake. Hiring Dennis Green and then Mike Tice were mistakes. Letting Randy Moss hold the team hostage with his antics was also an error. Green was very permissive and what some people call a players' coach, which translates into letting the players coach. Tice has only solidified the reality of the situation that anything goes in the Twin Cities. He has presided over big starts followed by massive collapses and has been caught scalping Super Bowl tickets. Sure everyone does it, but only he gets caught. Moss showed that there is no accountability within this franchise if the talent is there. What is the tipping point with this team? How many incidents and how long will they put up with bad behavior? Had they stepped up in the beginning, Moss would have probably been better behaved, because even he knows how far he could push.

The Vikings are an embarrassment to the league, the state of Minnesota and to their fans. They probably do not care about any of this and that is ultimately the root of the problem. These players have no pride in themselves or their team, because if they did, they would have acted differently. They do not respect their coach or owner, because if they did, they would have acted differently. That lack of pride and respect is reflected in their quality and style of play. It is reflected in what they do during their free time. I am not the first person to point out that they are not the first group of athletes to get involved in a sex/booze/drug scandal, but only the Vikings do it with such class. The bizarre question in all of this is: What did they have to celebrate?

I only hope that the Packers do not overestimate the chaos surrounding the Vikings and expect an easy go against the Purple and White. Nothing is more vicious than a cornered animal. The Vikings can go two ways right now, they can quit or they can lash out with zeal and effort. Based on the Bears game, it looks like they have quit. I hope that that trend continues.

It took moving to Green Bay to make me actively root against the Vikings, but it took their poor play, their lack of integrity and their total lack of class and honor for me to actually detest the team I once loved. I just feel sorry for that five year old kid sitting in front of the TV each Sunday and how his experience is so different from mine.


John Lombardi

Editor's note: John Lombardi is the grandson of legendary coach Vince Lombardi. John resides with his family in Green Bay . His football experience includes stints with two teams in the World League (now NFL Europe); in the scouting departments of the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans; and graduate assistant coach and director of football operations at Vanderbilt. He will be contributing columns for PackerReport.com.


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