Why the Minnesota Vikings are in the Midst of the Worst Meltdown in the 16-Game Regular Season Era

Photo Credit: FanSide

After a 5-0 start during which their defense seemed impenetrable, the Minnesota Vikings have dropped six of their last seven games and currently sit two games behind the Detroit Lions, who beat the Vikings twice, for the NFC North Division lead, and one game behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the final NFC Wild Card playoff spot with a record of 6-6.

Following the 2015 season, when six teams made it to 5-0, five teams made it to 6-0, three teams made it to both 7-0 and 8-0, two teams made it to both 9-0 and 10-0, and one team made it all the way to 14-0, the Minnesota Vikings were the only team this season to start off the season by winning their first five games and holding a 5-0 record.

In each of the past 22 NFL seasons, the team that has been last to lose their first game has at least made it to the playoffs. The Vikings will face an uphill battle in their final four games against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, and Chicago Bears, respectively, if they want to keep that streak alive and not become the first and only team since the 1993 New Orleans Saints to be the last team to lose their first game and fail to make the postseason.

Like the Vikings in 2016, the 1993 Saints also started off the 1993 season with a 5-0 record and were the final team to have their first loss handed to them. They ended the season with a 8-8 record and did not make the playoffs. They are the only team that this has ever happened to in the 16-game regular season era, which began in the 1978 NFL season.

If the Vikings end up not making the postseason this season after starting 5-0 and being the final team to lose their first game, they will go down as one of the biggest disappointments in NFL history that sustained one of the worst meltdowns in NFL history, particularly during the 16-game regular season era. There is still time to right the ship, however, as none of the four teams remaining on the Vikings’ schedule have records better than their 6-6 record.


-Asher Fair