I don’t know about you, but I thought the Vikings were defeated when the Saints field goal sailed through the uprights in the closing minute of Sunday’s playoff game. I also noticed the Saints coach, Sean Payton, was waving his arms and clipboard jubilantly in celebration of the apparent comeback victory. He wasn’t shown again when the Vikings used the remaining 25 seconds to score a touchdown, Case Keenum to Stephon Diggs, for a 29-24 win. I let out a yell when Diggs crossed the goal line and our Setter Vanna, who as sleeping, jumped up and ran out of the room. I, for one, couldn’t feel a bit sorry for Payton, who was the Saints coach during the bounty year when Brett Favre was a Viking, and took such a beating. Favre said of the playoff game, he’ll be watching Sunday and rooting. “I want to see the Vikes win.” Their next game is Jan. 21 in Philadelphia, and you can bet the new chant, “Bring It Home” will be on the lips of Vikings fans. The Vikings blew a 17-0 halftime lead and needed that little bit of luck to win, but that’s legal in football as well as baseball! I got pumped up watching the game and after the winning touchdown I figured the best way to relax was to blow out the four inches of snow that fell. It helped, but wasn’t a cure-all! With all the excitement of the football playoffs and the Super Bowl remember Maple Lake has some excitement of their own, the Fishing Derby on the Feb. 3, the Saturday before the big game. * * * When the weather warmed up early last week George Palmer and I decided we shouldn’t wait any longer to find a mess of sunnies or crappies. Monday afternoon we tried Rock Lake, and Palmer caught a few crappies who he pawned off on another angler when he didn’t feel he had enough for a meal. Neither of us caught any sunfish that day. . . As long as the weather was remaining fairly warm we decided to try another lake, Indian, on Tuesday. We got out their about 10 a.m. and found only a few anglers and one spearer, but a ton of holes had been drilled in different parts of the lake. Our efforts to find any sunfish, shallow or deep, was not successful and we pulled up stakes and headed back to Rock Lake. We found the sunfish biting in about 9 feet of water about two feet off the bottom. Palmer had the hot hand and nailed seven keepers while I added two. There was a lot of sorting, and it would have been a great day for kids to get the feel of biting sunnies. As it was we wrapped up our lines about 4 p.m. and figured maybe earlier might be better for catching larger fish. Palmer had a committment for Wednesday so I went out solo to the same lake. The fish were still hungry, but they weren’t the size I wanted and had to fish for about 5 hours to get enough for a meal (7). I heard one good report from a fellow angler who said he had been fishing three days in succession earlier in the season and had caught limits of keepers each time. I also got an assist from him when I hit the starter on the Suburban and only got a pathetic growl. He and I were the only two anglers on that part of Rock, and he suggested he follow me off the lake in case the car gave me any more problems. The next stop for my fishing and hunting vehicle is the repair shop to find out what ailes the 16-year-old truck. By mid-week the cold weather is supposed to change and I should be back on one of Wright County’s lakes. . . I heard of two walleyes caught, one on Rock and the other on Washington, but not the Washington where a vehicle broke through the ice over the week. Several other lakes from Ottertail county where I grew up that have been producing walleyes are Ottertail and West Battle in 15-25 feet of water. Crappies are biting on Rush and Pelican. Now I’ll have to see if I can get my younger brother, Charles, off the couch to give that area a try. He’s got the right toys to go after them. . . Mike Muller, fishing Florida’s Lake Okeechobe, said he and his fishing buddy Jesse caught 25 crappies from 10 1/2 to 13 inches and threw back about another 15 that were close to the 10 inch minimun. They didn’t want to chance any negative opinion from the conservation officer down there who keeps a watch on that lake’s anglers. * * * We’ve been getting Vanna out for daily runs, despite the cold weather, and she seems to appreciate the chance to stretch her legs. On Saturday there were three teams of sled dogs in Ney Park who didn’t seem to mind the near zero weather. They were an attractive bunch of dogs. I don’t know how many people showed up that cold day, but Maple Lake Mayor Lynn Kissock was on hand with her three dogs. To me all the dogs seemed to be of one breed, Alaskan Huskies, Malamutes, or one of the other breeds; and all of them were an attractive bunch, looked alike and oblivious to the cold. They’re a breed that is born to run and were secured with their collars attached to a cable and convenient trees. They seemed to be a docile group apparently waiting to do their thing. Once they smelled Vanna they set up a chorus of attractive howling which frightened Vanna enough for her to want no part of them.