Vikings “Bad Luck Meter” Remains Ridiculous

The Vikings National
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The thing never changes. It doesn’t improve.

Every week, DataWithBliss.com creator Tom Bliss tweets the NFL’s “luck meter,” which represents teams’ fortune or lack thereof based on opponents’ missed field goals, dropped interceptions, fumble recoveries, etc.

Vikings “Bad Luck Meter” Remains Ridiculous

And after every slate of games, the Minnesota Vikings live in the basement. They’re the league’s unluckiest team through 13 weeks.

Bad Luck Meter
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s the stat, tweeted by Bliss.

Naturally — because why wouldn’t they be? — the Green Bay Packers are the NFL’s luckiest team as of December 5th, probably why the cheese team has won four of its last five games. The Vikings and Packers have a vegete rivalry, but the lucky vs. unlucky variance this season is a bit absurd.

For curious minds, the luck dashboard is described by Bliss like this: “These values are measured by calculating the win probability of the observed outcome and subtracting the expected win probability based on the likelihood of each luck outcome. Win probability is calculated using the time remaining, point differential, down, distance, yard line and timeouts remaining.”

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Generally speaking, the Bliss stat(s) provide context on which teams benefit from acts outside their control. Minnesota has been getting hosed, in short.

This is the criteria:

  • Dropped INTs by Opponent
  • Dropped Passes by Opponent
  • FGs and XPs by Opponents
  • Fumbles Recoveries by Team

“Expected wins added is calculated by summing the win probability of each outcome weighted by the chance of the outcome occurring. Thus, an opponent missing a game-winning field goal with a 90% chance of being good is measured as considerably more lucky (+0.90 wins) than an opponent missing a game-winning field goal that had a 10% chance of being good (+0.10 wins),” Bliss explains.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Last year, the Vikings ranked sixth-best via the Bliss metric, so perhaps 2023’s malarkey is regression to the mean. It’s just a cruel twist of fate, as Minnesota’s “good luck” in 2022 didn’t rival 2023’s “bad luck” per severity or anywhere close to it.

Regardless, the Vikings remain in the playoff chase — they have the same record as the Packers at 6-6, and the teams play each other at U.S. Bank Stadium in 26 days — and mathematically must finish 3-2 in the next five games to reach the postseason. The same stakes apply to the Packers.

Top 15
Tork Mason-USA TODAY Sports.

We shall see if the good luck follows Green Bay and the bad luck for Minnesota continues in the next five weeks.

The Vikings take on the Las Vegas Raiders this Sunday at Allegiant Stadium and are favored to win by a field goal.


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 Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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