2023 Vikings Look a Lot Like Another Vikings Team

Does Who Plays
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Have you, the Minnesota Vikings fan, felt the tingle yet?

No, a doctor isn’t needed; that’s a memory of 2017 flooding into your hippocampus.

2023 Vikings Look a Lot Like Another Vikings Team

The purple team was toast — really burnt — six weeks ago after a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, cratering to a 1-4 record, with fans calling for a “fire sale” of assets. Soon after, Minnesota began winning games, and here we are, summoning memories of 2017.

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Here’s why the connection is real.

The Injuries

2023 Vikings Look
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Among “normal” injuries, the 2017 Vikings lost quarterback Sam Bradford — arguably for good per his sake as a QB1 — and running back Dalvin Cook. Fans panicked, rightfully so. A 9-7 ceiling was the stuff of daydreams, and most generally considered the 2017 campaign lost as Minnesota would plot next steps at quarterback in 2018.

But Case Keenum had different plans, guiding the Vikings to a nifty winning streak and eventual NFC Championship appearance.

This season, Minnesota has lost Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, Marcus Davenport, Cam Akers, and Jordan Hicks, among others, for varying timeframes. Yet, it was only when those injuries occurred that the team rallied and became better, firing off win after win.

It’s a 2017 redux from an injury perspective. There’s no other way around it.

The Win Streak

Harrison Smith
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Speaking of the 2017 Vikings’ winning streak, that’s en route now for the 2023 brand.

The moment Jefferson was injured — an utterly damning forecast for Kevin O’Connell’s club at the time — Minnesota started checking off dubs in the NFC North standings. Bradford fell injured for good in a Monday Night Football game at the Chicago Bears in 2017, Keenum filled in, and Minnesota won its next eight games.

Fast forward to the present, and the 2023 squad scripted winning ways at Chicago in Week 6 and has run the tally to five straight. Until it ends, the 2023 winning spurt precisely mirrors the 2017 product.

The Quarterback

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Have you ever heard of a journeyman Vikings quarterback cast aside from various teams for unknown reasons, settling within the confines of Minnesota’s offense — only to prosper thereafter?

Keenum did so six years ago, and Dobbs is well on his way now. It’s bizarre.

Teams like the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, and Tennessee Titans couldn’t stomach Dobbs as a QB3 or practice squad passer for the long term. Those clubs said sayonara to the astronomical quarterback, later leading to a trade involving the Vikings and Cardinals.

Like Keenum, Dobbs has gripped the offense with 10 fingertips and won the hearts of Minnesotans.

All that’s left is an NFC Title Game fate.

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.