It was an ignominious end to a long and frustrating Vikings season.
Arizona Cardinals 18, Minnesota Vikings 17.
Vikings' fans throughout Minnesota felt as if they had been kicked in the stomach when officials ruled that the Cardinals' Nathan Poole's 28-yard touchdown reception -- a fourth-and-25 desperation pass -- was complete.
The Vikings stirred up the purple faithful's passion this year with a 6-0 start, only to stumble and lose several games to some of the least distinguished outfits in the NFL. Last week, just when some of the fans were starting to jump off the bandwagon, the Vikings upset the Kansas City Chiefs, leaving lowly Arizona as the only hurdle to their return to the NFL playoffs.
Any hopes for a shot at Super Bowl glory evaporated late Sunday afternoon as Minnesota fans watched television replays of a game the Vikings couldn't put away. The Vikings' six-game win streak at the season's start will now serve only as a bitter reminder of how swiftly athletic fortunes can change.
Crestfallen Vikings fans will now have to dream of next year or find a new outlet for their emotions. There's always the Wild, the Twins and the Timberwolves for pro fans. The football Golden Gophers have a chance to win 10 games and earn a national ranking with a win Wednesday at the Sun Bowl. Central Minnesotans who are St. John's University football fans can still revel in their improbable and glorious championship season.
Better yet, how about checking out area high school teams? The high school athletes might not be able to guarantee fans a state championship but they might help downcast Vikings fans break out of one of their yearly bouts of post-season gloom.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.