Lord Have Mercy. What Is This Team?

Down 33-0 at halftime and 36-7 with about two minutes remaining in the 3rd Quarter, the Minnesota Vikings scuttled to an unlikely finish line in the 4th Quarter and overtime to stunningly defeat the Indianapolis Colts, 39-36, in Week 15.

What in the world? What in the world is right.

Lord Have Mercy. What Is This Team?

The previous record for the NFL’s largest comeback was held by the 1992 Buffalo Bills, who effectuated a 32-point about-face in the postseason over Warren Moon’s Houston Oilers. The record stood for about 30 years. Perhaps the Vikings new feat will reign for another 30.

Lord Have Mercy. What Is This Team?
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Vikings players, coaches, executives, and fans will celebrate the league’s most impressive comeback in history, but around Thursday or so, fans particularly will wonder, “Okay, so are the Vikings worthy of Super Bowl contention again, or what’s the deal? What is this team?”

And the answer is probably this — a gritty playoff participant lacking the oomph to be considered a true-blue Super Bowl contender but a team that absolutely adores finding miraculous ways to win. Then, ask yourself, is this good enough for me, the fan, to get invested?

Because of the wacky, wild, and nearly preordained comeback tactics, the 2022 Vikings have earned the benefit of the doubt regarding your trust. They have it in their DNA to get clobbered in one half by a meager Colts team, intermixed with the fortitude to beat the Buffalo Bills on the road — via 17-point comeback. Minnesota may win the home playoff game in Round 1 by a score of 45-0 over the Detroit Lions, New York Giants, Washington Commanders, or Seattle Seahawks. And then it may lose the Round 2 game to the San Francisco 49ers 45-0. Kevin O’Connell’s team is that bizarre.

Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

In determining the “what is this team?” verdict, ponder these items:

  1. The Vikings are incapable of beating a team handily. No win can exceed a margin of eight points. It isn’t allowed.
  2. When they play poorly, the level of poor scrapes the very depths of Hell.
  3. And when they get involved in games within eight points, they have a 10-0 record. That must account for something.
  4. The quarterback is playing his best football in December. He’s never done that before. We have nouns like Kirktober and Kirkvember for a reason. Until now, we do not have Kirkcember in our vocabulary.
  5. The Vikings head coach told his team at halftime on Saturday, “All we need is five touchdowns.” Think of the spine forged in steel needed to make that statement.
  6. Minnesota’s defense doesn’t play well — until the 4th Quarter. When that period begins, it is indisputably magnificent.
  7. If the Vikings are to finally win a Super Bowl, perhaps the messiest, craziest, defibrillator-laden season is what the Norse Gods require.
12 Snap Reactions after Vikings-Colts
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

All conventional statistics, especially metrics that illuminate point differential, suggest the Vikings are barrelling toward an embarrassing postseason defeat in Round 1 or Round 2. You cannot pretend that doesn’t enter your psyche. In fact, it will likely happen.

But what if doesn’t?

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 Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

The post Lord Have Mercy. What Is This Team? appeared first on Vikings Territory.