Because Iâ€™m a man and operate a website, I am required by law to write about football. I havenâ€™t covered the Vikes much during the offseason, but Iâ€™m a devoted follower and plan to write a recap on each game this year. This is the first, written in running journal form.
> The Vikes win the toss and choose to receive. They quickly move the ball downfield using a steady/boring combination of short passes and short runs. QB Brad Johnson looks fairly mobile for a guy available for pension next season.
> Chester Taylor looks like a smart enough running back; he knows where to find the hole, but just isnâ€™t fast enough to exploit the gaps. Until further notice I am campaigning for Mwelde Moore to be a starter.
> Great protection, pass and catch on a bomb to the speedy Troy Williamson for a 46-yard gain. Johnson appears to have thrown the ball about 30 yards, which may be his max. Iâ€™m fine with that. Mostly because I donâ€™t have a choice in the matter.
> Short run by Chet Taylor for a touchdown. Guard Steve Hutchinson (who looks like a date-raping creep in the local Qwest commercial, fyi) delivers a mammoth block to free Taylor for the score.
> The extra point is botched by holder/punter Chris Kluwe, who is nearly murdered by the â€˜Skins defense as he unsuccessfully tries to run it in himself. The tackle looks similar to a rabid dog ripping apart a stuffed animal. Poor guy is just manhandled.
VIKES 6, SKINS 0
> The first play for the Skins is a 20+ yard pass to Santana Moss. Kornheiser and Theismann, both Washington fans at heart, begin disrobing each other mere seconds after Moss runs out of bounds. Hey, this should be a fun game.
> A screen graphic shows that Brunell is the fourth oldest starting QB at 35 years old. He looks at least five years older than his age, hobbling around like Lieutenant Dan with new legs. His slow-motion scrambling makes me physically wince. I would now like to point out how confused I am that the Skins, with offensive firepower such as Antwaan Randle-El, Clinton Portis and Santana Moss, decided to go with the noodle-armed, immobile Brunell behind the center. Itâ€™s like putting bicycle tires on a Benz.
> The â€˜Skins offense looks surprisingly potent as it drives down the field slowly but surely, converting on a number of third-and-shorts on runs by Betts and catches by Randle-El and Moss.
> During media timeout, we see the first of what I expect to be about 100 commercials for ESPN Mobile. Theyâ€™re now so desperate theyâ€™re offering a $150 bonus for buying the phone. Iâ€™m holding out until they start offering up BJs from Linda Cohn. You just know thatâ€™s coming soon.
> The Vikes stop the drive inside the ten, resulting in a field goal to cut the lead in half.
VIKES 6, SKINS 3
> The Vikes pick up where they left off, gaining yards on genuinely impressive runs by Chester Taylor and a third-and-short catch by Jermaine Wiggins. The first quarter ends with the Vikes up by tres.
> On third down, Johnson fires a perfect bomb right to Williamson that he drops for a sure touchdown. â€œIT HIT HIM RIGHT IN THE FUCKING CHEST!â€ roommate Spoon bellows. If the neighbors didnâ€™t know Spoon was a football nut, they do now.
> Randle-El lines up to take the punt and Theismann nearly creams himself. When Randle-El calls for a fair catch, you can almost hear a whimper in the booth. Goddamn homer, I hope LT breaks into the booth and cracks his good leg right in half.
> Great defense by the Vikes results in a three-and-out for Warshington. Punter Derek Frost shanks one out of bounds, setting the Vikes up with decent field position past the 35.
> The announcers show some silly pictures and doctored images of Daniel Snyder and new business partner/fuck buddy Tom Cruise. It is supposed to be funny. It is not. Which is weird, you know, because usually NFL broadcasts are the epitome of comedy.
> Kornheiser mentions that a good move would be to sign a couple 7â€™5â€ guys for the defensive line to just stand up and knock the ball down. Theismann, who must be completely retarded, immediately mentions that actually, tall guys arenâ€™t as mobile as players who are 6â€™3â€ or 6â€™4â€. You think so, doctor? You sure TK wasnâ€™t just making a joke?
> Randle-El makes a sweet punt return to midfield. He starts left, stops on a dime and spins around all the way to the other side of the field as about eight Vikings players are knocked to the ground by blockers. Sweetest play of the game so far.
