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Maybe It’s Too Early To Get on the Minnesota Vikings’ Bandwagon

Look, none of us will ever really be on the Minnesota Vikings bandwagon, but some compliments were begrudgingly handed out around here earlier this week. The facts are as follows.

The Minnesota Vikings — those scumbags — are off to a 3-0 start. They’ve attained that 3-0 start with an offense that is merely good enough to not lose games for them. The Vikings defense, on the other hand, has looked like it could possibly be the best defense in the league.

Through three games, the Vikings are sixth in total defense. More impressively, they have a +8 turnover differential. They’ve scored two defensive touchdowns and a safety. Their 15 sacks lead the league.

As you can see, the Vikings’ recipe thus far has been to pressure the quarterback, create turnovers and then hope their shitty offense doesn’t fuck everything up.

We’ve seen that formula work. It worked last year with the Denver Broncos. Great defense, but they were quarterbacked by the rotting carcass of Peyton Manning. Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford is getting the same directive Peyton got in 2015 — just don’t blow it for us, you moron!

There are two interesting things at play here.

First, the Vikings don’t have a running game at all. Their leading rusher through three games is Jerick McKinnon, with a whopping 53 yards on 19 carries (2.8 per). Adrian Peterson is on injured reserve and isn’t returning anytime soon, if at all. Besides that, he wasn’t any good when he was on the field. Peterson had just 50 yards in 31 carries through two games (1.6 per).

The 2015 Broncos had two guys — C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman — combine for 1,583 yards and 12 TDs. Both guys averaged more than 4 yards per carry. The Vikings do not appear to have a guy or even multiple guys who can combine for that type of effort.

So what are you going to do when it gets cold outside? Hope for a bunch of 7-6 wins?

Second, there’s that turnover differential. In three games, the Vikings have taken the ball away nine times. Eye-popping statistics like that don’t tend to last throughout the course of an entire NFL season. The Big Lead pulled some interesting numbers.

There are 19 teams since 1990 that have gotten off to a 3-0 start, with a turnover differential of +7 or better, besides Minnesota. Those other 19 teams averaged 6.7 wins and 6.3 losses over the remainder of the season, winning just over half the remaining games. Twelve of the 19 reached the postseason, but only the 1996 Packers reached (and won) a Super Bowl.

Compare that to the opposite spectrum. The 3-0 teams that started with a +1 turnover differential or worse (25 teams) won 7.6 and lost 5.4 games on average, a 59% winning percentage. Twenty of the 25 made the postseason, and six of them reached the Super Bowl.

We’re not here to predict disaster for the Vikings (although we’d really, REALLY love to). That defense is legit and that alone likely gets them into the playoffs.

However, things change over the course of an NFL season. Opposing teams adjust, the weather plays a role and injuries are always the great equalizer.

The Vikings clearly have the Green Bay Packers number at the moment. Through three weeks, they are the superior team. There’s a hell of a long way to go, though.

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Joseph Bonham

Joseph is a fiction writer when he isn't doing this. In his spare time he likes to do manly things like drink beer and procreate.

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48 Comments

  1. Deepsky September 30, 2016

    Bradford is a much better QB than Bridgewater, especially in a Norv Turner offense. I’ve watched both quite a few games the last few years and Bradford is the real deal, Bridgewater is a weak-armed idiot. Bradford currently has a 107 QB rating, Bridgewater had an 88 QB rating last year.

    But Bradford won’t make it all the way until the end of the season. I give him just a few more games before he’s knocked out.

    1. Savage57 October 2, 2016

      Whether he gets knocked out or not will be blind luck, albeit with precedence. What is more probable is him playing down to his average as the Vikings opponents get more tape of the Vikings offense playing with Bradford and game plan for it.

      Remember one thing: This is a Norv Turner offense we’re talking about here, and at some point, it, like Bradford, will play down to its average.

  2. MMK September 30, 2016

    Seconded, Bradford will not make it through the regular season. His bones are made of glass and the vikings field one of the worst offensive lines in football right now I think. That contributes to the horrifying rushing stats. Diggs is the only legit factor on that offense and when Bradford is done it will be up to Shawn Hill to not throw the ball up his own asshole, which he will.

    The 49ers showed everyone how to beat this team last year. Run the football, run it all fucking day. Too bad GB will never, ever commit to that idea. Better to have Rodgers try and throw 50 times taking 6 sacks in the process, with the game likely ending on fatal strip sack.

