MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Vikings are off to an 0-2 start, and in typical Vikings fashion, both losses were excruciating.
This is one of 14 0-2 starts in Vikings history, and that’s without counting the 0-2-1 start in 1966.
So, where did those 14 other teams end up? Do the Vikings have a chance to turn things around and make a playoff run?
The bad news is, across those 14 seasons, only one team ended up making the playoffs. The 2008 Vikings, coached by Brad Childress and quarterbacked (mainly) by Gus Frerotte, rebounded to finish 10-6 and win the NFC North. They needed a four-game winning streak late in the season to make it there.
Frerotte actually started the season on the bench, backing up Tarvaris Jackson. After two games, Frerotte replaced Jackson and led the Vikings to an 8-3 record in 11 games. A back injury ended his season, though, and so Jackson was the starter come playoff time. The Vikings lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round. Jackson completed only 45.4% of his passes, throwing no touchdowns and an interception. Adrian Peterson scored both of the team’s touchdowns in a 26-14 loss.
So the best an 0-2 Vikings team has ever done is a first-round playoff loss. How about the worst?
Well, the worst Vikings team in history (by win percentage) started 0-2. The 1962 Vikings — just the second year of the team’s existence — went 2-11-1, their wins coming back-to-back against the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles in the middle of the season.
The worst Vikings team in recent memory — the 3-13 2011 Vikings — also started 0-2. The team would ultimately lose its first four games before beating the Arizona Cardinals 34-10 for its first win.
The 2021 Vikings have two tough games on the horizon, though they’re helped by both being at home. The Seattle Seahawks come to town Sunday, and the Cleveland Browns will visit U.S. Bank Stadium Oct. 3. Should the worst happen and they lose both of those games, they’ll be 0-4. That wouldn’t be the worst start in team history — the aforementioned ’62 Vikings lost five games before their first victory.
Let’s end on an optimistic note for the Vikings. First off, now that the league has expanded to a 17-game season, the Vikings have more runway to make up for the poor start. It’s possible an 0-2 start is not the death knell it typically was in a 16-game season.
The other bit of good news is that it’s not unheard of for an 0-2 team to win the Super Bowl. It happened fairly recently, in fact, when the New York Giants toppled the New England Patriots, who went undefeated in the 2007-2008 season, in Super Bowl XLII.
Do the Vikings have a fairy tale run like that in them? Only time will tell.
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