Vikings Off the Charts on NFL’s “Bad Luck Meter”

Vikings 2023 Super Bowl Odds
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

The Los Angeles Chargers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Kansas City Chiefs are the NFL’s “luckiest” teams through six weeks of 2023.

Must be nice.

Vikings Off the Charts on NFL’s “Bad Luck Meter”

The Washington Commanders, Baltimore Ravens, and Chicago Ravens live near the bottom of DataWithBliss‘ “Luck Dashboard” — and then there’s the Minnesota Vikings.

Vikings Off the Charts
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports.

It’s an awful and uncontrollable list for a team to struggle with, and the Vikings are, quite frankly, close to off the charts. Minnesota’s net win probability added due to dropped passes, dropped interceptions, field goals against, and fumbles recovered is -113.5%, which is, of course, terrible.

Here’s a look at the full list:

In 2022, the Vikings were a Top 5 lucky team per the same metric, probably why the club was 5-1 a year ago and 2-4 at the moment.

Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports.

The stat’s creator, Tom Bliss, even cited the Vikings dropped interception against the Chargers in Week 3, an Akayleb Evans transaction that would’ve secured the game for Minnesota but instead led directly to a touchdown.

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.”

“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.

works just fine
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings lead the NFL in fumbles lost with 9 and are tied for 30th via fumbles, in general. In 2023, when a fumble hits the turf or grass in a Vikings game, the other team typically recovers, reflected in the Bliss graph.

Moreover, Minnesota suddenly has a drops problem. According to Pro Football Focus, Kevin O’Connell’s team leads the league in drops by would-be pass-catchers, a syndrome that seemed to show up out of nowhere against the Chiefs nine days ago.

Chiefs Perfectly Sums
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

And, of course, opposing kickers love drilling their career-long field goal against the Vikings, happenstance that exceeds the 2023 season for Minnesota, so longtime fans are used to it.

The good news? Bad luck can’t last forever, at least not the kind defined by Bliss. Perhaps the Vikings can climb the chart — or merely not stay in last — in Week 7 and beyond.

The Vikings host the San Francisco 49ers on Monday, a club that encountered some bad voodoo of its own, especially against the Cleveland Browns last weekend.

The 49ers are favored by seven points to take down the Vikings.


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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