Vikings Playoff Drought Bizarre Compared to Some Storied Franchises

Vikings Playoff Drought Bizarre Compared to Some Storied Franchises
Jan 5, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill (7) runs the ball against Minnesota Vikings free safety Harrison Smith. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings knocked off the New Orleans Saints twice in three playoff tournaments from 2017 to 2019, the last serious hurrahs for Sean Payton’s team led by Drew Brees.

While the Vikings haven’t posted a winning record on the regular-season calendar since December 29th, 2019 — yes, 875 days ago — their playoff-win drought is surprisingly not as arid as some other storied franchises.

These are notable teams that currently have longer playoff-victory droughts than the Vikings.


New England Patriots

Last Playoff Win = 2018 Season

Jan 9, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Mandatory Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports.

Sure, the Patriots have six world titles to their name, and that reigns supreme to anything at all the Vikings have ever done. Yet, they haven’t won a playoff tryst since Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams.

And that was in the 2018 season.

New England shockingly lost to the Tennessee Titans in the 2019 postseason tournament, thrusting Tom Brady to free agency where he’d land with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

If the Patriots don’t win a playoff game with Mac Jones and friends in 2022, the drought will span four seasons — unthinkable for The Patriot Way.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Last Playoff Win = 2016 Season

Keep an Eye on Mike Tomlin's Team during Draft for Vikings Trade Possibilities
Dec 9, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin walks onto the field before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

This is a dirty little secret; the Steelers haven’t won a playoff game in five seasons. But nobody cares because they’re the Steelers and a bit infallible.

Indeed, Mike Tomlin never fosters losing seasons, but as of late, he’s possessed a Mike Zimmer-itis where his squad is never bad — but also not great.

Pittsburgh’s last playoff success was in 2016 over the Ryan Tannehill-led Dolphins. 1,960 days ago.

Dallas Cowboys

Last Playoff Win = 2018 Season

Prescott v Vikings
Nov 10, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas won a postseason game the year before the Vikings last did, toppling the Seattle Seahawks at Jerry World in the 2018 season.

But the Cowboys — like the Vikings — have grimmer postseason demons to combat. Dallas hasn’t reached an NFC Championship since 1995. For a Vikings-history marker, that was Warren Moon’s second season in purple.

The Cowboys always find a way to excite in the regular season and then disappoint in January. They didn’t use to do that in the early 1990s.

Denver Broncos

Last Playoff Win = 2015 Season

Nov 28, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos general manager George Paton. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

John Elway made a deal with Satan to win Super Bowl 50 with an absolutely decrepit version of Peyton Manning.

How do we know that? Well, they haven’t reached the playoffs since. The naughtiness will probably change in 2022 now that Russell Wilson took over the franchise in a 2012 Manning-like fashion, but Denver is undergoing a desperate playoff dearth.

The last time the Broncos won a playoff game — Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were vying to win primary elections.

All the Others?

vikings Kyler Murray's Trade Availablity
Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s the full list (after Patriots, Steelers, Cowboys, and Broncos) of teams that have longer playoff droughts than the Vikings:

  • Indianapolis Colts (2018)
  • Los Angeles Chargers (2018)
  • Philadelphia Eagles (2018)
  • Atlanta Falcons (2017)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (2017)
  • Arizona Cardinals (2015)
  • Carolina Panthers (2015)
  • New York Giants (2011)
  • Chicago Bears (2010)
  • New York Jets (2010)
  • Washington Commanders (2005)
  • Las Vegas Raiders (2002)
  • Miami Dolphins (2000)
  • Detroit Lions (1991)

And, of course, for full disclosure, the Vikings have never won a Super Bowl. Most NFL teams have hoisted a Lombardi trophy. In the Super Bowl era (since 1966), the Vikings hold the NFL’s fifth-best winning percentage (.557) but no Super Bowl victories. Of the top 16 franchises via win percentage since 1966, Minnesota is the only ballclub with no Super Bowl win.


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).