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Hate Watching: Vikings versus Jaguars


Jacksonville visits Minnesota in a game one man loves to despise

@BreakTheHuddle

“‘Hate-watch’ is a fancy term for watching shows you don’t like but get perverse satisfaction from.” – Frazier Moore

“‘Hate-watch’ isn’t that fancy of a term. And who the hell is Frazier Moore?” – Yours Truly

PREGAME: I thought they had blown up this dump awhile ago. Is there still a chance these guys end up moving to Los Angeles? No? Shoot. I thought that would’ve been good punishment for the Brett Favre fiasco.

PREGAME: What do you MEAN, “that hardly seems equitable”? THEY TOOK FAVRE AWAY FROM US!

PREGAME: No. I won’t let it go.

PREGAME: Ah, that stupid horn. And there are men dressed like women. This looks more like an S&M convention than a football game. Am I right?

KICKOFF: Oh-and-16, here come the Vikings! They would have to take Matt Barkley first overall, wouldn’t they?

15:00 to 6:11, 1st Quarter: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

6:10, 1st: Marcedes Lewis burns Chad Greenway for an 18 yard reception. Even Vikings beat writer Tom Pelissero tweeted incredulously last season when Greenway would make a play in pass defense. The book on him is: good run-stopper, can’t cover worth a lick. And in a passing league, that’s sort of a problem.

4:54, 1st: Jaguars convert their 4th 3rd down conversion of the drive. Things are looking good so far.

I should have known better than to pin my hopes on a guy with hair like this.

4:23, 1st: Blaine Gabbert misses Justin Blackmon for a touchdown pass. COME ON, GABBERT! Blackmon was more open than the upper deck at one of your home games! For the record, game ought to be 7-0 right now.

2:52, 1st: Real score – Jaguars 3, Vikings 0. Alternate universe score – Jaguars 7, Vikings 0.

1:25, 1st: Dropped interception by the Jaguars at the Vikings 45. The safety would’ve had room to run, too. I assume he would have made it all the way to the end zone. Real score – still 3-0, Jaguars. Alternate universe score – Jaguars 14, Vikings 0.

14:20, 2nd Quarter: Adrian Peterson, 9 yard rush. I know the NFL has testing for steroids, and something’s in the works for HGH, but is anyone testing Peterson for the stuff they inject dogs with before they race? Seriously. He’s a freak of nature and he scares the bejesus out of me.

11:15, 2nd: Blaine Gabbert throws an awkward-looking though simultaneously beautiful back-shoulder-ish toss to Laurent Robinson for 20+ yards. Chris Cook, the woman-choker, on the coverage.

6:05, 2nd: Maurice Jones-Drew “introduces himself” to Mistral Raymond at the 10 yard line. Remind me to never let MJD “introduce himself” to me. It looked painful.

5:23, 2nd: Jaguars touchdown, Gabbert to Lewis. Real score, Jaguars 9, Vikings 0. Things are going swimmingly. Now all they need is the extra point…

5:23, 2nd: … blocked. Lame. Real score: still 9-0 Jaguars. Alternate universe score: Funny, they blocked the extra point in the alternate universe, too. Jaguars 20, Vikings 0.

5:08, 2nd: At this point, Christian Ponder is 2-of-4 for 17 yards and has just displayed the sort of quarterbacking footwork that middle school coaches would be concerned with.

3:51, 2nd: Ponder almost intercepted, again. Do you think Matt Barkley would like it here? Isn’t he from California? It might be a little cold for him. The new stadium will be indoors, right?

2:46, 2nd: IMPORTANT GRAPHIC: Gabbert: 9/15, 103 yards, 1 TD. Ponder: 3/7, 32 yards, 0 TD.

You’ve got glasses, Musgrave. Take it easy on yourself and buy a bigger call sheet.

2:37, 2nd: As the punt was in the air, I could see someone tap Vikings Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave on the shoulder and whisper, softly, “Hey, stupid. Your biggest threat hasn’t really touched the ball much, yet. His name is Percy Harvin. Remember him? He played on less than 60% of the offensive snaps last year for no good reason and raised a big stink in the offseason about his small role in the gameplan. You should maybe call some plays for him because he’s really good. Stop being so dumb. Also, why is your play-calling sheet so tiny? Good God, it’s like a 5-by-8 note card! Some of these offensive coaches have charts and graphs and entire binders they’re looking through, and you’re standing over here with something that belongs in a recipe book! C’mon, Musgrave! But seriously, Percy Harvin, he wears #12. Get on it.”

