The Minnesota Vikings, sitting at 11-3, have clinched the NFC North and are still in the mix for the top overall seed in the conference.
But the question still remains: Are they any good?
That likely depends on which half of the game you watched them play last Saturday against the Colts.
Although it was overshadowed by the fantastic World Cup match the following morning, the Vikings ended up securing the biggest come-from-behind victory in NFL history, overcoming a truly bonkers 33-0 lead.
A glass-half-full observer would admire Minnesota’s resilience in the face of insurmountable odds. What a great confidence builder for the future adversity they’ll inevitably face in the playoffs.
A glass-half-empty observer would wonder—correctly—why the hell the Colts were getting blown out at home by a team without their best player and an interim head coach.
Both views have their own merit so let's quickly examine each.
To quote a great philosopher, “It don’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile, winning’s winning.”
While the path hasn’t always been perfect, the Vikings' penchant for pulling out wins isn’t a coincidence. At more or less every level of their team they possess Pro Bowl-level talent, whether we’re discussing Dalvin Cook, Harrison Smith, Danielle Hunter or, yes, Kirk Cousins.
Then there’s Justin Jefferson, who’s on pace to break Calvin Johnson’s single-season yardage record. It’s easy to forget Jefferson is only in his third season because he’s proven to be an elite talent since the first moment he stepped on an NFL field. He’s a mismatch that can’t be accounted for.
Ultimately, it’s clear the Vikings have the talent and confidence to beat anybody in the playoffs.
Although they’ve only lost three games this season, when the Vikings have lost, they’ve lost hard. All three of their defeats were by double digits, including a 40-3 shellacking against the Cowboys that was the most lopsided loss suffered by any team this year.
So while the losses have been thorough beatdowns, in contrast, 10 of their 11 victories have come by only one possession. That includes truly remarkable results like the Colts' victory mentioned above and their almost statistically impossible come from behind win against the Bills.
In addition, the Vikings don’t grade out impressively statistically. Surprisingly given their talent, they sit outside of the top 10 in the NFL in total offense. And even more surprisingly for a team of their caliber, Minnesota is literally dead last in the league in total defense.
Straight up, good teams are never down 33-0 to anybody, much less a lowly Jeff Saturday-coached, Matt Ryan-led Colts.
The Vikings are fine, but they aren’t going to win the Super Bowl.
Don’t get overly fussed about them and just enjoy what Justin Jefferson is doing. Life’s too short.
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