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Vikings fans make the most of Super Bowl Sunday

Michael Rand, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Football

They partied anyway. Minnesotans showed up on Nicollet Mall for the free concerts all week, went to the galas and filled up social media with pictures of ice sculptures and Super Bowl cutout signs.

Mostly they treated the week leading up to Sunday's game the way Sen. Amy Klobuchar said she hoped they would: as a "major supersized distraction from the loss" to the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game.

For many Vikings fans, though, the arrival of the actual game Sunday was a blast of cold air reminding them that Super Bowl LII will be remembered as the What-If Bowl.

Just one game, 60 minutes, separated the Vikings from being the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium, a distinction that would have changed the course of the last two weeks and particularly Sunday.

Instead, Super Bowl LII stands for Lost It, Instantly.

Three hours before kickoff Sunday, several fans in Vikings jerseys walked the concourses of U.S. Bank Stadium. Each of them that I talked to was happy to be there -- it is the Super Bowl, after all, a bucket list event regardless of circumstances -- but each of them also had a firm grasp of the obvious: It could have been so much more.

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Dominic Hanson bought his Super Bowl tickets a week before the Vikings opened the playoffs and brought his son to the "Miracle in Minneapolis" victory over the Saints.

"That was all we talked about," Hanson, who lives in Baxter, Minn., said. "Then the Eagles game came. ... We were banking on the Vikings winning, but it didn't happen and we were still going to come to the game. How many times do you get a chance to go to a home Super Bowl?"

Hanson was wearing a Chad Greenway jersey, even more bittersweet with the number 52 on it. Nearby, I chatted with Sean Pearson, clad in a Stefon Diggs jersey.

"I feel terrible," he said. "This was the year everything was going right for us. It was destiny, but it didn't work out. This Super Bowl would have been crazy, absolutely nuts, if the Vikings had made it."

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