2:28, 2nd: Hey, there he is! Percy Harvin for 16 yards.

1:56, 2nd: For some God-forsaken reason the Jaguars blitz Harvin’s man from the slot position, leaving him as the hot read, and he’s wide open for 11 more.

0:40, 2nd: After a nice throw by Ponder – wait, what am I saying?!? – Adrian Peterson walks into the end zone. Are we sure he isn’t on some kind of horse steroid? Real score: Jaguars 9, Vikings 7. Alternate universe score: Jaguars 20, Vikings 7.

HALFTIME: As they come out of the break, I see our announcers are Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcotts, the guys who must have drawn the short stick. Or drew the wrong card. Or are the worst at their jobs. You don’t end up calling this game unless you’ve got some room to move vertically in your profession. Just saying.

HALFTIME: They do a bit called “Solomon’s Wisdom.” Hey, a little Biblical reference. I wonder: will anyone threaten to cut a baby in half?

Percy Harvin has two years left on his rookie deal but is playing like a man who’d like a lucrative extension after this season.

13:13, 3rd Quarter: Everson Griffen gets away with a hit to the helmet of Blaine Gabbert. It seemed like that was the call being missed across the NFL all preseason and throughout most of Sunday, but honestly, the referees in this game did a pretty decent job.

12:15, 3rd: Maurice Jones-Drew, meet Harrison Smith. Good gracious, that tiny man is like a bowling ball.

11:39, 3rd: Gabbert fumbles the snap, Vikings take over at the Jaguars’ 44. Oy, vey.

9:50, 3rd: The announcers say that Adrian Peterson is like “a rhino” down near the goal line, which reminds me: does anyone test him for the steroids they give to rhinos before rhino races? No? Well, so much for the integrity of the league. AP walks into the end zone, real score is 14-9 Vikings, and the alternate reality score is 20-14 Jaguars.

6:05, 3rd: Christian Ponder fumbles at his own 16. What is it with the Vikings and drafting quarterbacks with tiny, tiny hands?

6:05 – 4:40, 3rd: Jaguars, ball at the Vikings’ 16: Rush, rush, incomplete pass, field goal. I cry. Real score: Vikings 14, Jaguars 12, alternate reality score: Jaguars 23, Vikings 14.

3:13, 3rd: Harvin gains 9 tough yards, lined up as a running back.

2:40, 3rd: I can’t believe I am about to say this, but this is my favorite football play I have seen in a long, long time. Harvin lines up in the backfield, Ponder runs a play action then tosses it out to him in the flat. As he makes the catch, the Jaguars cornerback covering him (#31, the much ballyhooed Aaron Ross) points at him and yells “Hey, HEY!” to a fellow defender AND RUNS AWAY FROM HARVIN. So, poor #22 (some kid named ‘Rutland’) attempts to tackle Percy and gets leveled, but manages to get Harvin near the sideline. By this time, Aaron Ross has circled around to help “clean up” the play, and Harvin’s already stepped out of bounds, but he lowers his head and instigates contact with Ross anyway, jawing at him afterwards. Percy Harvin runs like a man possessed.

Jags owner Shahid Khan

2:23, 3rd: I just punched myself in the face for thinking and then saying all those nice things about a Viking.

0:49, 3rd – 14:09, 4th Quarter: The Vikings follow a nice completion to Kyle Rudolph to the 4 yard line with the following play calls: a 1 yard loss to a rushing Percy Harvin, a Matt Asiata pass to the 2, and a John Carlson pass for no gain. No AP, No Toby Gerhart, and no Kyle Rudolph inside the 4 yard line. Musgrave… God bless you. Vikings kick a field goal. Real life, 17-12 Vikings. Alternate reality, 23-17 Jacksonville.

14:09 – 9:35, 4th Quarter: Jaguars move the ball, Greenway looks terrible in pass defense again, but they can’t cash in with a touchdown so it’s 17-15, Vikings in real life… (26-17 Jaguars in my fantasy land.)

