At the risk of sounding repetitious, having Tarkenton is like having a coach on the field. As Minnesota's offensive coordinator, Jerry Burns, says, "Certainly nobody today has seen more than Fran has. When we set up a game plan, I suggest what I think the running game ought to be, but Fran knows as much as anyone about what will work with the passing game. We manage to put together something that he's comfortable with."
When Tarkenton had his ritual bowl of chili the night before the game at Chili John's in beautiful downtown Green Bay. he couldn't help but dwell on how he might feast on the young Packer secondary. Some say that feasting on the current Packers is easier than feasting at Chili John's, and Tarkenton proved as much on Sunday.
It would not be fair to suggest the victory was an easy one. The Vikings had to come from behind twice, from 10-7 and 17-14, but it never seemed that they were out of control. Receivers were open everywhere, and especially when Tarkenton needed them to be.
His three touchdown passes were of an assortment that only Tarkenton, perhaps, could have thrown today. The first was a play action to the right where he zinged one in from five yards to Voigt. The second was a drop-back, a floater over the head of the defender into the arms of Gilliam in the end zone. And the third was a typical old-fashioned Tarkenton scramble. Running around, bringing the stadium to its feet, and then, as only a man with a still-good arm can do, firing one for 10 yards to Foreman, who caught it just on the line, inundated by people in green shirts.
And so Fran Tarkenton and the Vikings press on, wondering if they can finally do it all. "Getting through the playoffs is the hardest part," he claimed. "That's where the real pressure is. We've gone into two Super Bowls now and we've lost our edge both times. Maybe it's because there's two weeks between the conference championship and the Super Bowl, I don't know. Maybe that's why there's never really been a great Super Bowl game." Tarkenton would like one more opportunity to do something about all that.