A few days back I wrote a couple articles combining my two favorite hobbies, the Minnesota Vikings and Marvel Comics (namely in this context the Marvel Cinematic Universe). You can read those entries here:
For the third entry, I wanted to focus on what many still consider to be a weak point for the otherwise perfect MCU films. Outside of the initial scores/music for each film, many felt that the MCU villains were as bland as they were forgettable. While I never really agreed with that assessment, I thought it’d be fun to look at the Vikings (past and present) as well as the NFL as a whole from that perspective.
So, let’s get into it with the most famous villain in the MCU, Thanos, and which Vikings represent each of his most coveted possessions in the Infinity Stones.
Mike Zimmer – Thanos
If you ask any comic nerd what Thanos is most famous for outside of his totally sick helicopter, and it’s the snap.
Whether in the comics or the movies, Thanos had a singular goal of snapping his fingers to eliminate half of life in the universe. While his motivations between mediums differed (in the comics he was looking to impress the embodiment of Death for romantic reasons and in the films he thought that overpopulation left unchecked would destroy life), he really dedicated his life to acquiring the Infinity Gems/Stones and snapping his fingers.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer reminds me of Thanos in that he seems stubbornly committed to what he believes is the right way of building and running a team. Beyond that, he’s moved mountains to acquire the pieces he’s needed to execute his goal of a perfect defense/team.
The Power Stone- Danielle Hunter
There is no Viking more physically powerful than Danielle Hunter. The stud edge rusher looks like a men amongst boys, or rather, like a superhero amongst men. I mean, just look at this man:
There’s a scene in the original Guardians of the Galaxy movie that explains the sheer power of the Power Stone. In that clip, a giant cosmic being called a Celestial touches the stone to the surface of a planet and destroys the entire planet in the process.
In fact, that’s the goal of the villain of that film in Ronan the Accuser. After betraying Thanos and keeping the stone for himself, he decides to use it to decimate the planet of Xandar and then destroy the once all powerful Thanos.
If anyone can use power to destroy things, it’s Hunter, who owns a score of records for an edge at-or-before the age of 25. There’s a scene where the Nova Corps of Xandar attempt to form a blockade to stop Ronan, which ends poorly .
You get my point?
The Reality Stone- Kirk Cousins
The Reality Stone controls all facets of reality. When it is first introduced in the films, the Dark Elves of Thor- The Dark World are attempting to use it to return the universe to the darkness that existed when the Elves ran the show.
To do so, they needed to wait for the Convergence, the once in every 5,000 year cosmic occurrence that brings the most powerful/important realms close enough together for the Reality Stone (without the Power Stone boosting it) to reach the entire universe.
That need for assistance from the Power Stone reminds me of Cousins, who needs the offensive line to converge for Cousins (and thus the Vikings) to reach their full potential. Cousins alone has the most personal impact on the future/reality of the Vikings, and like the Power Stone in the movies it feels like he’s getting the least amount of support or explanation.
He also is one of the most accurate passers in NFL history. I just like pointing that out.
The Space Stone- Eric Kendricks
The Space Stone allows anyone who wields it to move to anywhere in the Universe instantaneously. If there’s anyone on the Vikings who is seemingly all over the field it’s Eric Kendricks, the defenses MVP.
The first Captain America movie also showed that the Space Stone (also known as the Tesseract) is also powerful in and of itself. The Red Skull and Hydra used it to create weapons, which is the same thing that SHIELD did in the first Avengers film (although, Hydra was secretly controlling SHIELD the entire time).
Kendricks may be fast and omnipresent, but he’s also powerful and multi-faceted. He’s also obviously the most important player on the defense, and one could argue that without the Space Stone Thanos wouldn’t have been able to acquire the others.
The Time Stone- Mike Zimmer
I thought long and hard where to put Zimmer, the man who could arguably fit at any other spot. I also understand that it makes little sense to have Zimmer as Thanos AND a Stone, because it’s not as if Zimmer can collect himself.
Or can he?
George Edwards and now Adam Zimmer have been or are full or partial defensive coordinators that don’t call plays. So, you could argue that the strict continuity that the Vikings have had constitutes Zimmer attempting to pause time.
Beyond that, Zimmer has been resistant to any sort of modernization. From the old school run first approach to the Vikings being one of the final two teams to employ next gen stats, I can’t think of anyone that encompasses time more than he.
Although, I will give an honorable mention to former Vikings great Adrian Peterson. A man who ages like Logan.
The Mind Stone- Rick Spielman
If Zimmer is the Time ,Vikings general manager Rick Spielman represents the Mind. He’s obviously in charge of personnel and team building, which requires a strong and clear mind. Beyond that, he needs to be able to convince those around him to follow suit, to buy into what he’s doing (from above and below him, needing both ownership and the coaching staff to co-sign his moves), to be effective.
The Mind Stone allows for the wielder to control the Mind of those around them. It also is sentient in and of itself, with Ultron’s consciousness dwelling within the Stone itself. That consciousness has good intentions but goes about them the wrong way, and considering how closely tied together both Spielman and Zimmer are (and the latter’s poor execution of good intentions)… It’s safe to say that Spielman unleashed Zimtron.
The Soul Stone- Dalvin Cook
If Cousins is the Reality Stone, Dalvin Cook is definitely the Soul Stone as he is the heart and soul of the offense. The entire offense flows through Cook, and he’s clearly been missed during games in which he’s been unable to play.
The Soul Stone also requires a sacrifice to acquire, with Thanos sacrificing his “favorite” “Daughter” and Black Widow/Hawkeye jockeying over who should die in ‘Infinity War’ and ‘Endgame’.
Dalvin has sacrificed more than any other Viking in terms of his health/body, and he’s also worked incredibly hard to stay healthy which is a sacrifice in and of itself.