Vikings Skipper Still Optimistic about Turnaround

Should Have Optimism
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

Since 1990, 11 NFL teams have transformed a 1-4 start into a playoff berth.

The league expanded to six playoff teams per conference that year and, in 2020, allowed two more, one per conference, to the dance.

Vikings Skipper Still Optimistic about Turnaround

And while the Vikings assuredly do not resemble a postseason team through five games — or anywhere close to it because of blunders — Minnesota’s head coach, Kevin O’Connell, remains steadfast about the team’s chances of fixing the enterprise on the fly.

Skipper Still Optimistic
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

The 38-year-old skipper told reporters after the Vikings loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, “My job is to go attack this thing from this very moment forward. I’m going to remain — I think you guys know this about me now — I’m going to remain positive through and through because I believe in this group. I believe in our coaches. I believe in this organization.”

The Vikings have started seasons with a 1-4 record nine times but never reached the playoffs with such a win-loss mark through five weeks. The best the organization ever achieved after a 1-4 start was in 2005 — the Love Boat season — when it finished 9-7 after a fortuitous win streak following the Lake Minnetonka get-together.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

“Results just have not gone our way, and I believe my job is to figure out, look very closely at all of these results, and continue to find ways to coach this team better, deploy our personnel better, give people opportunities to maybe prove some things to us to earn more ops and then continue to drive forward,” O’Connell continued.

Minnesota has lost its first three home games, a first-time-in-51-years ordeal with fans in attendance. The Vikings lost three games at home to start the 2020 season, but no fans were present. Before that, the last time was 1972 (until now, of course).

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

O’Connell concluded, “There’s not going to be any questioning or doubt in my mind knowing that we’ve had four tough results. But I do feel like this team is able to compete and we’re going to do that every single week, and I believe in the end, we’re going to find out exactly what we are through writing our story for this whole season. And I look forward to the challenge of continuing to seek becoming that team.”

The Vikings haven’t played any division games yet, beginning that task this weekend at Soldier Field, where Minnesota has a 7-15 (.318) record since 2000.

Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center on Tuesday., July 25th, 2023. The Vikings won the NFC North in Kevin O’Connell’s first year, thanks to a 13-4 record. O’Connell’s is the league’s second-youngest coach as of 2023.

Meanwhile, turnovers continue to douse any hopes of the Vikings finding wins versus winning teams. O’Connell’s bunch leads the NFL in turnovers — not in a good way — with 12, turning the rock over in every single 1st Quarter of a game this season. When a 2023 game begins, Minnesota’s offense tends to march down the field — and then fumbles or throws an interception.

The season is certainly rectifiable, but the hole can only be dug so deep. O’Connell’s optimism must translate to a winning streak of approximately four wins in five games or so to right the ship.

Despite O’Connell’s positivity, oddsmakers now believe the Vikings will finish 6-11 or 7-10.

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