Emmett Pearson went from 1975 until his death earlier this week without shaving his beard while he waited for the Vikings to win a Super Bowl. They came close several times, but Pearson died with his beard fully intact.
In 1975, when Drew Pearson pushed off against Nate Wright and stunned the Vikings with a Christmas Day playoff exit, another Pearson – Emmett Pearson of Vasa Township in Goodhue County of southern Minnesota – said he wouldn't shave his beard until the Vikings made good on their pledge to win a Super Bowl.
He didn't think he would have to keep the beard for long, because the Vikings of the mid-1970s were a dominant franchise that had already been to three Super Bowls in the previous six years. It was only a matter of time before the lifelong Vikings fan would get to shave his beard in celebration of a Lombardi Trophy coming home to Minnesota.
The Vikings had a chance to make his beard a one-year deal – they made it back to the Super Bowl following the 1976 season. But they lost to the Raiders. Despite some close calls to make it back to the Super Bowl in 1987, 1998, 2000 and 2009, it never happened. Pearson's beard became his trademark.
Pearson died Monday at his home at the age of 83 and was buried Friday. He spent the last 38 years of his life with the beard he wanted to get rid of but couldn't until the Vikings won a Super Bowl.
Rest in peace, Emmett. It's improbable it will happen this year, but, when the Vikings do finally win the Super Bowl that has eluded the franchise for more than half a century, your contribution to the cause as a member of the strong Vikings fan base won't be forgotten.
The Vikings still haven't decided whether or not Blair Walsh will handle kicking duties Sunday. He has been playing through a hamstring injury that has had punter Jeff Locke handling kickoff duties the last two games.
Four Vikings were ruled out of Sunday's game – Josh Freeman, Matt Asiata, Rhett Ellison and Rodney Smith. Two others – Jamarca Sanford (ankle) and Fred Evans (knee) – are listed as questionable. Both were added to the injury report Friday. Evans didn't take part in practice and Sanford was limited.
If Sanford can't go, the Vikings will likely start Mistral Raymond and Andrew Sendejo at safety.
The Packers have officially ruled out LB Clay Matthews and tight ends Jermichael Finley and Ryan Taylor for Sunday. Wide receiver James Jones is listed as doubtful but is expected to miss the game. Linebackers Brad Jones and Nick Perry are both listed as questionable after being limited in practice throughout the week.
The Packers are currently 9-point favorites at most of the sports book in Las Vegas this week. Until they start winning, the Vikings may be an underdog in just about every game they play from here on through, especially seeing that they've lost their last two games by a total of 41 points.
Former Viking great Joey Browner will enter the Vikings Ring of Honor Sunday.
From the Running Fast and Loose With the Facts Department comes this: former All-Pro safety Rodney Harrison said in an interview on NBC Sports Radio that he believes Freeman could be faking his concussion symptoms in order to get out of a bad situation in Minnesota. It's a pretty damning charge by Harrison, especially since all signs point to him having no inside information about Freeman's status. However, given Christian Ponder's rib injury that took him out of the lineup, there are some who question the legitimacy of Freeman's injury. But, until you have more facts to go with, unsubstantiated claims about a player's willingness to play aren't wise. Freeman said Friday he hadn't heard about Harrison's remarks, but Freeman said he lives in his truth.
"As a competitor, the last thing you want to do is have a situation where you're sitting out the following week due to being on the sideline most of the week in practice," Freeman said. "So my feeling toward that is all I can do is live my truth. I didn't hear any comments. I really don't pay a lot of attention to what's going on in the outside world. I'm just focused on what I can do to be the best quarterback I can be for this team regardless of my role on Sundays."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.