Video: Best hit in NFL action yesterday was ...

This may not qualify as a palate cleaner as much as a cautionary tale about the limits of Minnesota Nice. The most violent hit in yesterday’s Vikings-Buccaneers game may have come at halftime, when a group of team mascots lined up to scrimmage against a youth football team. Let’s just say that the University of Minnesota’s Goldy Gopher took this game a lot more seriously than you’d expect:

Goldy Gopher — perhaps inspired by P.J. Fleck, the 120 mph Gophers football head coach who was on hand for the ceremonial sounding of the Gjallarhorn — took a pitch, ran right, showed an elite burst of speed to turn the corner … and then basically ran over a young defender on his way to the end zone.

Ben Krause got a fantastic picture of it (shown above with his permission), but seeing it all happen in real time makes it more cringe-worthy.

Yes, it’s a perfect shot, and one that Goldy may be living down for quite a while. Kudos, Ben Krause:

One might look at that and figure that the picture is overselling the hit. Surely the boy simply tripped in Goldy’s path, right? Er … no, not really. Goldy powers over the player, and then goes on to celebrate in the end zone:

“This is a little kid!” LaDanian Tomlinson exclaimed on NFL Gameday Prime. “Man, you can’t do that!” Deion Sanders finds it hilarious, but LT is not quite as sanguine about it. As the Strib’s Michael Rand notes, LT then channeled his inner Mike Gundy to challenge Goldy to try this with a “grown man.”

Give Goldy credit for taking the youth team seriously, I guess, and for his determination to score in what was supposed to just be a fun scrimmage for the kids. Next year, the youth league will know to send their large-player contingent to the halftime show.

Could be worse, of course. It could have been a rugby match against the masters.