    1. Howard September 30, 2016

      You make a good point. The 49ers weren’t the only team to beat the Vikings last year by running the ball and one of those teams was the Packers.

      The 49ers ran it 39 times W. The Packers ran the ball 34 times W. The Seahawks ran the ball 36 time W. The only team that did run the ball over 30 times and lost was the Rams and they lost in OT. The only teams that beat the Vikings and ran less than 30 times were the cardinals at 29 rushing attempts and the Broncos. This excludes the Viking playoff game against the Seahawks.

      I agree run the ball over 30 times a game and run in the mid 65 total plays and there is a good chance your team wins against the Vikings. In the final game last year with the Vikings the Packers had an unbelievable 70 plays from scrimmage 26 were rushing plays. Up those rushes a little and maybe the chances for a win go up considerable.

      1. Killer October 1, 2016

        Bad weather, Bonham? Vikes have 7 home games coming in controlled weather. By mid-November they have only three away games left. One is in the Detroit dome. Another is in sunny Jacksonville. Only the third has weather impact — in Green Bay. Very fortuitous for the Packer team but we did beat them last year in the same kind of weather.

        Vikes have been allowing only 84 yards running per game, a 3.5 average, and no runner has more than 50 yards in a game vs. the Vikes. Vikes spent a lot of time fixing the run D in the off season and that effort shows. This is not the Achilles Heel you think it is.

        I admit, the injury possibility regarding Sam Bradford is very real and would have a major impact. That said, those of you who mocked the Vikes’ trade for Bradford as being foolish can obviously hang your head in shame at their own, real foolishness and football ignorance.

        This article and the response of some of the fans is a perfect reflection of how Packer fans blind themselves with selective “truths”. I see this again and again and again. You guys assume the good things the Vikes do will decrease or go away and ignore the bad things that can or likely will improve. You then do the opposite exercise with the Packer team — bad is fixed and good will maintain. You deceive yourselves to the point where you can be comfortable in a sort of alternate reality.

        1. Savage57 October 2, 2016

          Killer – you spend an awful lot of time here tilting at windmills. You don’t like the way Packers fans see the world? Get the fuck gone.

          You really think anyone here who sees anything positive relative to the Vikings on this site is fooled into believing it’s something more than another feeble attempt to cover up the stench of the steaming pile of intellectual shit that is and always will be?

          There is only one ‘truth’ a Packers fan sees: The Packers have been, are, and always will be a superior NFL team to the Vikings and your endless chatter to the contrary is only irritating white noise – like a crying infant on a red-eye flight from the west coast.

          1. Vikesforprez October 3, 2016

            Yeah..superior.. Haha..right…watch out for NYG…you guys better not get beat by the team the vikings just be a town…gl..don’t choke

          2. the real jeff ircink October 9, 2016

            you’re funny, savage.

        2. MMK October 3, 2016

          You have a lot of time on your hands

        3. Tucson Packer October 3, 2016

          Oh Killer, and we hear the same repeated diatribe again, again and again from you.

          Keep cleaning that empty LOMBARDI trophy case. When you win one, maybe someone here will pay attention to your rantings, maybe.

          1. Vikesforprez October 3, 2016

            Lombardi case…is that the pity name given to the trophy of a nyg coach .Lombardi did not die a packer..fyi

          2. Empacador October 4, 2016

            Look at this Viking clown come lately with his alternate reality. Lombardi was an assistant coach for the Giants. His reputation, any half wit football fan knows this, was made by what he did during his tenure in Green Bay. Funny you didn’t throw in his time in Washington as well.

            What you have said would be the equivalent of Packer fans saying your best coach, Bud Grant, was best known for his time as coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. You know, fyi. And too early to call Zimmer the best coach until he does something, which he very well may.

          3. PF4L October 4, 2016

            Don’t even try to educate him, he’s clearly, a child.

  3. PF4L September 30, 2016

    Look…the Queens have no offense, which is why they are ranked 30th or something like that.

    When they beat us, we played an ultra ugly game and still, they barely beat us, at their new house.

    The Queens need to enjoy every second of this right now. Just like when a 4 year old enjoys harmony and peace, before his father comes to visit him anyway.

