2012 Minnesota Vikings in Review: The Year’s Best Games

Packers drunk

The Vikings season is over, and despite our team not ending up winning the Super Bowl AGAIN, that doesn't mean that our season was a total loss. Each year we're left with games that dropped our pants in how amazing they were, and others that near made us punch our distant cousins in their hippy loving faces. Essentially, good games and bad games, both which leave a lasting impression.

Today, we're taking a look at the good games that defined the 2012 Minnesota Vikings, giving us some of the most memorable moments. We'll all do a mass suicide later as we review the worst games of the year tomorrow. But it's all smiles today. In both cases, we'll be supplementing our own biased memory boners by referencing the Deadspin NFL Watchability Rankings that they recently put out, which measured every single regular season NFL game on a scale of watchability.

More after the jump.

The Deadspin rankings include the following features in determining how "watchable" a game was:

  • Closeness: Based on score differential entering the fourth quarter. Differentials greater than three possessions (24 points) netted a game zero points, a tie game entering the fourth was worth 25.
  • Scoring: Based on total number of points squared. The highest-scoring game of the year got a 25, the lowest scoring got a zero.
  • Meaningfulness: Based on the playoff chances of each team entering the game, courtesy of coolstandings.com. The closer the teams' odds were to 50 percent, the higher the score. No credit was given to clinched teams playing for byes.
  • Result: Based on the difference between the final result and the Vegas spread. True upsets got a significant bonus, while underdogs beating the spread received a small bonus.

This system (which is totally arbitrary, and acknowledged as such, which is absolutely fine by me) provided us with a top ranked game in 2012 to watch of the Titans vs Lions game in Week Three (couple of last second touchdowns, OT, etc., crazy game) and a bottom ranked game in 2012 to watch as the Saints vs. Bucs 41-0 stinker in Week 15. I have absolutely no memory of that game even happening.

So for the Vikings, Deadspin rated the following five games as the top five most watchable Vikings games in 2012:

  1. Packers vs. Vikings, Week 17
  2. Jaguars vs. Vikings, Week 1
  3. Vikings vs. Redskins, Week 6
  4. Vikings vs. Seahawks, Week 9
  5. 49ers vs. Vikings, Week 3

It's not a bad list, but obviously the games we lost on that list didn't make my highlights of the year. Apparently, ranking the games in terms of THESE ONES MY TEAM WON wasn't a factor. EAST COAST BIAS!!! Just kidding.

At Purple Jesus Diaries, my rankings for best Vikings games of the year are even simpler. I ask myself, "Was that game fucking awesome?" and if it wasn't, I don't rank it. For me, my top five games of the Vikings in 2012 is fairly similar to how Deadspin ranked theirs, but differ slightly thanks to the NFC North bias, an understanding of how terrible this team was supposed to be, and what ended up actually happening. They are as follows, in reverse order of awesomeness (The videos are awful, but it's hard to find NFL highlights on YouTube now, I guess):

5. 49ers vs. Vikings, Week 3, Vikings win 24-13

It seems odd that this game was only the fifth best win for me throughout the season, even considering that the 49ers may end up in the Super Bowl, but it really just didn't do much for me. It kind of felt like a fluke, maybe because it was so early in the season. Regardless, beating the San Francisco 49ers at home to push our record to 2-1 early was both surprising and fun, and one of the games Christian Ponder didn't play like a dick nose. Cool!

4. Vikings vs. Texans, Week 16, Vikings win 23-6

It's hard to put this game any lower than fourth best of the season for the Vikings. In a game that they didn't necessarily need in order to make the playoffs, the Vikings rolled into Texas to play what many considered the best team in the league. AND THEY SMOKED THEM like a slow roasted BBQ pork shoulder. This game would have been rated higher for me if Adrian Peterson would have notched at least like 120 yards, because it really made it seem obvious that he wouldn't break the rushing record than in Week 17, even though he did end up nine yards away, which is ridiculous in its own right. But Ponder stepped up this game and played well over the holiday weekend. Checking out this game with family and booze and no work and sweat pants 24/7 was a fun day.

3. Vikings vs. Lions, Week 4, Vikings win 20-13

This is maybe the most surprising on the list, but for some reason I'll never forget the lob pass Ponder threw to Jerome Simpson down the left sideline for a first down to seal the early season victory over the Lions on the road. At this point, we had no idea if the Lions would actually be good or not, so to go in and steal a victory from them on the road was NOICE, and watching that play made me think for the fourth week in a row that the Vikings had a real quarterback on their hands. HAHA, JUST FORGET THE MIDDLE OF THE SEASON, I GUESS, LOL!

2. Jaguars vs. Vikings, Week 1, Vikings win 26-23 in OT

I debated whether this game deserved the accolades that it gets. On one hand, the game itself was pretty thrilling. First game of the NFL season, Peterson returns from his injury and rushes for two touchdowns and 84 yards, the Jags score a touchdown over our shitty defense with mere seconds left to take the lead, Ponder leads a field goal drive with little time left, where rookie kicker Blair Walsh boots a 55-yarder to tie it up and send it to overtime, where our defense actually holds and Walsh gets another field goal to win it all. Not a bad showing for a rookie kicker that we all thought was a stupid fourth round draft pick. I guess that's why I just draw pictures of naked school teachers instead of plan for draft picks (Just kidding, I'm not an artist).

http://youtube.com/watch?v=aWNc_ccWpi4?rel=0

1. Packers vs. Vikings, Week 17, Vikings win 37-34

The top ranked game of the season, and it's not even a competition. A one-and-done game against your hated rival where you need to beat them to get into the playoffs. On top of that, Adrian Peterson has a chance to break the all-time single season rushing record. So what happens? Ponder plays the game of his life, the defense bends but doesn't break, the game gets tied in the final minutes, Adrian Peterson comes nine yards short, and Walsh kicks another game winner. Oh, and the Vikings somehow scored 37 points, which ended up being their highest point output on the season. Easily the best game of the year, and one of the best Vikings games probably ever. Only way it could have been better was if they had worn their throw-back uniforms. Oh … And if Peterson broke the record, too.

Agree? Disagree? Got better highlight clips that'll give me a rager? Put it in the comments. Come back tomorrow where we all cry seas of tears remembering the low-lights. Can't wait!

PJD

About PJD

I once saw Paul Edinger kick a 56-yard field goal for the Minnesota Vikings against the Green Bay Packers to win a game in the Metrodome. It was exhilarating.

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