> Jamie Foxx makes a guest appearance in the booth. He mentions he likes the Cowboys, crab cakes, The Longest Yard (the first one) and beer. I donâ€™t know if that interests you or not.
> TK mentions that Cruise wonâ€™t come into the booth. Foxx defends Cruise so vehemently (â€œheâ€™s one of the most genuine guys youâ€™ll ever meetâ€) that I lose every iota of respect I ever had for him. I donâ€™t mind acting like a professional, saying you donâ€™t have problem with the guy, so on, but Foxx so heatedly stuck up for Mr. Scientology that I actually believe he was telling the truth. So I donâ€™t like him anymore. Thatâ€™s just how it works. Sorry.
> Ladell Betts runs for a long time on third down, getting knocked out just inside the 10 yard line. On the next play, Portis takes the ball around the left side and in for the score. Well then. That was quick.
SKINS 10, VIKES 6
> After a nice kick return by Williamson to the 40, the Vikes go three-and-out again. On third down, Williamson is wide open on a quick square out, Johnson places the pigskin right in his chest â€¦ and he drops it. Again. Spoon nearly has a coronary, repeatedly punching the couch and swearing like Blyleven. Really, really bad play by Williamson. Whatâ€™s the use of speed and athleticism if youâ€™ve got such an extreme case of the dropsies? Whatâ€™s he good for? End arounds? Reverses? Kick returns? I miss Koren Robinson. The guy was such a lovable lush.
> Another good defensive series by the Vikes results in a punt, returned by Mwelde Moore (!) for a few yards. My boy.
> Oh god. Suzy Kolber. Extreme close up camera. Please, please move that camera back a few feet. Good lord she is homely. I just donâ€™t know what Broadway Joe ever saw in her. She looks like Kathy Griffinâ€™s long lost sister.
> A catch for a first down by Williamson (seriously) is negated by the Vikings sixth â€“ sixth! â€“ penalty in the half. All preseason long, coach Childress has been preaching about how fundamentally sound his team was going to be. Like hell. The Vikes look like the NFCâ€™s version of the Raiders right now. Iâ€™ve said it before and Iâ€™ll say it again: people just donâ€™t respect the mustache like they used to.
> With just over two minutes left in the half, Brunell throws a bomb to a wide open Moss, which is caught, giving DC a first-and-goal at the six.
> Vikes play some stingy D â€“ causing a fumble, making Brunell throw it away, and ringing Mossâ€™ bell â€“ to force a field goal by the Skins.
SKINS 13, VIKES 6
> Williamson makes another strong kickoff return, this time to the 45. Fifty-six seconds, three timeouts remaining.
> â€œBrad Johnson is a master of the two-minute offense,â€ says Theismann. What?
> Johnson throws incomplete to Wiggins, who looks like he was held on the play. No flag. Wiggins stubbornly remains in the middle of the field with his hands on his hips while everyone else walks back to the huddle. Wiggins just stands and complains, doing the â€œthrow the flag!â€ hand motion while staring at the ref. About five seconds later, a flag is actually thrown. Defensive holding. Impressive campaigning by Wiggins.
> A catch by the complainer results in a first down for the Vikes inside the 35. A half-minute remains.
> Two unsuccessful throws in the end zone both fall incomplete. Both are terrible, terrible passes by Johnson. On third down Johnson throws a quick out to Williamson to get the ball inside the 30 with just a few seconds remaining in the half.
> Field goal good. Halftime.
SKINS 13, VIKES 9
> The Skins canâ€™t get anything started on their first drive after the half, which leads to a punt. 29-yard return by my fella Mwelde gives Minny the ball near midfield.
> Long first down completion to newcomer Billy McMullen. McMullen has possibly the whitest sounding name for a black man since the Twinsâ€™ Jason Maxwell. I think McMullen and Lew Ford should trade names. Life would make a lot more sense.
> Pump-fake and pass to the end zone to Marcus Robinson results in a touchdown! Theismann mentions that Johnson has been â€œabsolutely perfectâ€ today, which would make sense if every viewer had Alzeimers and could only remember the last few seconds. (A quick update on the announcers: Tirico has been a steady analyst, ticking off the action and remaining mostly in the background; Kornheiser has been a bit bland but overall enjoyable; Thighs is a goddamn embarrassment. No surprises here.)
