Vikings Statistically Tabbed as ‘3rd-Worst’ 6-1 Team of All Time
The Minnesota Vikings haven’t started a season with a 6-1 record or better since 2009, a popular year in franchise lore. And according to Football Outsiders, that Brett Favre-led campaign is wildly different than Minnesota’s 2022 start.
Per Football Outsiders‘ DVOA statistic, the Vikings are the third-worst 6-1 team of all time, an alarming fact that skeptics will assuredly weaponize.
For newcomers, DVOA is defined like this by Football Outsiders:
DVOA measures a team’s efficiency by comparing success on every single play to a league average based on situation and opponent. It is a method of evaluating teams, units, or players. It takes every single play during the NFL season and compares each one to a league-average baseline based on situation.
And for reference, per the Schatz tweet, look no further than last week’s New York Giants to determine what a “bad 6-1 team” really means. The Vikings are essentially an equivalent to how the world felt about Brian Daboll’s Giants last week, who lost in Week 8 to the Seattle Seahawks.
The Vikings knocked off the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, 34-26. Kirk Cousins and friends hopped out to an 11-point lead, squandered it, regained the momentum, and finished off the underachieving Cardinals. EDGE rusher Za’Darius Smith led the way with three sacks.
The win marked the hottest start ever through seven games for a first-year Vikings head coach, as Kevin O’Connell bested Dennis Green’s 5-2 record through seven games in 1992. But all of the Vikings wins have occurred by eight points or fewer, sans the Week 1 triumph over the Green Bay Packers.
Accordingly, the historical numbers don’t favor the Vikings, at least not in comparison to other 6-1 teams. In the Super Bowl era, 15% of all teams that started 6-1 eventually won the Super Bowl in the same season. In reverse, 36% of all Super Bowl-winning teams started the season with a 6-1 record.
Some numbers that might prove the DVOA stat is accurate? The Vikings rank as follows in various metrics:
- 17th in Offensive 3rd Down Conversion %
- 25th in Time of Possession
- 28th in Yards Allowed to Opponents
- 29th in Completion % Allowed
- 32nd in Redzone TD % Allowed
- 32nd in FG %
Minnesota’s only method to dispel the DVOA statistic, rendering it meaningless, is to continue stacking wins while hoping to jell on the fly. Until then, the numbers suggest that the team’s early success is a massive outlier.
But the 1982 Washington Commanders mentioned by Schatz did win the Super Bowl.
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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).