At the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, it's the Vikings taking on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 7 of the 2013 NFL season. So far, both teams on the field today sport surprising 4-2 records. Who will go to 5-2? The line is at 6 points, favoring the Purple...but that's why we play 'em.
After today, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in town Thursday night..meaning two home games in the next five days. As Dan Weiderer of the Star Tribune put it in his excellent article today: "Talk about a golden opportunity."
So...over the next several hours, please enjoy this in-game blog we like to call The View From Section 123. In other words, the Auxiliary Press Box (the old baseball press box). Here's our view, as of 11:28 a.m.:
11:25: Considering the Vikings mascot. Not bad. Guy dressed up in Vikings gear and all that. But with Netflix adding the entire 18-episode run of "Freaks and Geeks" a few weeks ago, we've been pondering something. Wouldn't the "Norsemen" mascot from McKinley High scare the hell out of anyone? Even 350-pound lineman? Check it out:
Here's a freeze frame. As we approach the second half of the season (as well as Halloween week), all we can say is: Scary.
11:52: Senor Smoke, ex-Twin Juan Berenguer blows the Gjallarhorn. We can all go home now. His still that awesome after 25 years.
11:53: Led Zeppelin theme song at ear-splitting levels. Vikings defense introduced this week. Biggest pop? It went to..Jared Allen, no contest, although Antione Winfield was a close second. With Arizona's problems protecting the quarterback the past few weeks,
12:01: Percy Harvin runs opening kickoff for a touchdown. But a blocking foul flag brings it back to the 8-yard-line. Buzzkill at the kickoff. Have we stumbled into a Gophers game?
12:07: After a three-and-out, Kluwe kicks it to the 48. Cards in prime position to score early.
12:12: After a Cards three-and-out, Adrian Peterson blasts off with a 27-yard run. Vikings at midfield.
12:15: Jerome Simpson, back from his back/leg injury (bilateral?), draws a 29-yard interference flag.
12:15: VIKINGS 7, CARDINALS 0 -- Adrian Peterson runs it in from 13-yards out, Vikes take early lead.
12:24: Crowd loud on Cards 3rd and 8...looking for a sack...but Skelton hits Andre Roberts for a first down on Minnesota 39.
12:32: Sack of Skelton on 2nd and 9 on the 13...He loses ball. Vikes recover as first quarter ends.
12:40: Cards' Paris Lenon intercepts Ponder to open the 2nd quarter. Cards back in business in Vikings' red zone.
12:41: VIKINGS 7, CARDINALS 7 -- 3-yard TD run by LaRod Stephens-Howling ties it up.
12:45: Twitterverse is going crazy with what Greg Coleman reportedly said on the air after Stephen-Howlings' TD run. From LTCuddlesworth: "Pretty sure Greg Coleman just called LaRod Stephens-Howling a "little fxxxxr" on the airwaves. pretty awesome." Say it ain't so, Greg!
12:48: Could we get back to the game? Perhaps focus on Christian Ponder's performance? OK, How about this Tweet from JJRaynradio: "I'm thinking @Samantha_Steele needs to tell @cponder7 they need to see other people."
12:51: Ponder sacked. By a Cardinal. Not Sam.
12:57: VIKINGS 14, CARDINALS 7 -- Purple take back lead with 3-yard TD pass to Harvin.
1:06: Big 3rd-and-2 at midfield for the Cardinals, but Fitzgerald can't hang onto the Skelton pass. Arizona punts to Sherels. Vikes get a holding call go against them...and have to start at their 3-yard-line with 3:49 left in the half.
1:08: Adrian Peterson approaching 100 rushing yards in the first half alone. 92 so far for AP.
1:08: So, on 3rd and 3 from the 10, ball goes to Gerhart. Who gets two yards. A fan in the stands (wearing a Peterson jersey) bellows: "Unbelievable!!" That was a cleaned-up quote.
1:13: Kluwe kicks from his own end zone at the two-minute warning. Cards take over on Minnesota 45.
