The Vikings Have Arrived at the Perfect Time

Back at Jordan
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

At 1-4, the Minnesota Vikings risked setting up shop in the NFL’s basement for good and caterwauling chants from some fans to “blow it up” by trading Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter, to name a couple.

The Vikings Have Arrived at the Perfect Time

Indeed, “trade Cousins to the Jets” or “ship Hunter to Jacksonville” was all the rage less than two weeks ago, but there was a problem. Nobody told the Vikings locker room to quit.

Minnesota then produced the ugliest victory imaginable at Soldier Field, outlasting the Chicago Bears in an NFC North dogfight. After that, the best team in the NFL shimmied into Minneapolis angry after losing to the Cleveland Browns seven days prior.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings were seven-point underdogs in their own home, almost certain to encounter a 2-5 fate as reigning Offensive Player of the Year Justin Jefferson was on the shelf for three more games.

But under the bright lights of primetime, a spot where the Vikings have struggled for decades, Kirk Cousins and Minnesota’s defense delivered, defeating the hot San Francisco 49ers, 22-17.

And the triumph could not have occurred at a better time.

Arrived at the Perfect
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Cousins was brilliant — one of his best games as a Viking — tallying 378 passing yards and two scores against one of the sport’s premier defenses. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s maturing-on-the-fly defense held San Francisco to 17 points, tied for the 49ers lowest regular season output in over a year.

Here’s the fun part: The brutal part of Minnesota’s schedule is over. Done.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

Here’s the Vikings schedule (home games in red):

  • Week 1: Buccaneers (9/10) — LOSS
  • Week 2: at Eagles (9/14, TNF) — LOSS
  • Week 3: Chargers (9/24) — LOSS
  • Week 4: at Panthers (10/1) — WIN
  • Week 5: Chiefs (10/8) — LOSS
  • Week 6: at Bears (10/15) — WIN
  • Week 7: 49ers (10/23, MNF) — WIN
  • Week 8: at Packers (10/29)
  • Week 9: at Falcons (11/5)
  • Week 10: Saints (11/12)
  • Week 11: at Broncos (11/19, SNF)
  • Week 12: Bears (11/27, MNF)
  • Week 13: BYE
  • Week 14: at Raiders (12/10)
  • Week 15: at Bengals (TBD)
  • Week 16: Lions (12/24)
  • Week 17: Packers (12/31, SNF)
  • Week 18: at Lions (1/7)

The upcoming slate — Packers, Falcons, Saints, Broncos, Bears, and Raiders — should be utterly salivating for a team cruising toward midseason momentum. The nasty part is over.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings even have a chance to catch the Lions, currently holding a two-game lead over Minnesota, with two games against the Vikings at the end of the season. Minnesota basically needs to stay within two games of the Lions until Christmas Eve to maintain a puncher’s chance at the division.

When the schedule dropped in May, the Vikings essentially needed to be 4-4 by Halloween, with the “easy” part of the agenda on tap.

The non-murderous part has arrived.

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