    1. Killer October 1, 2016

      This is sort of a reply to everyone above my post. And the article as well.
      Point 1 — Great stat regarding the similar turnover ratios of 3-0 teams and their success after that.
      I do not expect the differential to continue in that way.
      Point 2 — The turnover differential WILL regress and the Vikes have lost AP. But, ask yourself, are there other factors on the upswing that will partially or fully compensate?
      Point 3 — Vikes faced top offenses in week 2 and week 3 and 2 of the 3 games were away games. Though the Vikings schedule IS tougher than the Packer schedule (easiest in the whole league!) the level of competition is more downhill than uphill at this point and there are 7 home games left.
      Point 4 — Bradford is still adjusting and settling into the offense and making bonds with receivers. He has performed great but even better may be coming.
      Point 5 — The O-line HAS been bad. However, there are reasons to believe this will not be an issue all year. (1) LT Kalil was playing on one leg and now we have a healthy LT. (2) Boone is settling in. (3) Berger has not played at last years level of excellence but should return to form. (4) Sirles, when pressed into duty, looked great. When Boone returns to full health Sirles may take over for a very ineffectual Fusco at RG. (5) The line coach, Tony Sparano, is excellent and known for fixing performance issues.
      Point 6 — Our D has room for improvement. We were without out top CB the first two games. He is back. At this point our 5th CB is better than the Packer #1 CB.
      Point 7 — Vikes had fewest penalties in the NFL last year but have had a ton this year — possibly due to some bought off referees as the Vikes-Packer game. At any rate, this is an area that likely will improve greatly and, if it does, will go a long way to counteracting a lesser takeaway ratio.
      Point 8 — The Vikes offense is ranked #31. But the Packer offense is ranked #28. So, big deal. We has a 36 year old at QB week 1, we had two away games, we had a new to the offense QB week 2 and 3, we faced the #3, #12, and #14 defenses. What, exactly, is the Packer excuse(s) for their offense’s performance? What is their reason to expect massive improvement?
      Point 9 — The Packer offense has achieved 28 more yards per game than the Vikes’ offense but the Packer defense has allowed 55 more yards than the Vikes defense. So, just keep in mind, when the author and these Packer fans delight in alleged poor prospects for the 3-0 Vikes, whatever these prospects are they are still better than the Packer prospects.

    2. Vikesforprez October 3, 2016

      Revisit your theory

  4. Vijay-jay September 30, 2016

    It is precisely their overconfidence that will eventually be their undoing.

    1. Icebowl October 3, 2016

      As proven too often to count…

    2. Vikesforprez October 3, 2016

      You mean packer fans right…or is this a comment from a Hippocrate?

  5. Cheese October 1, 2016

    Newsflash- there’s douchebags in every fan base. I would much rather talk with a level headed Bears, Lions, or Vikings fan than I would some belligerent dipshit who claims to like the Packers.

  6. PF4L October 1, 2016

    Here’s a reality…..The vikings haven’t won shit, no matter how many novels you post in here.

    Reality….The vikings have won a total of 1 playoff game in the last 11 years.

    After 3 games your quacking like a duck…lol…Yea, you have it all figured out, now go outside and get a few minutes of sun.

    Win something, then preach.

    Thanks for taking the time to do all the research you like to do to post in here and i’ll assume some viking sites. You must have a full life.

    Oh, before i forget, you’re supposed to clean your room before dinner.

  7. PF4L October 1, 2016

    KILLER
    10/01/2016 at 10:39 am
    This is a great true story posted on a Vikes fan site about a Packer fan=

    “True story from last Sunday night:

    lol..It must be true, he got it off the internet.

    Dude, if i send you $2, will you go get an ice cream cone? Something to get you out the house. Holy shit.