1:14: Skelton sacked for second time today, this time by Brian Robison, setting up a third and 12. Punt time for Cards, with .58 seconds left.
1:20: Ponder throws second interception of the day. Cardinals ball on the Vikings' 29. But Cards can't convert, as Jay Feely misses a field goal, wide right, from 47-yards out.
1:31: Tweet from RogerWhutWhut tries to calm down Ponder-bashers, in a Fargo-type-way: "Anyone calling for Joe Webb...turn off the game...and go stick your head in a wood chipper. #vikings"
1:37: Just handed first half stats. NUMBER THAT STICKS OUT: Adrian Peterson, 8.4 yards per carry (11 rushes, 92 yards).
1:38: VIKINGS 21, CARDINALS 7 -- Rookie Harrison Smith intercepts Skelton at 31-yard-line, takes it to house. Vikes up by two touchdowns.
1:41: Which Skelton is playing for the Cardinals? Red? (You might have to be under 50 to get this one. We apologize.)
1:49: Cardinals moving the ball, in Vikings territory again. Offsides penalty on Robison negates huge interception. First and 10 on Vikings 25 for Arizona.
1:52: Skelton sacked with prejudice short of a first down on 4th and 1 by human dynamo Antoine Winfield. Vikings take over at the 19.
1:57: AP almost breaks one, goes for 23 yards. 113 yards so far. That ties him -- all-time -- with Robert Smith for Vikings, as both have 29 games over 100-plus.
1:58: Ponder throws one out of bounds. Crowd cheers. Yes, a mock cheer...but a cheer nonetheless.
2:00: In the booth, one writer wonders: "If Tim Tebow has a thought, is it a Christian ponder?" Very good.
2:04: Jared Allen sacks Skelton on 3rd and long. That's four sacks on the day for Purple defense.
2:13: On the other hand, KFAN's A.J. Mansour Tweets: "The #Vikings have already given up more than 100 yards to a Horrible running team that is on their 3rd and 4th string RBs."
2:14: Vikings introduce "Cheerleader of the Game." This week, its' "Brittni." Yes, that name could be spelled at least 1,000 ways, but this Britt took a "ni."
2:20: Couldn't see that last play because delirious fans are making like 1984 again doing the wave.
2:21: Which inspired this Tweet from MurrayRempel4: "So the Metrodome crowd is really going 2 do the wave with the #Vikings on offense near their goal line?" Missed the meeting." So did we.
2:25: Jared Allen sacks Skelton again. Second of the day for No. 69, fifth on the day for the Vikes.
2:26: ChrisVanAnda offers this pearl of wisdom on Twitter: "I would rather the #Vikings be 2-5 with Ponder validating being our franchise QB than being 5-2 with uncertainty at the position." Can't please everyone. (But, c'mon!)
2:30: For the third time today Kluwe punts from end zone. He boots a beauty -- 51 yards -- driving Cards back to their 35-yard-line.
2:34: With Cards driving at midfield, crowd visibly nervous with 9:30 left. Not happy with Vikings offensive effort in second half. Either is AJ Mansour, of KFAN fame, as he Tweets: "The #Vikings have 1 first down this half...they are 1-for-6 passing and have netted 36 yards in the second half. #BRUTAL"
2:38: With 6:21 left, Cards in 4th down territory. On 4th and 5...Skelton tries to lure Vikings offsides. It doesn't work, so now it's 4th and 10. Kevin Williams gets the sack -- sixth of the day for Purple. Vikings take over on downs. That could be the game.
2:44: With 3:30 left, crowd heading for the door. Even though Arizona is driving again.
2:46: Check that. Arizona was driving. Robison sacks Skelton for a loss. Seventh on the day.
2:49: VIKINGS 21, CARDINALS 14 -- Cards make it a 7-point game on Andre Roberts TD catch with 1:48 left to play in regulation.
2:53: Onsides kick time, but Vikings recover. Almost time for the victory formation.
FINAL: VIKINGS 21, CARDINALS 14