Growing up in northeastern Montana, choosing a sports team wasn't easy. Since no professional sports teams play in Montana or the bordering states, geographic location wasn't a factor. Choosing a team was just a matter of taste,, so everyone followed a different team. Most people followed the closer teams such as the Bears, Broncos, and Vikings. And of course the Steelers, the Cowboys, and the 49er's had many fans.
My family was full of Packers fans. My dad and my brothers are fans. My uncle is a huge fan, even naming his sandwich shop after the team. I never really came to be a fan of a specific team, I tended to cheer for the underdog in most situations. When I moved to North Dakota, most of my friends were from Minnesota, and Vikings fans. At the time the Vikings had a team I couldn't cheer for. Randy Moss, Daunte Culpepper, and Chris Carter were not the type of players I liked. Because of this and my nature to go against the pack, I decided that I was going to be the Anti-Viking fan, cheering against them whenever I could. I still wasn't a fan of a specific team though, which made the football season much less enjoyable than following the Twins and Timberwolves.
About a year and a half ago I moved to Minneapolis. This was the first time I had lived in a place with major sports teams, and it was an experience. All the radio stations talked about the teams frequently, the paper had numerous articles. It was a dramatic change from following teams by AP article and ESPN. I became a bigger fan of the Twins and Timberwolves, but I still couldn't get over my aversion to the Vikings.
Things started to change last year. The Vikings turned a page and dumped the players I disliked. Moss left, then Culpepper, they hired a coach that may not be the best NFL head coach, but unlike Tice I don't think Childress is a crook. To cap it all of, they drafted a player I really liked in Adrian Peterson. I liked him when he was in college, and I thought the Vikings made a great selection. Again, due to the fact that I live in Minneapolis, I watched the majority of the Vikings games and realized all my reasons for disliking the Vikings were no longer there. They have one of my favorite players, they have become a defense first team, and have changed their culture to try and prevent incidents like the "Love Boat".
At the start of the pre-season, I decided I was willing to admit it, I am officially announcing my Vikings allegiance. I'm not jumping on the bandwagon, I'm not changing teams, I've just decided that the Vikings are going to be my team. I doubt I will start buying Viking's apparel, but I will cheer for them on Sunday no matter who they are playing.
I'm looking forward to this NFL season more than any other for this reason. I actually have a team to follow were before I followed the season and didn't care either way who won or lost. I think the Vikings are going to have a great season, and expect them to make the playoffs, if for no other reason then they play in a very weak division. I also get to follow the best young running back in the game right now, and see possibly the best defense in the league. It will be odd to be an admitted Vikings fan, but I'm looking forward to joining the ranks of the tormented.