There were only two Cheeseheads in the entire Metrodome on Saturday Night for the Viking’s preseason game vs. the Saints and they were sitting with the 205 Berserkers as invited guests.
As it was for the Vikings, it was Berserker’s first game of the pre-season, and many of the regulars sat out for the first games tailgate festivities. Bowing out weeks in advance were Stier, Saueey, Hagen, Lil Schmidty, and Big Schmidty. Although their presence would be sorely missed, the Berserker regulars were confident that their “tailgating system” which had been implemented over the past few years would allow their replacements to showcase their skills and have the best tailgating experience of their careers.
The chore of putting together the replacement team fell onto Rocky and Mook, who noted that the task would be like casting for MTV’s Real World, or CBS’s Survivor. “We tried to invite interesting and controversial characters that would maximize the tailgating experience on Washington Avenue for this Vikings pre-season game,” noted Rocky. Knowing that the familiar Watertown, SD 205 Berserkers Chapter of Steve and Chester would be driving in via a stop at Mankato, MN, Rocky and Mook put together a team of rag-tag partiers that would surround the core of regulars and carry the Berserker torch for the pre-season.
“Clearly, we had to find guys that would work within our system,” added Mook, “So just like Dennis Green who went out and got the Packers Offensive and Defensive coordinators last off-season, we went after some strangely familiar talent to co-host our party.”
They invited Norms Softball player Johnny “J-Rock” Rogers who was invited once last year as a replacement but unable to attend. J-Rock has been a life-long Viking fan with direct ties to former Viking WR Sam McCullum. Then, much like the controversial Coach of the Purple, the Berserkers went into enemy territory and recruited two Packer fans, Wales and Paulie from St. Paul Park.
“It’s not like they don’t know no our partying style,” commented Mook, “I have been going to their house to party for the Viking-Packer game at Lambeau for the last five years! They know me, I know them, so the system should allow them to be just fine.”
With the planning finalized, the big day arrived. We started the day out with a cookout at Berserker HQ in Eagan, MN with Ellen prepping all the pre-game meal amenities, including tailgate favorites such as brats, corn-on-the-cob, potato salad, and homemade candy bars. Stomachs full, we headed over to the Valley Lounge Bar in Eagan, MN to meet the Cheeseheads and J-Rock.
We were greeted at the Valley Lounge with a friendly taunt of “Vikings Suck!” from Packer Paulie, and somehow, one just knew that this would be a day of testing and challenge for the Berserkers friendly “tailgating system!” We chucked down a couple pitchers of Premo at the Valley, packed our coolers and tailgate chairs into to two SUV’s and headed on down to the Metrodome.
We arrived at Tailgate Central around 3 pm and joined several Vikings fans who had already made their way to the stadium tailgate lot on Washington Avenue. The beer started flowing, and the Packer Boys stuck out like green albinos in a sea of purple. Needless to say, the sore-thumbs were easy targets for Viking passerby’s.
“Are you guys lost? … Lambeau is that way!… Packers Suck…Why are you here?…” and several other random taunts were thrown at our guests, who responded admirably to the harassment. For the first part of day both Packer Paulie and Wales took several verbal jibes and held their ground.
“Hey you guys ever heard of armchair quarterbacks?” Wales would ask the taunters, “Well we’re just armchair tailgaters checking out the enemy territory to see if your partying is up to standard and that you guys are still worth playing.” Wales seemed pretty skilled in diffusing the purple lament with his sense of humor. Meanwhile, Paulie won the favor of some Viking fans by playing catch with their sons for several hours.
Probably the most instense confrontation between our Packer guests and Viking fans came in the line of the Porto Potties. Wales, Paulie and Mook had all walked over the restrooms together. As they stood in the line four Viking women surrounded Paulie and began heckling him like a kid wearing Kmart clothes in and Edina kindergarten It might have helped his cause if he had remembered the score or at least opposition of the previous nights Packer preseason victory, but as it turned out the women caught him off-guard with their queries, chewing him up and spitting him out with their venomous purple attack.
