A look at the Minnesota Vikings’ schedule this season shows a stark contrast and a particularly interesting trend for Mike Zimmer’s team. In short, this is a team that beats the bad ones on its schedule and loses to the good ones.
Does that sound like any other NFL teams you know? Perhaps one in the same division?
The difference between Minnesota’s performance against good teams and bad ones is quite impressive and almost entirely consistent. Let’s break down the results of the team’s wins and losses (and their one tie) to see how that compares with the Green Bay Packers’ results from this season.
Minnesota is currently 5-4-1 on the season, but every one of their wins has come against a team that is currently under .500 in 2018. They are as follows:
- 24-16 vs. 49ers (2-8)
- 23-21 @ Eagles (4-6)
- 27-17 vs. Cardinals (2-8)
- 37-17 at Jets (3-7)
- 24-9 vs. Lions (4-6)
That’s a combined 15-35 record for the opponents that the Vikings have beaten, a miserable .300 winning percentage.
Now look at the teams that have beaten Minnesota this year:
That’s three division leaders in the NFC plus the Bills, who are the one obvious exception to this rule. Outside of that game, however, the Vikings lose to the good teams they play and beat the ones they should. Of course, there is the matter of that 29-29 tie with the Packers at Lambeau Field in week two. That should have been a Packers victory if not for the absurd roughing the passer call on Clay Matthews — which likely would not have been a penalty if the game were played at midseason instead.
The Packers, meanwhile, have their one notable exception on the other side of the ledger: a win over the Bears on Sunday night of week one. Of course, that happened thanks to a one-legged Aaron Rodgers going full God-mode in the second half. Otherwise, the Packers have beaten the 3-7 Bills, the 2-8 49ers, and the 5-5 Dolphins (who look much worse than .500 thanks to a massive glut of injuries), with all of those games coming at home.
This all suggests that if the Vikings manage to sneak into the postseason by virtue of their wins over bad teams, it will be a short one-and-done run for this squad. Since the division title is likely going to Chicago at this point, a Wild-Card game in Chicago would appear to be an unlikely stage for the Vikings to advance to the Divisional round. If they were to get to the fifth seed and play at the NFC East winner, that could be a different story though, since all bets are off in that division.
What does this mean for Sunday night at U.S. Bank Stadium? Well, if you believe that the Packers are in fact a good team that has simply run into some bad luck, then this should give you faith in their ability to win at the Vikings’ new stadium for the first time. If you see a flawed, bad Packers squad that can’t execute in the clutch, then perhaps lean in the opposite direction.