Vikings Look to End "The Streak"

It's something players and coaches of the Vikings don't like to talk about, but it will take center stage in the season opener today -- it's called "The Streak."

In football history, several moments are known by catchphrases -- The Hail Mary, The Catch, The Drive, The Immaculate Reception, The Holy Roller. All of these bring back vivid memories to hard-core football fans.

While the Vikings don't like to talk about it, the phrase "The Streak" has been applied to the team, and it's something they are looking to bury and leave behind them today when they open the regular season at Chicago.

The Streak is an 11-game road losing streak the Vikings bring with them into Champaign today -- a growing list of 11 straight games in which the Vikings have lost away from the Metrodome.

As hard as it may seem to believe, the Vikings last road win came on Thanksgiving Day 2000, when the team beat up on an overmatched Dallas Cowboys. After that, it's been all downhill.

The Vikings ended the 2000 season with three straight road losses -- dropping games to St. Louis and Indianapolis in the regular season and then to the New York Giants in the postseason. That was followed up by losing all eight road games last season.

While Daunte Culpepper addressed the matter by telling VU, "We're not concerned about (the Streak). We can win any time, any place against any team. We just want to play right now" it isn't that simple.

Not only have the recent Vikings been losing on the road, they've been losing big. Of those 11 losses, eight of them have been by 10 points or more, including losses of 21 and 41 points in 2000 and defeats of 27, 31 and 16 points last year.

Most associated with the Vikings believe if the team can go 4-4 on the road and take of its business at home, the team will finish 10-6 and make the playoffs. However, the first order of business will be to end "The Streak." Will that happen today? We'll find out in a few hours.

* The Vikings have fared pretty well on the road at Chicago. While the team lost 17-10 last year, the team had won the previous five at Soldier Field and eight of the previous nine games -- a better record vs. the Bears than they have at the Metrodome.
* Since 1996, the Vikings have opened their regular season on the road just twice -- winning both of them. The last time the team played the Bears on opening day was in 1995, with Chicago winning 31-14.
* The San Diego Chargers signed CB Quentin Jammer to a six-year contract Saturday, leaving just Bryant McKinnie (now in the 44th day of his holdout) and Arizona's Wendell Bryant as the lone unsigned first-round picks.
* Mike Tice has said for the Vikings to be successful, the team will have to establish the run. That won't be easy vs. the Bears, who led the NFC and were second in the NFL by allowing just 81 yards a game on the ground to opponents.
* VU friend Floyd the Barber, a columnist for the Internet's Guru Report -- a fantasy football website -- had an interesting quote in his weekly column. It's pretty obvious that Mitch Berger is not a fan of Tice. Check out this quote on the new-look Vikings of which he isn't a part: "Mike Tice is just an extension of the organization -- No class. None," Berger said. "Mike Tice is a meathead. I have no respect for that organization in any manner. As far as I'm concerned, when Denny Green walked out of the door, so did all the class."
Pretty tough talk for a kicker -- especially one that isn't named Gramatica.

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