The Vikings Can End One Miserable Streak on Thursday Night

Starters in 2023
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) walks off the field after the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

An unkind assignment, the Minnesota Vikings travel to Philadelphia on Thursday night for a date with the Eagles, a team that survived-and-advanced over the New England Patriots in Week 1.

The Vikings Can End One Miserable Streak on Thursday Night

The Vikings lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, an unexpected outcome as Minnesota was favored by five points and the Buccaneers employ Baker Mayfield at QB1.

And if the Vikings achieve victory in Philadelphia on Thursday Night Football, they end one rotten streak — Minnesota hasn’t won a road football game on Thursday night in 45 years.

One Miserable Streak
Aug 26, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) leaves the field before a game against the Arizona Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Games on Thursday nights began in 1978 — they became routine as most fans know them today in 2006 — and the Vikings actually won their first Thursday evening showdown. That was against the Dallas Cowboys on October 26th, 1978, in Texas, and led by Fran Tarkenton, in his final NFL season, Minnesota downed Dallas 21-10. The Vikings later lost to the Los Angeles Rams in the postseason, and Tarkenton rode off into the Norse sunset.

And then that was it.

Jan 9, 1977, Pasadena, CA, USA; FILE PHOTO; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton (10) in action against the Oakland Raiders during Super Bowl XI at the Rose Bowl. The Raiders defeated the Vikings 32-14 to win their first Super Bowl championship. Mandatory Credit: Photo By Tony Tomsic-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota has not won a game on Thursday night since, currently on a six-game losing skid in such situations. Here’s the history after the Vikings triumph on Thursday evening over Dallas in 1978:

  • 1982 | LOSS: at Buffalo (23-22)
  • 2006 | LOSS: at Green Bay (9-7)
  • 2010 | LOSS: at New Orleans (14-9)
  • 2014 | LOSS: at Arizona (23-20)
  • 2018 | LOSS: at Los Angeles Rams (38-31)
Sep 27, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) shake hands after their game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

On the other hand, if one is an optimist, the Vikings have won three consecutive Thursday Night Football games, but their last three contests have occurred at the usually friendly confines of U.S. Bank Stadium. In 2019, the Vikings chipped off Case Keenum’s Washington Commanders, with Kevin O’Connell as Washington’s quarterbacks coach. In 2021, Minnesota tried to blow a lead versus the Pittsburgh Steelers on TNF but ultimately prevailed. And last year, the Vikings defeated Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots on Thanksgiving — under the lights of primetime.

All told, regardless of location, home or away, the Vikings are 9-11 (.450) on Thursday nights throughout franchise history.

Nov 21, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) celebrates a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

The easiest way to digest it? If the Vikings are at home for a Thursday night tryst, they typically win. On the road, they tend to lose.

Streaks are designed to end, so we shall see if the purple team can end 45 years of Thursday night losses against the Eagles.

Oddsmakers believe Minnesota will lose by a touchdown.

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).

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