E Point Perfect

The Vikings Are the Worst 8-2 Team in NFL History, by the Numbers.

The Vikings Are the Worst 8-2 Team in NFL History, by the Numbers.
Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings fans. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Cover your eyes because it isn’t pretty. As a result of the loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the Minnesota Vikings are the worst 8-2 team in NFL history, by the numbers.

Minnesota lost to Dallas in Week 11 by a score of 40-3, the team’s second-worst home loss since inception.

Accordingly, the club’s win-loss point differential deflated after the loss in Week 11, making the Vikings owners of a dubious distinction.

Vikings Fans Head to the Mattresses after Loss to DAL
Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse (27) breaks up a pass intended for Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings are the first team in NFL history to have eight wins thru 10 games with an upside-down point differential (-2). They’ve been outscored by opponents 229-231. Every other team with an 8-2, 9-1, or 10-0 record through 10 games of a season had collectively outscored opponents.

Of all teams with an 8-2 record or better through 10 games of a season, these are the team with the slimmest collective score margin:

  • 2022 Minnesota Vikings (-2)
  • 1987 San Diego Chargers (+6)
  • 2004 Atlanta Falcons (+14)
  • 2003 Carolina Panthers (+18)
  • 2019 Seattle Seahawks (+21)

No team in NFL history has ever had a negative point differential, like the Vikings (-2), through 10 games and gone on to win a Super Bowl. The closest team was the 2011 Giants, who were 6-4 thru 10 games, with a 228-228 combined score of games.

The Vikings Were Thoroughly Humbled. Now What?
Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings fans. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

What does this mean? Well, a few things.

  1. The Vikings loss to the Cowboys seriously skewed their win-loss score margin — that’s what 37-point home losses do.
  2. Minnesota will defy history if they eventually reach and win a Super Bowl because no team has ever owned this underwhelming statistical distinction.
  3. Winning close games — like, seven consecutive times — makes the metric a little funkier. Usually, by this time on a calendar, 8-2 or better football teams blow out at least one or two opponents.

Vikings fans now wait for Thanksgiving night, as the Week 12 date with the New England Patriots should be a telling barometer. If they rebound and beat the Patriots — a team with the NFL’s best defense per EPA/Play — perhaps enthusiasm will revitalize and the Dallas loss will fall by the wayside.

But if Minnesota loses again at home, this time to Mac Jones’ Patriots, the through-eight-games stat will serve as regrettable vindication that the Vikings weren’t that good in the first place.

The Vikings haven’t beaten the Patriots in 22 years.

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).

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