Special teams has always been the odd-phase out.
Extra-point bathroom breaks are a weekly routine for many fans, and others even have had the audacity to challenge whether or not kickers and punters qualify as “football players”. It is understandable that special teams phases are typically viewed similarly to a third wheel, as offense and defense provide the vast majority of explosive, highlight-reel plays while the tug-of-war between the two “primary” game phases is perpetually tracked on scoreboards, statistical websites and, of course, social media.
This perception is rooted in a very simple, elementary-level dynamic: Six points will always be more than three, and, correspondingly, field goals will always finish second to touchdowns. Furthermore, attempting field goals, regardless of result, is the football-equivalent of settling for a consolation prize.
The scoreboard may not always directly reflect superior special teams play, but over the course of an entire season, teams that perform well in these phases of the game tend to finish much higher in the standings. The Minnesota Vikings are well aware of this truth and, as a result, have demonstrated that special teams excellence is not just an annual objective but a formal expectation every single season.