MINNEAPOLIS -- Tempers flared Sunday at the Metrodome after Minnesota's final touchdown of a 34-3 playoff victory over Dallas as Cowboys linebacker Keith Brooking sprinted toward the Vikings' sideline, taunting* coach Brad Childress and later calling the late score "classless."As I mentioned last week, the Vikings finally seem to have acquired that missing element that separates those teams that play in February from those that don't. It's not Favre**, it's the drive to put teams away with finality, the desire to finish well. It's the insatiable hunger to send other teams packing, not with the thought that one play could have changed the outcome, but with a "What the hell just happened?" look on their faces. The past two weeks the Vikings have shown the aggression that is absolutely necessary if they are going to win next week***.
Vikings nose tackle Pat Williams, meanwhile, said Brooking was lucky to escape the Minnesota sideline in one piece.
"We don't care what Keith Brooking says," Williams said. "He was about to get his ass whupped on our sideline over there... We take no pity on them. Do they expect us to? I don't care about no Brooking. He can say whatever he wants to say."
Last time the Vikes were accused of running up the score, I protested that they had very good reason: they had the worst passing defense in the league and so even leading by 4 touchdowns with half a game to play, the thing was not settled. Today they probably did run it up; they didn't need to score with 2:00 left to put the Cowboys away. So what? Is it worse as a professional to have a better team beat you as badly as they can and show you where you stand, or to beat you and then lie down, a taunt that says, "We don't even need to try"? This is the bigs, boys; suck it up and use it for tackling fuel next season.
UPDATE: Go Jets! With the Vikes and Jets one game from playing for it all, PiffordT's gotta be coming apart at the seams...
* taunt? That's a funny word to use when you're losing by 4 touchdowns.
** though I'll confess that helps no little bit
*** Vikings fan that I am, I do not expect they will win. Win or lose, I also don't expect a close game.