EDITOR'S NOTE:Texans fan Alan J. Burge will be writing a "Voice of the Fan" column throughout
the 2004 season. His latest installment is below. Alan's views do not necessarily
reflect the views of the organization.
Ya for sure, the echoes of the movie Fargo are ringing in my ears. Yes, I know, Fargo is in North Dakota but it's only a stones throw across the other Red River from the land of the purple gang from Minnesota
Yes, Minnesota, where lutefisk and smelt are considered delicacies and where passing statistics are super-sized on a regular basis. The Vikings are proud owners of one of the NFLs most potent offenses, but they have also been one of its more disappointing teams in recent years.
The Vikes are loaded with talent but head coach Mike Tice has yet to find a recipe for consistency over a full season. There is no better example of the Vikings inconsistency than last season when they raced out to a 6-0 start, only to lose their next four in a row and five out of six. This is a very streaky team that ended the 2003 season by losing road games to what were arguably some of the worst teams in the league in the Chargers, Bears, Raiders, and Cardinals. The crushing loss to the Cardinals in Week 17 earned them a seat on the couch to watch the playoffs at home on television. Yes, this is a team that is hard to figure out. It's a team that is still struggling to come back from an embarrassing 41-0 shutout to the New York Giants in the 2000 playoffs.
What the Vikings have or haven't accomplished in recent years will have no effect on the outcome of Sunday's match up with the Texans at Reliant. But there's enough Jekyll and Hyde baggage carried by the horned wonders of the north to make you wonder what the heck the Texans will be in for on Sunday.
We know about Culpepper and Moss. There's probably not a receiver in the league better than Randy Moss. But, the Texans face some pretty talented QB/WR combinations on a regular basis in AFC South Division play so there's no need to panic. Randy will get his. What the Texans will need to do is make sure he doesn't break our backs with the big plays he is capable of. Aaron, Dunta, and Marcus will have their hands full on Sunday. The fact that running backs Onterrio Smith and Michael Bennett are out of action could give the Texans porous run defense a lift on Sunday.
The Vikings play a bend but not break defense and the Texans will likely see a lot of deep zones and blitzing. If the Texans offensive line plays like it did last week, the Texans should be able to have a fair amount of success on Sunday. As always, avoiding mistakes and costly turnovers are the key.
This sounds strange but if the worst were to happen and the Texans lose on Sunday, it won't hurt quite as much as losing some of the other games coming up in the next several weeks. Don't get me wrong, I want to win them all but after the Vikings the next four games are against AFC opponents and three of those four are against division opponents. I don't want to drop two full games out of the lead in the Division but at least we will have a chance to make that up by playing our division rivals head to head in coming weeks.
Hopefully it will be sunny, hot, and humid again on Sunday so we can watch the Vikes melt like snowmen in the second half.
Now for my usual plea: Arrive early for pre-game introductions, then stay until 0:00 and yell your head off when the Texans are on defense. Have fun tailgating or watching the game wherever you are, and to all my friends in Minnesota: Husqvarna!
*"We come from the land of the ice and snow, *
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow…"
- Jimmy Page and Robert Plant
You can email the "Voice of the Fan" at: firstname.lastname@example.org