E Point Perfect

Vikings Set a Mind-Boggling and Dubious Record


Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings fans react during the fourth quarter during a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

While you watched the Minnesota Vikings regrettable loss to the New York Giants on Sunday, did it feel like the offense was cooking, but the defense floundered?

If you did — like most of the Vikings community — the numbers confirm the madness. The Vikings had a stellar afternoon on offense but allowed Daniel Jones and his buddies to march up and down the U.S. Bank Stadium field without hindrance.

Vikings Set a Mind-Boggling and Dubious Record

It wasn’t a mirage. Minnesota’s defense discontinued its once-promising season, and the team’s coaches and players now have eight months to contemplate the problem.

Vikings Set a Mind
Dec 11, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O Connell talks to some of his players on a play stoppage during the first quarter of a game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports.

OptaSTATS, a prominent account on Twitter, shed light this week on the Vikings performance against the Giants, “The Vikings are the only team in the Super Bowl era to complete at least 80.0% of their passes with no turnovers, and no sacks allowed and still lose (regular season or postseason).

“NFL teams had been 47-0 in the Super Bowl era when doing all of that in a game before yesterday,” the Stats Perform-powered account added.

Vikings Super Bowl Odds Totally Plunge
Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings fans react during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium. Minnesota lost to Dallas by a score of 40-3. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

What does the stat mean? Simple — the Vikings offense was close to impeccable, especially Kirk Cousins’ performance through the air, but the defense squandered a win-or-go-home playoff opportunity. Forty-seven other times since 1966, a team executed as tremendously as the Vikings on offense, and that team won. Minnesota became the first ever with those parameters to lose.

Until the loss to New York, the Vikings were strangely arbiters of “good” 2022 stats in contrast to the OptaSTATS factoid. Of course, the team never achieved fancy elite numbers on offense or defense, but it found ways to win the 4th Quarter, tabulating an 11-0 record in one-score games during the regular season.

Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings fans look on before a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

But the luck ran out against the Giants, a team that possesses a meh roster compared to other remaining playoff teams. The Vikings should’ve beaten the Giants, Minnesota had homefield advantage, and Cousins notched his best game of 2022 on the season’s grandest stage. And it turned out in retrospect that the stage was grandest because the Vikings, well, lost.

What’s next? The Vikings will utilize free agency and the NFL Draft to improve on defense so that naughty OptaSTATS don’t illuminate a playoff game’s undoing. Minnesota just needed some semblance of defense — or perhaps a single turnover — to flip fortunes. But no cigar, as the Vikings lost 31-24.

Expect speed and youth to be on the Vikings defensive menu in March and April while popular and beloved players either accept paycuts or depart.

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 Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).


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