    1. Killer October 1, 2016

      This is a great true story posted on a Vikes fan site about a Packer fan=
      “True story from last Sunday night:
      I grew up in Minnesota but now live in NW Florida. I head down to the local watering hole, a generally “neutral” venue with decent food/beer that I occasionally visit in-season to watch the game. I’m decked out in my Vikings ball cap and a Diggs jersey (Christmas present from my wife last season…she’s a genius).
      For the first 3 quarters, I’m watching the game along with a small but generally pro-Viking group. At some point around the beginning of the 4th quarter, I notice a presumably dyed in the wool Packer fan has joined the crowd. When I say “notice”, it’s not that she was dressed in any Packers gear (she wasn’t). Rather, she was boisterous in an overly obnoxious way every time something good happened for Green Bay. So she made her allegiance clear.
      At the time, the Packers were on a bit of a roll so I endured several of her “celebrations” before the tables finally turned in favor of the Vikings, and I let out a hearty but reasonably respectful hand clap along with a “yes!” Not directed at her…just simply applauding the play.
      Out of the corner of my eye, I see her head slowly turn toward me in a “The Exorcist”-esque sort of way and it’s in this moment I realize I may be in trouble. She immediately began railing on me from across the bar but I kept my attention focused on the big screen in front of me. I’ve seen enough Animal Planet to know you don’t want to make eye contact in these type of situations.
      After several minutes of her trying to engage me directly while I feigned complete focus on enjoying the game…she finally, in frustration, pushes herself away from the bar and makes her alcohol-induced, wobbly approach.
      Now, bear in mind, I’ve never hit a woman and I don’t think I ever could…but I’ll admit this situation had me wondering what I should do if she starts to assault me. She arrives at my side, raises her hand with her finger extended, thrusts it toward my face and says: “You listen to me, bud. I’ve got a bet on this game and if the Packers win I get 2 pounds of fresh cheese curds shipped to my house. So you better be quiet and pray to God the Vikings lose.”
      Priceless (and thankfully violence free). After all my years as a Vikings fan, I’ll admit that I thought we were perhaps over-exaggerating a little with some of our Packer fan stereotypes. But now I know….”
      There was some debate as to whether this fan was PF4L’s girlfriend or his mother. Turns out the two are not mutually exclusive!

      1. Big Gay Clay October 2, 2016

        NW Florida huh? Why dont you come up to Atlanta so I can smack some sense into ya. Maybe break a few fingers so you can’t troll

  8. Killer October 2, 2016

    Clay, stop hyperventilating and re-read the post. The story was related by someone else and that someone else lives in NW Florida. I am not so lucky to live in such a beautiful locale though my home location is good, just not as good.

    As far as your comment it seems you are a much truer representative of a Packer fan even than the cheese curd woman. When exposed to truth or even an anecdote that does not support your fragile false world view you react like vampires stuck without cover at high noon in the Serengeti.

    1. PF4L October 2, 2016

      You assume people actually read your novels, sans the 1st and last line.

      Hang on, someone wants to type you a message.

      Honey, don’t forget to take the garbage out.

      1. Icebowl October 3, 2016

        Nice…..

      2. Vikesforprez October 3, 2016

        Gotta take out the trash man..otherwise yo house smell like sht

  9. ferris October 2, 2016

    I just want to trade coaches with them. Maybe someone already said that but I can’t read all of the spew above.

    1. Vikesforprez October 3, 2016

      NO!! You keep that bridge troll McCarthy.. And your Dom Capers..no one wants any a that..not here..maybe cleavland or something.. Make them a bit better anyway

  10. Mike October 3, 2016

    Minnesota SUCKS, always has, always will. That organization will fold & bend over like the $5.00 “HO” they are. . Its a organization that dreams of being like The PACKERS. They need to hang Divisional banners to make themselves seem relevant, its all they got. That entire LANDFILL to the west knows they can never measure up and it eats t them. Lavender SCUM!!!!!! Maybe they can sign some more Rocket Scientist/Child beaters.

    1. Vikesforprez October 3, 2016

      Rich kid attitude..little punk…this year is not the packers year..like most years

  11. Icebowl October 3, 2016

    Well-written piece Joseph. Good research as expected. Interesting that you mention the strength of Denver’s Anderson/Hillman combo. Wasn’t Ronnie Hillman recently picked up as a free agent by the Vikes. Haven’t seen him play yet, but this guy has the potential to really shine if they can make adjustment to O line.
    As indicated by someone else in this chain, Zimmer is the real deal – a coach I’ve learn to respect and one who’d make GB Great Again…

  12. Killer October 3, 2016

    Glass half full or half empty? The reason I ask is that the author talks about 19 other teams that started 3-0 with a turnover ratio of +7 or better. It is pointed out that “only” 12 of the 19 made the playoffs and only 1 of the 19 won a Super Bowl.

    If you think about it, all things equal, a team’s chances per year of making the playoffs is 12 in 32. So going to 12 in 19 is a really good increase, especially so very early in the year. Also, all things equal, a team’s chances of winning the Super Bowl each year is 1 in 32. Apparently, according to the author, the odds have now improved to 1 in 19, a really good increase, especially so very early in the year.

