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What Kind Of Vikings Fan Should A Person Be?

A Minnesota Vikings fan with a painted face and a goofy horned helmet looks contemplative/despondent during the team's loss to the New York Giants in the 2023 NFC Wild Card game.
David Berding/Getty Images

To the extent that we've talked about it, Drew and I tend to approach the us-only episodes of the podcast as a sort of break. It's not that the heroic rigors of doing our weekly podcast are crushing our very spirits, but we are both pretty silly men in our own ways, and trying to keep it together and be normal in conversation with actual experts and people we sincerely admire really does take a lot out of me, at the very least. The episodes where it's just us, on the other hand, are just us: two middle-aged donkeys lobbing faulty alley-oops to each other and sometimes just making Arnold Schwarzenegger Distress Noises back and forth for something like five consecutive minutes. As I said: silly men.

This week's episode, which was recorded just before I headed off to Maine, seemed like it was going to be one of those, if only because it was just going to be us. The first hint that this would not be the case came the night before, when Drew sent me a pair of messages. The first was "I might talk Vikings tomorrow with you," and the second was "but in a very unorthodox fashion." And, for the first half of what wound up being an unusually care-intensive episode, that was just what we did, and how we did it.

In retrospect, the tone was set in Drew's searching and conflicted Why Your Team Sucks installment on the Minnesota Vikings. Those are not usually words associated with that series, which is very much by design, but they're also not words I generally associate with being a sports fan. Caring about a team in the way that Drew is a fan of the Vikings is in some ways the opposite of that— carte blanche to be as big/weird a butthead as you want to be, forever. Drew's journey as a fan, as we discussed for the first 20-odd minutes of this episode, has led him to confront the question of just how big and just how weird a butthead he really wants to be in this instance, and why.

The resulting conversation was decently wide-ranging, and certainly went beyond Drew seeking counsel or permission to tell 13-year-olds to shut up online in defense of Alexander Mattison. That was a part of it, but it wound up going in some directions I didn't really expect, most of them pointing back to the question of how a person should try to be. The idea that there's some other, easier, happier way to be that could simply be opted into is kind of a classic as far as existential fallacies go, and I spoke a little bit about that. The Vikings are not the first sports team to inspire a low-key personality crisis in the people who care about them—trust me, I know—but I found the process of working through it to be pretty gratifying and illuminating, and at the very least the "very unorthodox" twist on Vikings chat that I was promised, or threatened with.

And then we got to the dumb stuff. We remember one of my favorite ill-tempered and underperforming Mets guys, and a true mustache-and-houseboat icon. Listener questions allowed us to consider some important questions—the spirit and culture of America's dipshit insurrectionists, for one, and my personal fixation on how lawlessness makes itself felt on the micro and macro scale—while also allowing for a rather jarringly lengthy stretch of Macho Man Randy Savage voice work. We talked about famous people falling from grace, and about the importance of consequences; I danced right up to the line of some real MSNBC behavior there, but I think stopped short of it. The episode ends with one of our listeners butt-dialing our Funbag hotline and leaving a three-minute wash of household white noise.

That would be a nice place to end this post as well, but I have to add one more thing—we just recently confirmed a live Distraction for Littlefield, in Brooklyn, on October 4, and you can get tickets for that here. It's a fun venue, and we'll have some stupid giveaways and 1990s Donruss commons for all those brave enough to take on the risk of hearing me do my B-minus Macho Man voice in person.

If you would like to subscribe to The Distraction, you can do that through Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever else you might get your podcasts. Feel free to discuss this week's episode in the comments below. Thank you as always for your support.

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