3 Most Surprising Moments of Vikings’ Season So Far

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings have eight more days off after losing to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. Next up is a showdown with the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14.

Minnesota is 6-6 after 12 weeks and has a 58.3% chance of reaching the postseason, according to ESPN.

3 Most Surprising Moments of Vikings’ Season So Far

And with five games still on the docket, the franchise needs a couple more big moments, plays, or games to turn this rollercoaster season into a playoff appearance.

Most Surprising Moments
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

To date, these are the three most surprising Vikings moments of the 2023 season, ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = most surprising).

3. Anthony Barr Returns

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

On November 13th, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted, “With LB Jordan Hicks hurt, the Vikings are planning to re-sign four-time Pro-Bowl LB Anthony Barr, per league sources. Barr spent eight seasons in Minnesota after becoming the Vikings first-round pick in 2014.”

Hicks was later placed on injured reserve and is eligible to return as early as Christmas Eve.

But the Barr reunion signing fell out of the damn sky. He had visited about 4-5 other teams in 2023 for auditions and decided on the Vikings after a five-game winning streak. In fact, the day Barr re-signed in Minnesota, he was allegedly visiting the Philadelphia Eagles, which made sense as Jalen Hurts and Co. are Super Bowl contenders.

No one had Barr returning to Minnesota on their 2023 bingo boards. Now, if the Vikings can restart winning games with him in the lineup, all will be right in the world.

2. Dobbs to Powell in Atlanta

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports.

After the Vikings lost back-to-back games in the last two weeks, this moment feels like eons ago.

But on November 5th, five days after he joined the team via trade, Joshua Dobbs took over for injured rookie Jaren Hall, didn’t know much of the playbook, and helped deliver a win. At the time, the dub over the Falcons kept the winning streak intact and almost felt like gravy.

But because Minnesota has lost to the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears in Weeks 11 and 12, it turns out the Dobbs touchdown pass to Brandon Powell was totally required to keep playoff hopes afloat.

If Minnesota doesn’t reach the postseason, this moment will be considered the team’s Super Bowl in 2023, mainly because the Dobbs heroism came out of nowhere.

1. Cousins Lost for the Year

Return to Familiar but Unkind
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports.

The moment that changed everything for the 2023 Vikings.

A real-life Iron Man per durability, Cousins was finally knocked for the count in 2023. He won’t be back this season. Cousins tore his Achilles tendon at Lambeau Field, completely changing the Vikings’ season trajectory. They’ll be lucky to reach the postseason now, and almost nobody expects them to win a Super Bowl.

Cousins’ injury also jeopardized his long-term fate with the club, as he’s scheduled to hit free agency in three months. The injury could have a domino effect on, well, everything.

Anytime a QB1 is lost of the season, a football team’s world is turned upside down. But when a QB1, who tosses 30 touchdowns like the sun rises and is also in the final year of his deal, gets hurt, all best-laid plans stop and pulsate.

And that happened to the Vikings on October 29th.

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.