The Miracle Effect in The Vikings’ Blowout Loss

Well, folks, that was an unpleasant experience. I watched the game, but it’d be safe to say it wasn’t one that I enjoyed. I expected Dallas to play us tough and get the win in the end, but Minnesota didn’t show up in their 40-3 defeat. The Vikings’ blowout loss drops them down to 8-2.

Let me propose a theory for what occurred.

Hop into your time machine and journey back to the end of the 2017 season. Minnesota was an impressive 13-3 following a magical season led by backup journeyman Case Keenum at QB and an elite Mike Zimmer defense. Their playoff opponent was Sean Payton’s New Orleans Saints, a team Vikings fans haven’t liked since the 2009 NFC Championship.

The game, as most will recall, came down to the wire. As the game inched toward its conclusion, the Saints held a slim 1-point lead. Keenum and Stefon Diggs went on to put together The Minneapolis Miracle:

What’s the point of this trip down memory lane? Well, it’s to bring up what occurred afterwards. The Vikings’ suffered a blowout loss the next week. A quick peak at the game statistics aren’t particularly flattering for the men in purple. Philadelphia won 38-7. Nick Foles went 26/33 for 352 yards and 3 TDs. The Eagles held the ball for more than 34 minutes; they were 10/14 on their 3rd-down conversions as they piled up 456 yards.

The point, Vikings fans, is that Minnesota also didn’t show up to that game. The theory is that it is very difficult to follow such an incredible victory with another win. So much time and energy went into The Minneapolis Miracle and aftermath that summoning the energy to defeat the Eagles was supremely difficult. Alas, it’s merely an opinion, not an ironclad explanation of what happened.

I do wonder, though, if something similar occurred yesterday. Minnesota had won 7 straight games following the Week 2 loss. The 7th win – a remarkable victory over the Bills after being down 17 points – provided the team and its fans with much to celebrate throughout the week. Dallas, on the other hand, was coming off a tough loss to Green Bay, making them very motivated to get back on track.

The Vikings loss to the Cowboys certainly qualifies as a blowout. Minnesota was 1/11 on third down; Dallas was 12 for 17. The Cowboys turned their 458 yards into 40 points; the Vikings turned their 183 yards into 3 points. Dallas got to 7 sacks behind their talented pass rushers; Minnesota had 0 sacks despite their great talent.

The thinking, folks, is that it was always going to be difficult for Minnesota to win this game. They’ve been involved in a lot of wins and the most recent one was as exciting of a regular season game as you’ll ever see. Coming right back the next week to put another game in the win column was a difficult ask.

In the end, Minnesota fans ought not be overly concerned. At 8-2, Minnesota is still in full control of the North and in a great spot for the playoffs as a whole.

The next game takes place on Thanksgiving when Bill Belichick’s Patriots visit U.S. Bank Stadium. Minnesota will have the chance to celebrate the holiday by climbing to 9-2.