The Vikings have gone through a full offseason of practices in preparation for the 2010 season, with their preseason starting Saturday. But have they moved beyond their last game almost seven months ago?
The Vikings 2010 season doesn't officially get underway until Saturday when they play the St. Louis Rams. It will be the first time the team has been on the field since their heartbreaking loss to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game. It was a loss that gnawed at them for months.
But, are they done with it? Not only does it depend on who you ask, it depends on when you ask them.
was coming off the practice field at Mankato as the Vikings took their latest step in the preparation process for beginning the new season and the topic of the loss to the Saints came up.
When asked how long it took the players to get over the loss in January, Leber said that it was a process that, like a deep gash in an arm or leg, took time to heal.
"It took a lot longer to get past that one than it has any other loss I've been involved with," Leber said. "You play this game to play in the Super Bowl with the championship at stake. We were very close. We were right there. It didn't happen and it hurt. But at some point you have to get past it and start looking ahead not behind."
Leber said that the minicamps and offseason training activities have bridged the gap between the end of the 2009 season and the realistic start of the 2010 season – returning to the scene of the crime Sept. 9 at New Orleans. But, when asked if those painful emotions won't re-surface when the Vikings prepare for the Saints, it would seem the players aren't over it.
"We're going to have to look at the film when we're game-planning for them," Leber said. "I'm sure a lot of those emotions are going to come back. It's pretty much the same two teams that played in January. When we get to that game, there will be a lot of memories coming back when we get on the field."
Asked which one it was – we're over it or not? – Leber did his best to differentiate.
"We're past it and moving forward, but we haven't forgot," Leber said. "We can't change what happened. We can control what happens in the future. Winning helps you get over things."
The Vikings had their only off day of training camp Sunday after five straight days of two-a-day practices. To date, none of them have been cancelled or forced inside due to weather concerns. They return to practice today for the final eight sessions of training camp – two-a-day sessions each of the next four days until camp breaks Thursday.
From the 20/20 Hindsight Department comes this: With all the talk of Brett Favre, punctuated by the ESPN version of a eulogy last week when word broke that Favre was texting teammates he was going to retire, there was one subject that hasn't really been dug too deeply. The genesis of the split between the Packers and Favre. It harkens back to April 28, 2007. As the second round turned the to third and all Vikings fans could talk about was Adrian Peterson, word came out that the Raiders were openly shopping Randy Moss for a third-round pick in return. Word later came out that Brett Favre lobbied the Packers front office to cut a deal. They didn't. The Patriots traded the 110th pick of the draft to the Raiders for Moss and the rest has been history. Moss helped the Patriots to the first 16-0 regular season in league history. Favre and the Packers struggled in 2007 and it may have been the start of the unrest that marked the final couple of years with Favre and the front office in Green Bay.
The boys from the 20/20 Hindsight Department wanted to add the follow postscript: With the pick they received for Moss, the Raiders selected cornerback John Bowie of Cincinnati. Bowie had two career tackles with the Raiders and is currently trying to make the Browns after being released by the Raiders.
The Vikings expect Percy Harvin back at practice this week and as early as today. He has been missing from practice since last Sunday following the death of his grandmother.
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.