According to string theory, quantum fluctuations in the energy levels of Calabi-Yau spaces yield pockets of existence with individually distinct quantum laws—that is, a multiverse.
And within these millions upon millions of variants on our own universe, somewhere, inside one of them, the Vikings just began their unlikely 2021 playoff campaign. It must be true, or else this is all just a fever dream….
Part One: Delerium Tremens
It’s been a tough week for America, but at least the Vikings are in the playoffs.
That seemed a near mathematical impossibility headed into week fifteen. The Rams provided the opening with a near-historic collapse that included a cold streak for quarterback Jared Goff and a COVID outbreak that decimated the locker room following an especially ill-advised bobbing-for-apples team-building exercise to lose control of their division.
It was just the opening the surging Vikings needed. Kirk Cousins who, believing the rest of the season to essentially be garbage time, played near-perfect football. His three-game passer rating of 145.3 in what seemed to be a lost season earned him the nickname Garbage Unitas.
That, and a trip to Seattle in the league’s newly instituted extra wildcard spot.
Cousins seized the opportunity.
The Vikes hit the ground running—almost entirely, with the woeful Seattle defense unable to stop Dalvin Cook from gaining five yards on nearly every carry. Combined with some efficient short passes and a couple scrambles from Cousins himself, it was enough to put Minnesota up 14-0 early in the second quarter.
The lead would have been 17-0 had Dan Bailey’s 39-yard field goal attempt not sailed wide right into the opponent’s locker room tunnel.
Despite the best efforts of defensive team leader Eric Kendricks, who returned from injury to notch yet an interception later in the game, Minnesota’s anemic defense, ironically, couldn’t stop the bleeding. Penalties and blown assignments let the Seahawks bumbling offense to creep back to a 14-10 halftime deficit.
In the second half, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll decided to Let Russ Cook, and Wilson accidentally set the whole kitchen ablaze. He fumbled twice and threw that aforementioned interception to Kendricks in the endzone near the end of the third quarter.
That led to the game’s scariest moment when Carroll, furious over Wilson’s endzone pick, accidentally inhaled his chewing gum. He began choking on the sidelines. Because of his COVID mask, Carroll’s struggles for air were misinterpreted as fury at his quarterback until he collapsed on the sidelines. Thankfully he was revived moments later by a line judge with CPR training.
The Seahawks never really recovered from Carroll’s second-most infamous televised choke. Cousins kept pace with an even distribution of passes to Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, who finished the day with 84 yards and 79 yards respectively, and Cook scored another touchdown to make the final 16-10 following Dan Bailey’s missed extra point.
Emotions ran high in the Vikings locker room afterward, where a celebratory Cousins waved around a pair of mayonnaise sandwiches and shouted, “This is what happens when Kirk cooks!” Despite the pervasive confusion among his teammates, they cheered on their mayo-flecked leader, who next week will take them one step to football’s greatest prize.
Don’t disbelieve, Vikings fans. This is really happening.