The Vikings hit the road this Sunday to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It will be their first visit to Tampa since a 38-24 loss in 2002, which brought their all-time record in Raymond James Stadium to 0-5. Of course, the two clubs used to meet twice per year in the old NFC Central division.
In fact the Vikings have not won in Tampa since October 26, 1997 when the Bucs called Tampa Stadium their home. The 10-6 Vikes win that day was nothing exceptional. But the week leading up to the game is where all the intrigue emerged.
Just prior to his weekly press conference, Vikings head coach Dennis Green released his autobiography No Room for Crybabies. As part of the promotion of the new book, Green warned of a “bombshell” at its conclusion. Upon release it was learned that the book included an elaborate document detailing a lawsuit he considered filing against the Vikings’ ownership group. Apparently Denny felt his ability to coach was being undermined amid rumors that the owners considered firing Green after the 1996 season and replacing him with Lou Holtz. In the proposed suit, Green basically demanded that he be given a percentage of the team’s ownership or he would sue.
In the press conference leading up to the Tampa Bay game, the focus was squarely on Green’s stunning revelation. Ah, but Denny wasn’t in the mood to talk about that. In response to the first question about the book, he emphasized that he would not address its contents until after the season. As such, he only wanted questions or inquiries pertaining to Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers. Star Tribune columnist Dan Barreiro was incredulous that Green would drop such a bombshell yet expect no one to address it until after the season. Green then defiantly stared straight ahead and uttered the now famous phrase of “Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay.” Said phrase is now used regularly by various talk show hosts (including Barreiro) on AM 1130 KFAN.
Yes, Denny was wildly entertaining even before his infamous meltdown as Cardinals coach.
With the excruciatingly dull Brad Childress, don't expect any such melodramatics this week. Just the run-of-the-mill talk about a 5-4 team trying to take over first place in their division. Which is fine by me!