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New Vikings QB



As news circulated on Tuesday regarding the Vikings’ appointment of a new quarterbacks coach, longtime fans of the team and those well-versed in its history of heartaches couldn’t help but react in a familiar manner.

Wait, isn’t Josh McCown …

Indeed, he is.

McCown, the latest addition to the Vikings’ coaching staff, held the reins as the Cardinals’ quarterback in 2003 during a pivotal moment etched in the annals of Vikings lore β€” a season marked by frustration that still stings, perhaps more than any other in the last twenty-five years for any Minnesota professional sports team.

On fourth-and-25 from the Vikings 28-yard line, McCown orchestrated a game-winning touchdown pass to Nate Poole in the corner of the end zone, sealing a crushing defeat for Minnesota as time expired. The final score: Arizona 18, Vikings 17.

A victory in that game would have catapulted the Vikings into the playoffs as division champions. Instead, they fell short, and the Packers clinched the playoff berth. As KFAN’s Paul Allen lamented: Nooooooo. Nooooooo.

Poole was awarded the key to the city of Green Bay β€” a gesture as practically useful as Packers “stock,” yet symbolic nonetheless. McCown went on to enjoy a remarkably lengthy playing career, primarily as a backup quarterback, with his last appearance in a game dating back to 2019 before transitioning to coaching.

And now, he assumes the role of the Vikings’ QB coach. While undoubtedly capable in his new position, it remains to be seen whether his hiring signifies tempting fate or confronting the ghosts of the past β€” a topic explored on a recent episode of the Daily Delivery podcast.

Because, let’s not forget just how exasperating the 2003 Vikings were:

*Focusing solely on that infamous Cardinals game: Arizona entered the matchup with a dismal 3-12 record. The Vikings, commanding a 17-6 lead midway through the fourth quarter against a team seemingly resigned to a season’s end, succumbed to a late Cardinals touchdown with just under two minutes remaining, reducing the lead to 17-12. All the Vikings needed to do was recover an onside kick, but alas, they failed. The Cardinals gained possession and swiftly advanced inside the Vikings’ 10-yard line, only to secure victory with a fourth-and-25 miracle.

*The 2003 season began auspiciously for the Vikings, boasting a 6-0 start, including a notable Week 1 triumph at Green Bay. Their subsequent four wins were by double-digit margins. With Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss in peak form, Moss concluded the year with 111 receptions, 17 of which were touchdowns. The Vikings showcased a genuinely elite offense and appeared to be a formidable team overall.

*However: Following their unblemished start, they faltered, losing to the Giants in Week 7. The Giants would ultimately finish the season with a dismal 4-12 record. Strikingly, the Vikings suffered defeats to four teams that ended the season with a matching 4-12 record: the Giants, Cardinals, Raiders, and Chargers. A significant contributing factor to their unraveling was their accumulation of 127 penalties, tied for the second-most in the league that year.

It’s a challenge to find a more exasperating team in recent Minnesota sports memory. Perhaps it was for the best that McCown connected with Poole in the end zone two decades ago, delivering the fate they deserved?

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