As the 2016 Vikings season marched toward a feeble and joyless ending with a meaningless game against a similarly disinterested divisional opponent, it seemed fitting that things couldn’t just end without one more big dose of weird. In a year rife with peculiarities and distractions, from the midseason resignation of the offensive coordinator to the emergency eye surgery for the head coach, and of course the borderline comedic avalanche of injuries, the Vikings’ season-ending 38-10 victory over the Bears was overshadowed by a demonstration in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline that included protesters hanging from the rafters of U.S. Bank Stadium while the game went on underneath.
In a normal season, such a protest would be a bizarre outlier. But for fans who have followed the Vikings through what seems like every imaginable oddity in 2016, the display was met with solemn nods and casual acceptance. Of course it would end this way.
It’s been a long year.