VIKES 16, SKINS 13
> A long rush by Portis puts the Skins past midfield, a completion to James Thrash gets â€˜em inside the 30. The Vikingsâ€™ D line has been pretty forgettable thus far in the game.
> Ten seconds after I write the above line, Erasmus James is called for roughing the passer on an incompletion that wouldâ€™ve resulted in fourth down. Nice work; no oneâ€™s gonna forget that. A seven-yard rush on the next play gets the Skins inside the five yard line.
> Good defense and shitty plays by the Redskins (their play-calling in the red zone has been horrendous today) results in a game-tying field goal. Weâ€™re halfway through the third quarter.
VIKES 16, SKINS 16
> 8-yard gain on a Kleinsasser catch, 4-yard run by Chester, double play by Michael Cuddyer (sorry, weâ€™re flipping channels here), incompletion on a left-handed pass by Johnson, 8-yard screen, and a long run after a short catch by Chet (go go go!) gives the Vikings position inside the Skinsâ€™ 35 as the quarter ticks to a close. Spoon and I both solemnly raise four fingers in the air. It is crunch time. We are ready.
> The first play of the fourth quarter is a missed field goal by Longwell, giving Warsh primo field position. Meanwhile, Torii Hunter rocks a round-tripper to dead center to put the Twins up 4-1. We are channel-changing machines, in the zone, absolutely feelinâ€™ it, working the remote like itâ€™s our job. If it werenâ€™t for Kluweâ€™s butterfingers and the numerous penalties, both â€˜Sota teams would have comfortable leads.
> Double-dong lover Fred Smoot makes a sweet open-field tackle for a big loss. 3rd-and-17 for the Skins at midfield.
> As the Skins pin the Vikes deep with a punt, weâ€™re treated to yet more shots of Cruise and his brainwashed wife in Snyderâ€™s owner box. Which I guess is noteworthy, since this is technically the first time Cruise has ever been inside a box.
> A shitty call by the referees against Sean Taylor (phantom late hit call) gives the Vikes some breathing room at the 25-yard line.
> The Vikes continue to drive, with a nice catch by Travis Taylor at midfield and a run by Chetty T to the left side.
> Another drop by Williamson that wouldâ€™ve given the Vikes the ball at the 30. â€œWHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?!â€ screams Spoon, doing his best Danyelle Sargent impression. Vikes punt.
> With the Skins at their 35 yard line and facing a third down, Brunell lofts a pass over the defensive lineman for what looks to be a screen play and sure first down, but the end â€“ rookie Ray Edwards â€“ leaps up and knocks the ball down. Fourth down, Skins forced to punt. Biggest defensive play of the game as weâ€™re moving deeper into the fourth quarter.
> Two big runs by Taylor â€“ with help from fullback Tony Richardson â€“ put the Vikes at midfield. Four minutes left in the game.
> Hands down biggest play of the game: a hard-nosed 13-yard catch by Williamson on third down with a 15-yard facemasking penalty tacked on. Vikes go from midfield to inside the 25 on the play, with just over two minutes remaining.
> After another first down, this time on a run by Chester the Molester, the Vikes try to run the clock out and drain the Skinsâ€™ timeouts. I am quickly bored to tears. More shots of Cruise in the box. He looks uncomfortable. And insane. And gay.
> Longwell attempts a 30-yard field goal with 1:04 remaining, and â€¦ itâ€™s good. Fugginâ€™ sweet. Exactly 60 seconds remain. No timeouts for the Skins.
VIKES 19, SKINS 16
> A solid kick return by Betts gives the Skins position at the 38 with just under a minute remaining.
> The first pass is a 20+ gainer to Santana Moss near the sidelines. He even gets out of bounds. Horrible, horrible defense for the Vikes. The Skins are now in Vikings territory with plenty of time left on the clock.
> Short pass to Randle-El followed by an incomplete pass by Brunell. Time remaining: 22 seconds. The Skins are on the 35.
> Another short pass complete to Randle-El to the 30 yard line, bringing up fourth down. A 48-yard field goal attempt to tie the game, and â€¦ no good! Game over. Spoon screams in delight, jumps up, violently slams the remote on the couch and yells, â€œSuper Bowl! Weâ€™re going to the Bowl baby!â€
Looks like Theismann’s abrasive enthusiasm is starting to rub off on him. This could be a long season.
FINAL SCORE: VIKINGS 19, REDSKINS 16