The question may be of slightly less import than ""Is there life on Mars?"" or ""Does Jimmy Carter smoke pot?"" but since the entire state of Minnesota slumps into deep psychological depression following the by now traditional Super Bowl defeat, one can't knock sportswriter Klobuchar (Tarkenton, 1976) and Viking linebacker Siemon for seeking an answer. As they note, after the fourth Viking loss, this time to the Oakland Raiders on January 9, 1977, ""The Vikings had surpassed William Jennings Bryan in fiascos and were closing in on Mussolini's army."" Siemon's contribution, besides a sensational performance on the fateful day, is his journal of the 1976 season; in it, his camaraderie with his teammates endures through missteps, as befits a man who runs a weekly Christian prayer group during the season. Klobuchar's wit and irreverence provide a nice counterpoint to the seriousness of Siemon. They aim to show that the Vikings, individually and collectively, do not have some fatal flaw that says they must always be also-rans; nor, for that matter, are they the stolid, orderly, well-disciplined paragons they're sometimes made out to be. No--Tarkenton, Page, Eller, Marshall, Hilgenberg, et al., are as competitive, playful, tough, and prickly as football players anywhere. And after all the head-scratching and second-guessing, the unremarkable truth--as Klobucher sees it--is that the Vikings lost ""four Super Bowl games to superior teams."" How simple, how obvious, how routine. But the book, the story of their travails, is better than that, being one of the brighter gridiron efforts of the season.