Apr 30, 2013
Norsemen In Purple Satin: 2013 Minnesota Vikings
When the Vikings released their slightly updated Norseman logo, it was a clear sign of the direction they were going to go with the new uniforms. A modern-retro design ala' Buffalo Bills. Where the Bills went more traditional, the Vikings went more for the future. Of the 3 new NFL uniforms this year, this is the one with the strongest execution.
The helmet has a satin finish which makes them the 2nd NFL team (Seattle the 1st) to feature a satin primary shell. I really like it with modern uniforms especially, where the new materials being used for jerseys and pants have a satin or matte finish. (I hope the shiny uniform materials stay away in the future, that silliness should have died with disco.) It definitely has a rugged feel to it, or as Jared Allen put it "Looks like we're playin' a man's game".
The horns got a bit of an adjustment and the best I can tell, they're just larger. Usually, a good thing but what we're seeing on the initial pieces is a tangent purposefully created where the horn tips touch in the back. Major points taken away for such an obvious visual tension, but hopefully they wont be that way once the season starts. It's strange to see the Vikings use a Revo Speed for showing off the new design. I don't think they should have adjusted the horn design just for this shell, it's just one option in a vast sea of helmets, but it's the one where they have to cut the decal to go over the vent.
People have flipped out over the use of a black face mask, but I think it's the perfect choice. Remember, this team is more forward thinking than the Bills, and black works very well as a modern neutral color. If it were grey, it would have a vintage connotation, and with the contrast would be a distraction, where the black is very subtle. There's also black in the horn and the base color for their cleats is black. So why not purple? If it were, then it would be a gloss finish and if there's a quick way to make a helmet look cheap and tacky it's mixing 2 finishes of the same color. So why not a satin mask finish? well that could be possible, I don't know what that process is like, but it hasnt been done before, so asking for that right now is a stretch. Why not white? Again, contrast. I dont like the mask to attract your eye and be the focus of the design. White also makes the bars appear larger, which makes it worse. Black was the way to go.
I think they started with the old Northwestern stripe design and used that to carve something new. Blending that with the sail of a ship idea turns out to be a really nice stripe. If there's one complaint i have there it's that there's not enough space between the 2 colors in the stripe. It's even worse on the white jersey where yellow and white meet each other. The stripes are sewn onto the jersey too, which the Bill's should take note of.
Per usual, Nike fails on the number font development. They are consistant though; consistently bad. I don't think a single number (either single or double digit) looks attractive at all. It's so odd to see one digit with the spurs and another next to it with none. If they left those spurs off, the whole uniform would benefit from it. It becomes a focal point of the uniform for it's oddness.
The pants stripe is one of my favorite details of the uniform, where you can see how they might have started with a Northwestern stripe. At the very least it looks like a nice evolution from that traditional design and give a sense of forward motion. I don't think anyone is aware that socks can have stripes on them. I would love to see the pants stripe carried over into the socks here.
The uniform is so close to being so excellent, but the number font keeps it from being so. It's definitely better than the Seahawks' and Dolphins' but it's not much consolation being the 3rd worse in the league. The helmet, if they fix the application of the horns, will be one of my favorites. Satin purple just looks so sweet and tough. I doubt they keep the finish forever, but damn, it's going to be nice having it around while it's here. Grade: B