    Apparently the author thinks it is to the Vikes detriment that they are 3-0 and are great at protecting the ball and great at forcing turnovers. I, for one, like it and think it is great. Maybe it sounds bizarre and unhealthy to Bonham but I’m pretty sure the Vikes coaches even, gasp, teach protecting the ball, forcing opponent turnovers, and, gasp, winning.

    1. PF4L October 3, 2016

      Hey, i have an idea!!!

      Lets twist, manipulate, and spin fact and fiction under a scenario where a fan thinks his team has actually…..won something. Better yet……Lets spend some time talking about what the Vikings have won…………………..

      ……SKOL!

      1. Vikesforprez October 3, 2016

        A game in green bay to win NFC NORTH..and now are dominating NFC as we speak..packers have barely beat the jags and the lions….you figure it out if you can GET it..gl

  13. Icebowler October 3, 2016

    Well, it’s about damn time that the Viks are at least somewhat competitive again.

    1. Vikesforprez October 4, 2016

      Now let’s see if the packers will be competitive THIS year..so far only with jax and Det. Y’all didn’t exactly dominate anybody yet..sures hell didn’t dominate the vikings and could’ve lost to two of worst teams in NFL already..2-1 and only real team you played..you lost…here comes OBJ…a little baby who might make the packers CBS turn into pouty obj’s themselves if he torches them….GB. You do not have the same D as the bikes..you don’t..you can’t do the same things bikes D does..Vikes can make teams look average.. Packers usually look average vs any team that wins 8 games a year.

      1. Vikesforprez October 4, 2016

        Damn those spelling corrections

    2. Vikesforprez October 4, 2016

      Now let’s see if the packers will be competitive THIS year..so far only with jax and Det. Y’all didn’t exactly dominate anybody yet..sures hell didn’t dominate the vikings and could’ve lost to two of worst teams in NFL already..2-1 and only real team you played..you lost…here comes OBJ…a little baby who might make the packers CBS turn into pouty obj’s themselves if he torches them….GB. You do not have the same D as the vikes..you don’t..you can’t do the same things bikes D does..Vikes can make teams look average.. Packers usually look average vs any team that wins 8 games a year.

      1. PF4L October 4, 2016

        Stay in school kids.

      2. Killer October 4, 2016

        Respect, VIKESFORPREZ! Packer fans are recoiling from your truth-speaking like vampires splashed with holy water… so… Good Job!

        1. PF4L October 4, 2016

          And what does vikesforprez actually mean?

          Vikings for President?

          That makes no sense. Either were dealing with a child with A.D.D
          Or i’m missing something. Enlighten me.

  14. Empacador October 4, 2016

    Who put a quarter in this VIKESFORPREZ clown? I have never in my life felt compelled to go to a rival team website and spew shit like these idiots do. They must be feeling pretty cocky a quarter into the season. I look forward to hearing Paul Allen melt down when reality brings them back to Earth.

    1. PF4L October 4, 2016

      Must be killers neighbor that he recruited, that lives in the trailer next to him.

      1. Killer October 4, 2016

        Trailer? Hehehe, if only you knew….!

        Well, Vikes are 4-0 now… but, as Bonham points out, our prospects must be bleak because we were +2 in turnover differential last night. Damn, if only we would have thrown a bunch of interceptions and lost some fumbles then, only then, would we have a chance at greatness…. So, is that the Packer problem, Aaron does not throw enough interceptions to be great?

        So, Bonham, how about another article or an update to this one panning a 4-0 start with a great turnover differential only improving our playoff odds to 12 in 14 and our super Bowl chances to 1 in 7….

        Oh, and this time provide the bare bones necessary contrast — how 4-0 teams with big turnover differentials compare to 4-0 teams with near even turnover differential as per playoff odds and Super Bowl odds. As was, your stats were like one hand trying to clap.

        1. PF4L October 4, 2016

          OK, so tell us again what you won?

          How about we lobby the NFL to send you a banner to hang up, that the queens are 4-0 after beating mostly weak teams? Would you like that?

          Or how about…A banner to hang that says “Vikings 1 in 7 favorites”? Would that look good next to the NFC North banner?

          Bwhahahahahahahahaha!

          SKOL!!

          1. Tucson Packer October 4, 2016

            Notice how quickly Killer wanted to change the subject of his palatial double-wide…