Vikings Super Bowl Odds Totally Plunge
If the Minnesota Vikings win Super Bowl LVII, they’ll be one of the strangest teams in NFL history to hoist the Lombardi trophy.
Watchers of Vikings football since Week 11, the game where the Dallas Cowboys gutted Minnesota at home by 37 points, might find any Super Bowl discussion irrelevant regarding the team. Kevin O’Connell’s squad has recently stopped forcing turnovers on defense, a calling card from Weeks 1 through 10. And accordingly, the Vikings have suffered embarrassing losses to the Cowboys and Lions.
Moreover, Vegas’ appetite for a Vikings Super Bowl triumph has dipped. Minnesota has a 10-3 record, so it should, in theory, be right in the thick of Super Bowl chats. This isn’t hometown spin dreamt up by local media personalities. There’s a reasonable expectation for a team with a 10-3 record entering Week 15 to have sights set on February football.
These Vikings, though, seem to be heading the other way, at least after Week 14. Minnesota lost to Detroit at Ford Field, 34-23, in a game where the QB1 performed at his peak, but the defense was swiss-cheesy and awful. Because the Vikings fell to the Lions by 11 points, national folks’ “fraud” arguments intensified — and the Vikings Super Bowl odds fell from 16:1 to 25:1. The drop-off is vast and significant.
Per the tweet above, among reasonably contending teams, only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell more dramatically, probably because of the shellacking doled out by the Brock Purdy-led San Francisco 49ers last weekend.
So, why has the Vikings outlook for their first-ever Super Bowl fallen in the last two days? Political consultant James Carville said in the 1990s about Bill Clinton’s presidential election bid, “It’s the economy, stupid.” For the 2022 Vikings, “It’s the defense, stupid.”
For an unknown and godforsaken reason, Minnesota plays a junior version of prevent defense seemingly all game long. Until recently, defensive coordinator Ed Donatell has “gotten away with” the weird strategy because his group would habitually flex in the 4th Quarter with the same on the line. But with losses to Dallas and Detroit in the last four weeks, the goodwill or benefit of the doubt has lessened. Without Donatell’s unit forcing turnovers, they’re just a bad defense — one that ranks 32nd in the NFL per yards allowed.
That’s the fix. The Vikings offense isn’t totally gangbusters nor near the top of the league, but it does not strategize to perform ho-hum until crunchtime. The defense, on the other hand, does. It’s like the team’s mission statement is this: Bend but don’t break until it’s time to be serious. What rational football brain believes that is smart?
That defensive mindset won’t cut it in the postseason and is even getting exposed down the stretch of the regular season. Thankfully, however, O’Connell appeared to finally realize the defensive follies after the loss in Detroit and told reporters Monday, “there’s a lot of things on the table” for a defensive remedy. We shall see.
O’Connell and Donatell have time for a pseudo-fix, as the regular season caps in four games. For now, though, sportsbooks aren’t buying it, as Minnesota’s Super Bowl probability totally plunged in a day.
The Vikings have lost six straight NFC Championship games and four consecutive Super Bowls.
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 Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).
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