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Viking ‘Soap Opera’ Season Rolls on

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January 2, 2022


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Can I have the movie rights for the 2021 Minnesota Vikings’ season? Someone text the phone number of a top Hollywood producer and let’s crank this baby out by September.

If there was any doubt about the season being movie worthy, it ended a couple of days ago when maligned quarterback Kirk Cousins entered COVID protocol and was all but ruled out of tonight’s game in Green Bay against the Packers. Pandemics provide compelling theater and COVID has hung over the team since last summer when it became known Cousins and multiple teammates weren’t vaccinated.

Kirk haters have been waiting for a moment like this where he isn’t available for a potential playoff-deciding game. “It’s his fault,” the critics scream while congratulating one another on their collective wisdom.

Backdrop today includes recent media reports Kirk’s dad, Don Cousins, is condemning of head coach Mike Zimmer. Don, also a staunch anti-vaccination practitioner, reportedly gave a like to a tweet suggesting Zimmer should be fired.

Film makers love controversy and there is a lot of it with these Vikings.

Kirk has long been the subject of whether he is overrated, overvalued and overpaid by the Vikings.  A year ago then former teammate Everson Griffen suggested in a tweet it was GM Rick Spielman who pushed the Cousins free agent signing in 2018. “Ask ZIMMER if he wanted Kirk????” Griffen tweeted.

During 2021 came the revelation that in past seasons the head coach and the quarterback didn’t engage in frequent one-on-one meetings. This apparent communication lapse would be shocking for most teams but mildly surprising for the Vikings who specialize in drama.

Kirk Cousins

The dynamic between the two team leaders received national scrutiny this fall when Cousins yelled at his coach, “You like that?” Cousins grabbed Zimmer and at first this seemed more like a confrontation rather than a celebration following Minnesota’s 19-17 home win over the hapless Lions. After the game the QB insisted he was just fired up and showing his emotions from the last second victory.

The potential on-camera time for Zim in my movie is trending up after model Katarina Miketin, 38 or 39, confirmed she is dating the 65-year-old coach. The news (gossip for months) was reported by various news outlets—from the Sporting News to the New York Post. Jealous movie script writers may squabble over who takes the lead in creating the dialogue for the romance.

I wince at going too Hollywood in the film, but what if we write into the script Mike and Katarina get married? All box office hits fudge here and there. How about a touch of Karma in the wedding scene where Mike’s groomsmen include kickers Dan Bailey, Daniel Carlson and Blair Walsh?

Not on the wedding invitation list but still in the movie? Bashaud Breeland. The cornerback was cut from the roster last month after a verbal altercation with coaches at practice. He also had a dustup with Vikings fans earlier in the fall. Still, how about a little kumbaya as we start a new year?

It’s clear Kirk, Zim and Katarina receive major parts in the film but there are important supporting roles for others including franchise owners Zygi and Mark Wilf. In the movie the mysterious New Jersey-based businessmen lurk in the background as fans hold their collective breaths waiting to learn what the Wilfs decide about the fates of Zim, Kirk and Spielman. Hoping Robert De Niro will play the sometimes stern looking Zygi. (Favoring Bradley Cooper for Kirk; looking for suggestions on Zim and Katrina.)

When COVID hasn’t been haunting the Vikings in 2021, injury woes have caused more hurt. State hero and WR Adam Thielen dramatized the pain in the last game. He tried to play against the Rams with an injured ankle and help keep the team’s slight playoff chances alive. But after awhile he limped off the field and headed to the sideline with anger and frustration apparent on his face. Surgery followed and he is done for the season, but maybe more admired than ever.

Film title? Dark Purple?

Frozen in Purple could get a review, too. The temperature at kickoff tonight will be about 10 above and feel colder to players and fans. The scene at Lambeau Field should only add to the Vikings’ cold weather legacy, and in the film this can be dramatized, too.

Remember the 2016 playoff game at TCF Bank Stadium? The temp was around minus 6, the wind chill clocking in at 25 below. Bud Grant, 88, showed up wearing a polo shirt. He was a bigger hit than the Vikings who lost 10-9 to the Seahawks when Walsh blew a late field goal.

When Grant coached the Vikings he embraced cold weather. Grant didn’t allow heaters on the sideline and he encouraged players to act as if harsh weather didn’t bother them. He also liked to tell a story about how Eskimos thrived in their cold environment and that the Vikings could, too.

Grant’s last years as head coach in the early and mid-1980s had his teams playing in the Metrodome. “The things that bothered me about going into the dome is it took some of the coaching out of it,” Grant said in Ross Bernstein’s book Sixty Years & Sixty Heroes. “I could use the elements to my advantage. Things like the wind, sun, rain, snow or even a frozen field.”

Bud could be in the movie. Imagine Bud, Mike Tice and myself with cameos in the opening scene. We’re sitting at a table inside Bunny’s Bar & Grill. In the background the TV shows a Kirk-absent Vikings team playing in wintry Green Bay.

To see the rest of the film, please buy a ticket.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

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