And we don't say that in a scary Stephen King "Theeyyyyy'reee bacccckkkkk" kind of a way, but in a "Hey, it's time to see what Vikings can do this year" kind of a way. Really.
So, with that, this is the first of eight (more, if the Vikings host a home playoff game) installments of what we call The View From Section 123. In other words, the Auxiliary Press Box (the old baseball press box) for you Metrodome freaks. Lookee:
Every few minutes, we'll update this blog with keen observances, somewhat-witty bull, actual journalism and whatever we can curate from this Purple Scene.
With that in mind, here's what happened on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012: VIKINGS VS. JAGUARS:
11:39: Fans welcomed to MOA Field. All 20,000 inside the building roar (hey, it's early!)
11:40: Outside, not a lot of this:
But plenty of this:
11:55: Inside dome, starter Adrian Peterson introduced. Perhaps loudest ovation in recent memory at MOA Field.
12:00: Vikings win toss.
12:03: Regular season starts with first down pass to Kyle Rudolph, at 15-yarder.
12:04: Adrian Peterson, just a few months removed from TWO knee-ligament tears, takes a handoff and gains four yards for the Vikes. He is a beast.
12:05: Speaking of beasts, that monster, Chris Kluwe, punts for Minnesota after stalled drive. While punting, screams: X)O!!*%$*#@#!*@!@@#@#$!!!
12:22: JAGUARS 3, VIKINGS 0 -- Josh Scobee hits a 19-yard FG after the Vikings stop Jacksonville at the 1-yard-line after a 17-play drive.
12:33: Favorite Tweet so far, after a scoreless first quarter, comes from PaulFletcher97: "Well kids were 1/64th of the way thru the misery. Go #Vikings !"
12:41: Adrian Peterson goes 9-yards, take his first real hit on the knee. Gets up fine. Freak.
12:42: Vikings punt again. Crowd grows restless. Kluwe punts a 54-yarder. Crowd thinks Vikes recover a Jags fumble -- but Jacksonville retains control. Crowd -- perhaps up since 5am "getting ready" -- seems confused.
12:46: New favorite Tweet, from 9DalCannenberg9: "Didn't know that bill Clinton decided to pick up a side job being an #NFL referee."
12:50: JAGUARS 9, VIKINGS 0 -- Jacksonville extends it's lead with a 1-yard TD pass to tight end Marcedes Lewis. Extra-point no good after it was blocked by Matt Kalil.
1:08: Completely dead crowd right now (and they're whining a bit). Funny stuff, on Twitter, continues, however...with Tyler (FSNNorth) Mason's quip: "Do the #Vikings still have the Ol' Gunslinger's number on speed dial?"
1:10: After the Vikings D forces a rare three-and-out, this from the Rochester Post-Bulletin's Guy Limbeck: "Offense gets one more chance to suck in the half." OUCH!
1:13: Just before two-minute warning, Vikings discover they have a guy on the team named Percy Harvin, who catches two balls...providing 21 yards of offense.
1:19: JAGUARS 9, VIKINGS 7 -- Vikes get on the Metrodome scoreboard after Adrian Peterson saunters in untouched from the 3-yard-line.
1:25: Former Viking Chris Doleman honored at the half for his entry into the NFL Hall Of Fame. Doleman to crowd: "I am truly humbled by it. Let's go out and win this game." Quick message. Good ending.
1:26: In case you missed it, here's Doleman's HOF speech from earlier this summer:
1:36: Actual journalism! Well, it's just a look at the first half stats, which were handed to us: Adrian Peterson: 7 carries, 23 yards, 1 touchdown. Maurice Jones-Drew: 8 carries, 36 yards, o touchdowns.
1:40: Vikings recover Jaguars fumble. AP and Harvin quickly get ball down to four-yard line. Crowd pumped up again.
1:43: VIKINGS 14, JAGUARS 9 -- Adrian Peterson punches it in from the two-yard line for his second TD of the day.
1:46: Fantasy football experts worldwide who told everyone not to start AP today feel really sheepish.
1:53: Brian Robison knocks down a Blaine Gabbert pass on third down to squash Jags drive. Game has definite "turning around" feel.
1:57: Check that! Vikes' Ponder fumbles. Jaguars recover on the Minnesota 16-yard-line.
1:59: VIKINGS 14, JAGUARS 12 -- Scobee hits 26-yard FG to get Jaguars within two.
2:07: HUGE 3rd and 8 pass to Kyle Rudolph to give the Vikes a first down at the four-yard line.
2:08: VIKINGS 17, JAGUARS 12 -- Blair Walsh hits a 20-yard FG to give Vikes a five-point lead.
2:13: Keen observation: With 14:04 left in the game, plenty of time for Jaguars to do some damage, especially against a defense that seems to have been out there long time. (Well, pretty keen. It's not rocket science, kids.)
2:16 Letroy Guion piles on Blaine Gabbert after a sack and the Jaguars benefit from a 15-yard penalty. Crowd boos replacement refs, who seem to have made the right call.
2:20: VIKINGS 17, JAGUARS 15 -- Scobee nails a 47-yarder to make it a two point game again.
2:28: Vikings driving, and those who were calling for Joe Webb to replace Ponder earlier in the game have to respect Christian's 14 for 19 passing so far.
2:33: VIKINGS 20, JAGUARS 15 -- Walsh hits his second FG of the day -- a 42-yarder -- to give the Vikes a five-point lead again.
2:40: Third and one from Jacksonville. 4:22 left. Crowd quieted, though, as Jags get a first-and-ten at its own 30.
2:41: Chris Cook sacks Gabbert. An 11-yard loss. Crowd jazzed. Cook pumped.
2:42: Fourth and 10 for Jacksonville at its own 30 at the two-minute warning. They punt. Vikes take over, needing very little for win No. 1.
2:43: Vikings attendance listed at 56,607. Not a sellout -- for the first time since 1998.
2:49: Kluwe shanks a punt. He says: @#$@#$@#$@#$#$%!@!@#!@#!!!! Then, it takes a Minnesota bounce, and he says $#$%#$%#$%@#$%@#%!!! yeah!
2:51: Jaguars have the ball with 36 seconds left and no time outs. Third and six. Tipped ball by Chad Greenway. Brings up fourth down.
2:52: Dagger. Jaguars get first down on 10-yard pass to Blackmon.
2:53: JAGUARS 23, VIKINGS 20 -- Bigger dagger. TD pass to Cecil Shorts III with Cook getting turned around on the play. Jags lead 23-20 with 20 seconds left after the two-point conversion.
2:58: VIKINGS 23, JAGUARS 23 -- Shocker. Rookie Blair Walsh nails 55-yarder to send this bad boy to overtime.
3:00: Vikings win toss. Prediction: Lots O'Percy Harvin to come in the next few minutes.
3:03: Harvin gets it out the the 25-yard-line. Adrian Peterson then runs one for 10 yards, and another first down. With that rush, Peterson gains yard number 6,820 -- passing Robert Smith, all-time.
3:04: A few plays later, AP rips off another big gain, getting it down to the 42-yard-line.
3:08: VIKINGS 26, JAGUARS 23-- Blair Walsh hits 38-yard field goal to give Vikings OT lead.
3:14: Jacksonville drive stalls, they can't match the FG in the new overtime rules. Vikes win to go 1-0 on the season. Next stop: Indianapolis next Sunday.
FINAL: VIKINGS 26, JAGUARS 23.