The NFL has finally reached the time of year between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. While football fans try to remember what it’s like to be productive on a Sunday afternoon, the NFL celebrates this period with the Pro Bowl.
The Pro Bowl used to be a major event as the best players around the league would head to Hawaii and get drunk on Mai Tais. Players would participate in fun events between servings, such as a beach football game that destroyed Robert Edwards‘ career, the NFL Quarterback Challenge, and Peyton Manning putting Mike Vanderjagt in a bodybag during a sideline interview.
Since then, the Pro Bowl has taken a step back as players have opted to recover from a grueling season or play in a golf tournament and create more rumors about their future. That led to the NFL implementing a new format where stars of the NFC and AFC battle in a series of events to determine conference supremacy.
Several players still said No thanks, but the Minnesota Vikings were willing to oblige. Seven Vikings will take part in this week’s festivities, and much like Kirk Cousins one year ago, they have everything they need to be the team that dominates this competition.
But there’s always room for improvement, and we have some ideas that would give the Vikings an extra leg up for next year.
A game created by a 1937 short story by George Surdez, Russian Roulette has been the downfall of several mobsters. However, it’s the perfect game for the Vikings.
The object is to kick one extra point to determine the fate of one lucky fan. While some kickers like Daniel Carlson would leave little suspense, the world would experience what every Vikings fan endures every week when Greg Joseph lines up on the left hash.
There are some obstacles to consider. Taking someone’s head off on live television is generally frowned upon – unless you’re Sean Taylor – so this could be avoided by having financial implications.
Will Clarice be able to finally pay for college? Will the Johnsons be able to pay their mortgage? And will little Jimmy finally stop having to snack on raw potatoes to survive? Stay tuned!
THE CENTER TOSS
Created in the mold of a high school shotput competition, this idea challenges some of the best defensive tackles in the NFL to see how far they can throw a living, breathing 300 lb. center. Jason Kelce would likely run to his podcast to complain after barely moving an inch, but the star of the show would be none other than the centers of the Minnesota Vikings.
Who doesn’t want to see Kenny Clark launch Chris Reed into the Shadow Realm after he forgets the snap count? Who wouldn’t want to see a legend get involved to re-create that time when Reggie White threw Cris Carter at Warren Moon? Perhaps they could have a mystery partner like Akiem Hicks to create a look of horror on Garrett Bradbury’s face before heaving him 30 yards downfield?
With the possibility of guards like Ed Ingram and Ezra Cleveland getting involved, fans will marvel at seeing 300 lb. men flying through the air.
THE ALL-STAR AGENT CONTRACT NEGOTIATION
Who said the Pro Bowl was just for the players? The agents can get their moment to shine in an all-out, no holds barred contract negotiation for the world to see.
Can Adam Thielen get one last payday after showing up in a Minnesota State hoodie and a hat that says “You betcha?” Can Dalvin Cook’s agent successfully prove that the Vikings aren’t better off without a running back that generated 24 yards below replacement, according to Football Outsiders?
We haven’t even talked about Danielle Hunter’s agent fighting for his job after his client was shockingly underpaid in 2018. But that all pales in comparison to the main event between Kirk Cousins and the Vikings’ front office.
Cousins is like the Roman Reigns of contract negotiations, and many have been waiting for him to finally be dethroned. With a 13-win season and another Pro Bowl under his belt, will he be able to capture a $40 million contract, or will the sound of Justin Jefferson sobbing in the corner be enough for the Vikings to move on?
THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD CHALLENGE
Plenty of events could spice up the Pro Bowl, including the check-down challenge, the trick play triathlon, and the Jalen Reagor Bodybuilding Invitational judged by Matt Daniels. However, the “Middle of the Road Challenge” is the event the Vikings would dominate the most.
The Vikings haven’t lost more than seven games in a season since 2013. While nobody wants to see that happen, they’ve been stuck in an era where they have plenty of big names but very little playoff success to show for it.
In a way, the Vikings are like the Pro Bowl. You know it’s there, and the names used to be great, but they’ve lost their luster with time. While the Pro Bowl could still improve, the Vikings are in a much tougher spot. Until then, they can enjoy the trip to Vegas and ask themselves how many of their Pro Bowlers will return to the team next season.