The Minnesota Vikings are the NFC North Division leaders, and it’s not even close. The team pulled off another close win against the Commanders on Sunday.
They improved to 7-1 with a 4.5-game lead in the NFC North. The best part is they are having fun while doing it, which hasn’t been seen in quite a while in Minnesota.
At the beginning of the season, if you had told me they would be 7-1 heading to Buffalo, I would have been ecstatic. While a win over the Commanders is not necessarily impressive, a win is a win. The best part is that this win gives the Vikings a 97.8% chance of making it to the playoffs, according to Football Outsiders. The only team with better odds is the Eagles, with a 100% chance.
One of the most impressive parts of the win was how the Vikings overcame the pressure generated by the Commanders. Coming into the game, Washington had the third-highest pressure rate in the NFL. The Vikings’ success against a good front is a recipe for sustained success against both the Bills and the Cowboys.
The Bills and Cowboys are both excellent at getting to the passer. The Vikings and Kirk Cousins will need to continue to find ways to overcome this. These next two games will tell us who precisely the Vikings are and if they can compete come January.
However, one of the essential parts of this game is something viral that is spreading in the Vikings’ locker room. It is a contagion like no other.
Positivity and Vibes are Everything to the Vikings Winning
Something that is sometimes overlooked by fans and the media is just how contagious energy can be. Right now, the Vikings have a winning energy. Everything they do, from the team preparations and post-game celebrations, extrudes this energy.
We often hear O’Connell talk about winning on the margins or critical moments. He is talking about making the right decisions and executing when it matters most. Make smart decisions and perform your best when the game is on the line.
We saw this again yesterday as the Vikings’ offense turtled up in the 3rd Quarter as it has all year. However, when it mattered most, Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, and Justin Jefferson came up big to make the plays that inevitably secured the win. This has become a theme for the team and stems back to the job KOC has done as the Head Coach.
Of course, it is easier to celebrate when you are winning, but positivity matters. Words, actions, and vibes matter. They play an unconscious role in your mind, and right now, that role is allowing this Vikings team to sustain success.
Most importantly, it keeps the team from allowing in-game setbacks to demoralize them. This was often seen in 2020 and 2021. When the Vikings lost the lead, the look in the players’ eyes seemed to say, “here we go again, another blown lead and a loss.” Well, the 2022 Vikings and the positive energy has flipped that on its head.
Winning is contagious, and that is what this team continues to do.
Mitch Massman is a lifelong Vikings fan. His first heartbreak was the 1998 NFC championship game. His full-time job is as an economic development professional in rural Minnesota. He fantasizes about the Vikings winning a Super Bowl one day, but until then he will write about the Vikings. Follow him on Twitter @skol_vikings3