IF YOU GAVE me a Prince CD as a present, I'd be happy.
If you gave me Prince concert tickets next time he's in the area, I'd be forever in your debt.
But if you want me to say something nice about the new fight song he unveiled in honor of his hometown Minnesota Vikings, you'll be waiting just as long for him to be named their starting nose tackle.
Let me start by saying you'll be hard-pressed to find a bigger Prince fan than me. I own all his albums, and he's been coming out with one a year since 1978. I've seen him in concert five times, and once caught his towel during an encore of a show at Miami Arena. I even videotaped his guest appearance on "Muppets Tonight" in the late '90s (as far as I can tell, he is taller than Kermit the Frog -- but my evil twin brother Orville pointed out that it could have been trick photography).
So I was just as surprised as anyone when I learned this week that he recorded a track called "Purple and Gold" in honor of the Vikings' playoff run.
Some lyrics include (and keep in mind, he's been writing as though he's been text messaging since before there were even cordless phones):
"r spirits may b tired r bodies may b worn but since this day is r destiny r history -- that's y we must b 4ever strong as the wind that blows the Vikings' horn in the name of the purple and gold"
Uh ... yeah. Anyway, plenty of Web sites allow you to listen to his recording. And let me just say, that when it comes to pulse-pounding, arena-rocking intensity ... well, it's no "One Shining Moment."
It's so slow and flighty, the only purple army I can envision being excited by it are toddlers who are extras at a "Barney the Dinosaur" rehearsal.
I'm not trying to say I could do better. If you asked me to write a Vikings fight song, my first case of writer's block would come when I tried to figure out anything that rhymed with "Visanthe Shiancoe."
(And is it just me, or does Zygi Wilf sound like the name of a guy who played keyboards for Prince in the '80s?)
I'm thinking the only circumstances under which anyone would really be rocking out to this tune is if you've been partying without sleep for 73 consecutive hours in South Beach after a Vikings Super Bowl party, and you were in Brad Childress' abandoned hot tub, waiting for the pizza delivery guy to bring the first food you've had since the game's third quarter, and this song came on. At that point, you'd be excused if you thought, "Hey! I can jam to this! Party like your jersey number is 99!"
Great Odin's raven! This could be Prince's most horrific misfire since he pitched to Warner Bros. the film, "Graffiti Bridge 2: The Extreme Makeover of Morris Day."
Now, I don't want to discourage Prince's affinity for pro ball. At age 51, he's probably put more wear and tear on his knees from jumping off the piano at his concerts than 95 percent of the speedsters in the league, and he's still going strong.
I've often heard rumors that Prince has always enjoyed watching games in his Vikings Room at his Paisley Park mansion in suburban Minneapolis. And by Vikings Room, I mean he has an aircraft hanger-sized room where on an artificial lake there floats a life-sized replica of an ancient Vikings warship. And on that warship is a refurbished room where Prince has a 70-inch flatscreen with a kickin' sound system where he has DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket.
But this song is so bad, Brett Favre might be tempted to ask Prince to go into musical retirement.
Fortunately, I know the perfect way Prince can redeem himself: No matter how or when the Vikings season ends, headline a benefit concert at the Metrodome. Have the proceeds go toward rebuilding in Haiti ... or to psychological counseling for Green Bay Packers fans if Favre is Super Bowl MVP. I'll let Prince make the final call.
To the picks!
GREG'S GOOD GUESSES
The Vikings are going to the Super Bowl, but not because they were inspired by a Prince song. It's more like the Saints will sputter because the Minnesota defense will knock around Drew Brees until his body is in the shape of an unpronounceable symbol. VIKINGS 31, SAINTS 21
ORVILLE'S BAD NEWS
Meanwhile, the Colts are upset that Prince never wrote a song for them, like "I Could Never Take the Place of Your (Peyton) Manning." The Colts are going to feel even worse after the Jets defense throws Peytie Pie off his rhythm, stuffs their run game and denies them a trip to Miami. Which is where they did win a Super Bowl, but missed Prince's halftime performance because they were in the locker room. Life is cruel. JETS 18, COLTS 17
ORVILLE'S LAST WORD
"You think Prince ever made Apollonia dress up as a Minnesota Vikings cheerleader?"
ESPN.com runs Greg's Page 2 Power Rankings every Monday. Read his royal proclamations at Twitter.com/HardyVision