NFL pundits have spent the last six weeks or so deciding if the Minnesota Vikings are legitimate, and most have landed as “no” as the answer.
Right before Thanksgiving, the Dallas Cowboys battered and bruised the Vikings, causing such naysayers to rejoice, as Minnesota lost to Dak Prescott and his pals by 37 points — at home. Well, Week 14 was more of the same for the Vikings, who lost at Detroit, 34-23, thanks to underwhelming defense and some flummoxing coaching decisions.
And the loss in Detroit returned jokes and memes about the Vikings akin to those present after the drubbing by Dallas. CBS Sports seemed gleeful to poke fun at Minnesota, posting this stat meme to social media channels:
Indeed, the Vikings are the only team in NFL history to log 10 wins in a team’s first 13 games — with an upside-down point differential to show for it. CBS Sports honed in on this year’s 10-win combatants, which, of course, makes the Vikings look silly.
On the broader point, these are the teams throughout NFL history with the lowest scoring differentials among teams with 10+ wins in 13 the first games of a season:
- 2022 Minnesota Vikings = -1
- 2004 Atlanta Falcons = +15
- 1999 Tennessee Titans = +17
- 2019 Seattle Seahawks = +20
- 1965 Cleveland Browns = +35
Additionally, the Vikings rank last in the NFL in total yards allowed to opponents, last in passing yards allowed, 27th in rush yards per attempt, 27th in field-goal kicking accuracy, and 25th in time of possession. None of that sounds like a blueprint for serious Super Bowl contendership.
Still, Minnesota has four weeks to “get right” or “get hot,” as the club is nearly a mathematical shoo-in to win the NFC North and reach the playoffs. They’ll even have the No. 2 or 3 seed in the NFC. The time is now for the repair of these various gridiron sins. Otherwise, NFL experts will end up correct when the team is jettisoned from the postseason tournament in Round 1 or 2.
The Vikings are favored by four points to get back on track this Saturday against Jeff Saturday’s Indianapolis Colts.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).