We tailgated for nearly 4 hours, talking about the past years and new expectations of ’00. J-Rock caught the eye of KSTP Channel 5 reporters and was filmed playing catch with a kid. He made is Berserker appearance on local TV later that evening when they ran the segment about tailgaters outside the Metrodome.
Because Chester and Steve had driven up earlier in the week and stopped off to visit the Vikings at Training Camp, we were getting a first hand scouting report of what to expect during the game. Chester told us that we could expect to see some nice wrinkles in the offense, “You gotta see Daunte running the option,” he boasted, tipping us off on some new plays in the Viking Playbook. Steve shared with us the insight on how the defensive backs are expected to practice, and commented on how slack Mitch Berger and Gary Anderson had it in comparison to the rest of the team.
Before you knew it, it was time for the early faction to enter the stadium.
The Packer Boys and Mook (as the late-late faction), arrived at the game in time to see the Viking’s first drive. Many in attendance at the game had been saying all along that the only part of the game they cared about was the first half, anxious to see the new players; Daunte, Hovan, Bryce Paup and Tyrone Carter.
Mook’s Favorite plays:
· Chester’s Option call. Yes, the Dakota Kid was correct, Daunte called an option and actually ran the ball for a good 15 yards. We were impressed with his speed and confidence throughout the game, but this run was a Berserker favorite play.
· Randy Moss, taking the short pass deep. Right on, the kid attacked the sideline after a great run, and lunged for the end zone. I love the guts he showed after the long dash.
· Daunte’s bruisng burst toward the end zone, in the same spot on the field where last year Jeff George just laid down like a pansie.
· Jim Kleinsasser’s Toucdown. Move over Boom Boom Brown, there’s a new Bruiser in the HOUSE!
· Orlando Thomas’ interception flashed me back to his healthy years
· I was disappointed with was the lack of a pass rush. We had nobody putting pressure on anyone! I don’t recall seeing a sack, and Hovan did nothing to impress me at all. I want him to do well…
· Jake Reed, wrong team, Touchdown after further review…
· The final score 25-24, Viking loss. I know it’s meaningless, but we did dominate every stat. The Vikes comitted 3 fumbles, and 1 interception, AND THE KILLER… a blocked punt…
As was stated, we only really paid attention to the first half score with the Vikings winning 14-10.
Post Game Tailgate:
The Packer Boys celebrated the Vikings defeat to the deaf ears of their 205 Berserker hosts. They kept rubbing in the fact that the Vikings lost the game on a last second field goal. The parking lot cleared out pretty fast, and other than some track sprint challenges from our neighbors in the parking lot, there was no real post-game athletics. There was no boxing, or long toss, or bonfires of the vanities, just plain old beer consumption and conversation. The lost art of tailgating was back for another season.
Steve, Chester, Paulie, J-Rock, Whales, Rocky, Mook, Lil Buddy, Notre Dame Dan,
Grades: B- The tailgating was fun, but the Vikes lost the game. Not a lot of swearing or concern, but plenty of high fives and praise about Daunte Culpepper and Moss. No food at the tailgate, just chips and beer.
MVP: J-Rock, who got on TV wearing the Korey Stringer jersey in his first Berserker experience.
“VIKINGS SUCK!” Packer Paulie, several times, most notably the first and last words out of his mouth at the beginning of the day and the end of the evening…
“The cool thing about the first pre-season game is that you get to see what everybody got for Christmas last year.” Brent
“Are you kidding? Is he F’n Nuts?” Lil Buddy’s comments to Rocky when he was told that Mook was bringing in 2 Packer fans to sit with the 205 Berserkers.
“At least this one likes Harleys” Viking Girl commenting to Wales the Packer fan in the line at the Porto Potty.
“Do you want me to slap the yellow off your tooth?” J-Rock response to the taunting of Packer Paulie after the game!
“I could never thank you enough ,if hadn’t said it enough, I’ll say it again ‘ thanks bro, thanks for bringing us to this game.’ This has been one of the best times of my LIFE!” A very grateful Wales
“The main thing is to try and get better. We went out and played well, but I think we had too many mistakes. Down the road it will hurt us if we don’t get better. The bottom line is we need to get better. I have to get better and everybody has to get better.” Daunte Culpepper commenting on the 205 Berserker Tailgating antics