The Minnesota Vikings are unexpectedly 5-1 to start 2022, but the team’s leaders are well aware such a record could slip away in a heartbeat.
The Arizona Cardinals travel to Minneapolis for a date with the Vikings after Minnesota’s bye week, and various prominent purple players are vowing to avoid bigheadedness.
Six years ago, the franchise started the regular season with a 5-0 record, had a bye week (like right now for the 2022 Vikings), and wound up with an 8-8 record three months later, plus a session with the sofa for the postseason.
Keenly aware of complacency, even though neither was apart of the 2016 team, head coach Kevin O’Connell and running back Dalvin Cook talked this week about maintaining the stellar start.
“To me, 5-1 is a great start but means absolutely nothing each and every Sunday that we get opportunities to go play from here on out,” O’Connell told the Pioneer Press.
The Vikings have won four straight games after a lackadaisical performance at the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2. And before the season, Minnesota was preliminarily pegged as a 9-8 team or so by most pundits and sportsbooks.
Dalvin Cook echoed O’Connell’s sentiments to the Pioneer Press, too.
“As a young player, I might have looked ahead,” Cook said to the Pioneer Press’ Dane Mizutani. “Now, I know it’s a young season.”
In 2021, the Baltimore Ravens started 5-1 and missed the playoffs, thanks to a 3-8 finish. And seven years ago, in 2015, the Atlanta Falcons collapsed following a 5-1 start, ending that campaign with a .500 record.
Moreover, that’s likely why Vikings fans are cautiously optimistic through seven weeks. Some onlookers of the team simply aren’t convinced Minnesota has the oomph to be taken seriously. Why? Well, the Vikings haven’t demolished any opponents sans a 24-7 Week 1 triumph over the Packers. All of Minnesota’s wins since Week 1 have been within a margin of eight points.
On the whole, though, there’s no discernible reason why the 2022 Vikings would emulate the 2016 squad. The coaching staff is totally different, a new general manager took over in January, and the roster only has a few 2016 holdovers, including Harrison Smith, Adam Thielen, Danielle Hunter, and Eric Kendricks.
With or without O’Connell’s and Cook’s commitment to non-complacency, the Vikings have 6.5 to 1 odds of reaching Super Bowl LVII.
Six of the Vikings final 11 games will occur at U.S. Bank Stadium.
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 Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).