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Published October 17 2010

Nelson: A lonely road for a prophet

A prophet is never respected in his own country. A while back, I wrote that the Minnesota Vikings were selling out their future for immediate gain, just like the big, bad, corporate bosses we always hiss and boo around here. Hiring Bret Favre while benching Tavaris Jackson and anyone else who might have developed into something special seemed like a bad idea, even after Favre’s surprisingly successful first year as a Viking.

Of course Vikings fans, starry-eyed and cloudy-headed as usual, didn’t listen to me. Indeed, their appetites were whetted for Round Two, or better put, the Second Coming of Favre. I doubt the Savior himself would get the same fanfare and adulation as Favre did this summer.

We had radio stations giving us quarter-hour updates on Favre’s flight from Mississippi to Minnesota. Fans were swooning or joyously crying out to the heavens. Minnesotans scrambled to be in the blessed shadow on the ground cast by His Favreness’ royal transport passing overhead. Multitudes shook with ecstasy and wondered why the NFL didn’t just forfeit the 2010 season and award the Super Bowl to the Vikes. Trite live conferences were the order of the day.

It was even rumored that Favre walked across a drinking fountain without sinking.

Of course, such a man, or demigod as the case may be, has no need to practice or show up at training camp. When fans, coaches and fellow players assiduously lick the ground one walks on, then one may safely assume that effort and sweat are for the common folk. Either that or Favre has climbed the Ararat of arrogance.

But things haven’t quite gone according to plan. The other NFL teams knew what to expect this year. Favre is a year older, and even the Olympians must bow to age. So what was the Vikings’ cure? To bring in another past-his-prime player, the mopey manchild Randy Moss. And what was the fan reaction? Why, once again this year to roll on their backs and act like their stomachs are being tickled. Even better, our local AM radio shows carried the news conferences live. Riveting conferences they were, too, at least from the two or three minutes I listened. To paraphrase an old Minnesota State University Moorhead fellow student, do those stations think Fargo-Moorhead is a (expletive deleted) vegetable garden?

Rumor is, the late, great George Blanda just missed being called up by the Vikes.

I wonder how other Vikings players who were told there was no money for them reacted to the many millions paid to the latest fading stars. Usually well-playing oldsters are a delight to men my age, but Favre’s let the scraping and adulation go to his head, and all around him abet his condition.

The Vikings may yet do well this season, and Favre and Moss still have sparks of brilliance. But this dealing in antiques has surely harmed the Vikings’ future.


Nelson is a Fargo postal worker and regular contributor to The Forum’s commentary page.