It’s Been a Long Time Since Vikings Have Been 0-4

Nov 20, 2011; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb (5) against the Oakland Raiders at the Metrodome. The Raiders defeated the Vikings 27-21. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE.

The Minnesota Vikings are headed to Charlotte, North Carolina on Sunday in a matchup against the Carolina Panthers. They head to the East Coast carrying an 0-3 record, and they’ll be looking to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat. It’s been a while since they have started that poorly, and replicating the result isn’t something they’re interested in.

It’s Been a Long Time Since Vikings Have Been 0-4

The last time the Vikings kicked off a season losing their first four games was in 2011. It has been over a decade, and the franchise has gone through plenty of changes since that time. Yes, the Metrodome had already imploded, but Minnesota played games at TCF Bank Stadium, and Christian Ponder’s career came and went in its entirety over that time span.

Been a Long Time
Dec 15, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier watches as his team plays the Philadelphia Eagles at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Vikings won 48-30. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Under head coach Leslie Frazier, the Vikings wound up going just 3-13 to finish at the rear of the NFC North division. Donovan McNabb was brought in to be the starting quarterback for the purple, and his tenure wound up lasting just six games. Adrian Peterson was only a few weeks away from tearing his ACL, and Percy Harvin was still considered an elite talent.

During that Week 4 game for the 2011 Vikings, Minnesota dropped a game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Fresh off an overtime loss at home against the Detroit Lions, Matt Cassel took the field at Arrowhead and stuck it to his future employer. Cassel passed for 260 yards and a touchdown while the trio of Thomas Jones, Dexter McCluster, and Jackie Battle did the damage on the ground.

It was largely a field goal contest, as only Devin Aromashadu and Michael Jenkins reached the end zone for Minnesota. Dwayne Bowe put the Chiefs up 22-10 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and his score was enough to hold up for the win. Both teams came in with 0-3 records, and while the Vikings continued to lose the rest of the way, Kansas City salvaged things to the tune of a more respectable 7-9 record.

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Todd Bowles hug after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings probably aren’t going to be looking at any sort of playoff scenarios in 2023, but finding a way to make their record less hideous is something they should get behind. Similar to that 2011 season, Minnesota came into Week 4 with losses against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers.

Favored by just over a field goal on Sunday, Kevin O’Connell’s club needs to find their way into the win column. The schedule certainly doesn’t let up as the weeks go on, and they are quickly finding themselves compared to the Chicago Bears rather than the Lions or Green Bay Packers. If Minnesota wants anything more than hollow numbers for Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson, putting up tallies in the win column must accompany production.

Aug 25, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) catches a touchdown pass as Detroit Lions cornerback Will Harris (25) defends in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

For former Vikings wideout Adam Thielen, this game apparently is going to be something of a playoff matchup. For Minnesota and Carolina, it should be little more than an opportunity to move on from the ineptitude that is a winless start of the season. Only two of the four winless teams will remain in Week 5, and the Vikings being among them isn’t what anyone wants to see, competitive rebuild or not.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.