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Who took our Vikings? And where are the real Gophers hiding?

Last weekend was confusing for Minnesota football fans. Understand that Minnesota football fans are not average. They’re off the charts when it comes to football team loyalty.

Yet, someone has taken our maroon and gold Minnesota Golden Gophers and replaced them with a team that in no way resembles the true University of Minnesota football team that has held fast to a losing tradition since the post-Murray Warmath dynasty days. It’s just not the same.

Saturday, the Golden Gophers showed up to host the Syracuse Orange, and were the underdogs. (An online Dispatch poll had Syracuse picked as an overwhelming 95 percent choice to win.) Minnesota had no chance to win against powerhouse Syracuse.

Well, contrary to popular opinion, the Minnesota Golden Gophers (imposters though they may be) walked away from Saturday’s game with a 17-10 victory. Yes, that’s right, the Gophers won. They’re 4-0. They claimed their first victory against a traditional New York football powerhouse and did it before a hometown crowd of 50,805 at TCF Stadium.

Gopher head coach Jerry Kill had better be careful – he may make believers out of the state’s most ardent football fans.

Kill’s team pulled a rabbit out of his hat with a back-up quarterback under center, but really, Sunday’s Vikings showdown against San Francisco’s 49ers was already in the win column for the Niners before the first snap. Really.

Well, that was the script according to most NFL prognosticators, but the game was played nonetheless.

Fans were caught sucking the air out of Mall of America Field when the Vikings, now 2-1, took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Even the most optimistic horns fan was sure the Niners would come back and trounce their Vikes.

After leading in the second quarter the Minnesota faithful were treated to a 17-3 lead at half time. There was a buzz of uncertainty as the two teams headed to the locker room. It was all SF in the third quarter, with the Niners creeping to within four – it was 17-13 at the end of three.

Could it be possible? A Vikings’ win against a Super Bowl contender? Yes! Minnesota was a winner. Final score – 24-13.

Minnesota’s football fans aren’t talking dynasty – yet, but they are pumped after one of the most memorable weekends in Minnesota’s recent football history.

Keith Hansen

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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