8:45, 4th: Harvin. Again. Catches a swing pass, jukes one, then outruns 3 other guys for 20 yards.

Just kidding. That was Wario. This is Shahid Khan.

5:38, 4th: Ponder overthrows Rudolph, which is tough to do, because the man is a physical freak and he has hands the size of hubcaps. Vikings kick a field goal and it’s 20-15 Vikings in real life (or, as I prefer, 26-20).

2:00, 4th: The Jaguars let the clock wind down to the 2 minute warning then punt back to the Vikings with 2 timeouts remaining. Also, they just showed new Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, pictured somewhere to the right.

1:51, 4th: Vikings ball, and 1 first down wins the game, and this is what happens: AP runs for nothing, Michael Jenkins commits an illegal block penalty (which stops the clock) and Gerhart runs for nothing. The Jaguars get the ball back 33 seconds later having to only use two timeouts.

1:18, 4th: IMPORTANT GRAPHIC: Blaine Gabbert, 0 career game-winning drives.

Jeez, that was Geraldo Rivera. Don’t you know ANYTHING? THIS is Shahid Khan.

1:18 to 0:27, 4th: Cecil Shorts for 20, incomplete to Shorts, then Greenway breaks up a pass, then they go right at Greenway again and convert a huge 4th down.

0:27, 4th: Holy crap… Gabbert does the ol’ lame-duck-chuck-it-up-and-any-competent-corner-makes-a-play-but-shoot-that’s-Chris-Cook-ah-hell-I’m-throwing-it routine. Complete to Cecil Shorts, touchdown. Jaguars convert the two point conversion and lead 23-20 in real life (or 34-20 in my happy place). The announcers call it a game winner. The announcers are stupid.

0:20, 4th: Matt Asiata returns the squib kick to the 31. Because, you know, when you have a kicker who was 5th-best in the league at kicking touchbacks last season, why utilize that? Squib kick it. Sure.

0:20, 4th: The Vikings have three timeouts and I am nervous.

0:20 – 0:04, 4th: 27 yards to Aromashadu, and 6 yards to Kyle Rudolph, and suddenly the Vikings are in range for Blair Walsh.

END OF REGULATION: Walsh crushes it from 54. Can anyone show me proof his right leg isn’t full of steroids and his foot isn’t solid titanium? Anyone? Goodell?  We go to overtime tied at 23.

OVERTIME: Vikings win toss. I feel ill.

15:00 – 11:06, OT: AP for 10, then for 21, then a pass to Aromashadu for 17. So, the Vikings are at the 25, and a touchdown wins it, and they’ve been moving the ball… then they get nothing, a loss, and a pass to Toby Gerhart to the 20. 4th down.

11:06, OT: To protect the integrity of the game, Blair Walsh should have to kick left footed until we get to the bottom of this steroids / titanium foot thing. But they let him kick right-footed and he’s good from 38. Vikings 26, Jaguars 23.

11:06 to end of game, OT: Laurent Robinson drops a pass, MJD runs for 6 yards, then Chad Greenway breaks up another pass play (and turns to the press box and whips Tom Pelissero the bird). And on 4th down, Gabbert needs 4, but decides to throw it way downfield into double coverage instead. And the Jaguars lose, which means the Vikings win. Dumb.

POSTGAME: That was dumb.

POSTGAME: Really, really dumb.

POSTGAME: Man, I said a lot of nice things about a team I really dislike. Harvin looks good, Ponder finished 17-for-20 after starting 3-for-7 and Adrian Peterson is healthy. The secondary still has problems and Jared Allen was more or less invisible after the first 5 minutes of the game but the Vikings are going to move the ball this year. They won’t be a complete embarrassment to football. Imagine that.

POSTGAME: What am I saying? Green Bay – San Francisco is about to start. It’s time for some real football. Surely my Packers will know how to cheer me up.

POSTGAME: Right?

The only thing left for Packer fans to do Sunday night was heave a long, deep sigh.

BreakTheHuddle is a fan of the Twins, Timberwolves and the 13-time World Champion Green Bay Packers. Reach him at BreakTheHuddle@gmail.com, @BreakTheHuddle on Twitter or leave a comment below!

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