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For Once, The Minnesota Vikings Could Be A Team Of Destiny

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

There's sad, and then there's the playoff history of the Minnesota Vikings. Despite having some of the greatest teams in NFL history, the Vikings have never won a title. In fact, they were the first team to lose four Super Bowls. You've heard of the Hail Mary pass, right? Well, you can think the Vikings for that. The phrase Hail Mary pass was first used in 1975 after the Dallas Cowboys' last-second miracle touchdown pass beat the Vikings. So last night, with the Vikings trailing the New Orleans Saints going down to the final play, most fans thought it was going to be yet another awful moment until it wasn't.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PAUL ALLEN: Case on a deep throw, steps up in the pocket. He'll fire to the right side, caught by Diggs.

UNIDENTIFIED SPORTSCASTER: (Screaming) Oh, my God, oh, my God, no way.

ALLEN: (Screaming) At the 30, 10 - touchdown.

UNIDENTIFIED SPORTSCASTER: (Screaming) What a miracle finish.

ALLEN: (Screaming) Are you kidding me? It's a Minneapolis miracle.

UNIDENTIFIED SPORTSCASTER: (Screaming) No way.

MCEVERS: Could that Minneapolis miracle lead to the first Vikings Super Bowl title? To talk about that, we turn to Ben Goessling, who covers the Vikings for the Star Tribune. Hey, Ben.

BEN GOESSLING: Hi. How are you?

MCEVERS: Good. So you are a native Minnesotan. Can you explain how bad things have actually been over the years?

GOESSLING: I guess I always put it this way. It's appropriate in some ways that Charles Schulz, the creator of "Peanuts," is from Minnesota because obviously everybody knows the skit in "Peanuts" where Charlie Brown thinks he's going to get to kick the football. And every time he gets his hopes up and then Lucy pulls the ball out, he ends up sitting on the ground, you know, sort of wondering what just happened. And that really epitomizes the Vikings' experience in the playoffs. I mean, every time they get close, something happens. So I mean, really that's what made yesterday so remarkable.

MCEVERS: What's it like in Minnesota right now?

GOESSLING: People are on cloud 9 right now. To be in that stadium yesterday when they scored that touchdown, it was just kind of this mixture of shock and exultation in a lot of ways. And you see that kind of spilling forward into today. People are, you know, all over social media, raving about the game as people posted videos of where they were, you know, what they were doing when they when the game ended, you know, what their reaction to the play was. There were people out doing snow angels.

MCEVERS: (Laughter).

GOESSLING: And it was no small feat given the fact it was sub-zero temperatures for most of the day and we got a bunch of snow. So it's the kind of win, as a couple of players said yesterday, you almost have to go forward now and make it to the Super Bowl and win it. You don't want to waste something like that and what it meant for fans. And it's quite a remarkable thing for people around here that are used to (laughter) suffering for a long time.

MCEVERS: We should say that the Super Bowl will be in Minneapolis this year.

GOESSLING: It will.

MCEVERS: So if the Vikings win next weekend, they'll be the first host team to actually play in the Super Bowl. I mean, does it feel like with that plus last night, things are finally coming together? Or do you not want to say anything and jinx it?

GOESSLING: Well, I mean, players certainly have been asked that question. Does this feel like a team of destiny? And you know, the number of things they've had go wrong in the past - a lot of those could've happened this year. They lose their starting quarterback, Sam Bradford, after week one. Dalvin Cook, their first pick in the draft, the running back, goes down in week four. I mean, a lot of these injuries that you think, OK, this is going to be what derails them really haven't.

So you know, it's going to be very interesting to see what the Super Bowl is like because, you know, the NFL tries to do everything they can to make it as neutral an environment as possible. But the Vikings are going to have some built-in advantages if they're in that game. It really would be a one-of-a-kind environment for a Super Bowl if they make it. And you know, at this point, you know, obviously we root for stories as much as anything, and it would be a fantastic story if they make it.

MCEVERS: Ben Goessling covers the Vikings for the Star Tribune. Thanks so much.

GOESSLING: Thank you - enjoyed it.

(SOUNDBITE OF JAMES MCLEOD'S "SKOL, VIKINGS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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