Vikings the Unluckiest Team in NFL, by the Numbers

Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) fumbles the ball out of bounds in the end zone while being tackled by Philadelphia Eagles safety Terrell Edmunds (26) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Did the Minnesota Vikings profound luck from the 2022 season run out in 2023? Yes. Is there quantitative proof? Also yes.

Vikings the Unluckiest Team in NFL, by the Numbers

What about the fumbles and dropped passes? K.J. Osborn could’ve grabbed a touchdown reception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1 to change fate. Justin Jefferson’s touchback fumble ruined Week 2. T.J. Hockenson had a football on his fingertips in Week 3 to potentially beat the Los Angeles Chargers. And that was before cornerback Akayleb Evans gift-wrapped a would-be interception for a Chargers touchdown.

Generalized back luck, derived from missed opportunities — that’s the early story of the 2023 Vikings.

Unluckiest Team
Sep 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Joshua Palmer (5) catches a touchdown pass from quarterback Justin Herbert (not pictured) off a deflection from Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans (21) during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Now, that bad luck has a score through three weeks, thanks to Data Bliss, and the Vikings live at the very bottom of the pack.

Have a look.

All the way at the bottom, and the Vikings have an 0-3 record accordingly.

A New Wrinkle
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) dives for the end zone as New York Giants cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (22) defends during the first quarter of a wild card game at U.S. Bank Stadium. The call on the field was a touchdown but was changed after review. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

On the Data Bliss chart, Minnesota is most ravaged by opposing kickers converting long field goals and extra points, which should flash bright lights for every Vikings fan. Outside of a Cameron Dicker missed field goal last weekend, the other team’s kicker always boots through regular and long field goals while virtually never missing extra points.

Then come the fumble recoveries. Minnesota is fumbling like a presidential candidate losing his home state, and the problem has not been corrected through three games. Plus, when the Vikings put the pigskin on the ground, the other team jumps on it. It’s a way of life for the 2023 Vikings — unlucky.

Sep 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) hands the ball off to running back Alexander Mattison (2) against the Los Angeles Chargers in the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Of course, this is probably just the cosmos interfering with karma. The 2022 season was classified by most NFL experts as a lucky endeavor for Minnesota, like Josh Allen’s goal line fumble in Buffalo last November. That was luck, and now the Vikings are paying it forward — or backward.

The good news? At some point, the bad luck from Data Bliss should revert and benefit the Vikings. That’s not a guarantee, but it is generally how luck in sports works.

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Todd Bowles hug after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Many of the Vikings blunders out of the gate in 2023 are their fault — suspect interior offensive line pass protection, refusing to run the football in the first two games, no defensive pressure outside of Danielle Hunter, etc. — but the ordinary stuff, such as lost fumbles and opponents’ field goals, aren’t helping.

Perhaps the luck will begin to even out this Sunday when the Vikings travel to Carolina.

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