When the Minnesota Vikings took their first regular season snap of the year as a team back on September 11, 2016 in Tennessee, fan expectations ranged from “lost year” to “competitive in the postseason”. There was not a true, clear-cut general consensus regarding how Minnesota’s year would unfold with Teddy Bridgewater on injured reserve, Sam Bradford expected to start at quarterback sooner rather than later and question marks all over the depth chart from offensive tackle to wide receiver to safety (not named Harrison Smith).
Minnesota went down to Nashville with a chip on its shoulder and, behind an impressive game from Shaun Hill (relatively speaking) and a truly outstanding all-around defensive performance, the Vikings swatted the initial wave of extremist doubters claiming they sent a potential Top-5 draft selection to the Philadelphia Eagles for Bradford.
Then Bradford stepped in, and the next four weeks of Vikings football were surreal. It was such an outstanding and completely unexpected beginning to the season — even the most optimistic fans were taken aback — that many of those 43 days of 2016 Vikings football truly felt like a dream. And, for some looking back at those magical six weeks now, it was a dream — not of the REM sleep variety, however.
This cynical usage of the term “dream” is likely better defined as a distorted reality of cognizant formation stemming from some variation of irregular brain activity or misguided thinking — or, simply, this period may optionally be remembered as a mirage conjured up by the atmospheric conditions of professional football.