It’s the middle of November, and by this time in the football season Minnesotans’ hopeful expectations about the Vikings would probably have given way to two usual scenarios. They either would have already been extinguished by a poor season showing, or we would be in huge suspense because of the Vikings being just in contention to reach the playoffs but still in danger of missing out. Instead, this year, something strange has happened. The Vikings have been off to a hot start, and haven’t slowed down. The Vikings are 8-1 at the time of this writing. However, doubt still remains. Though it can be tempting as Vikings and Minnesota sports fans in general to assume the worst and await eventual heartbreak, I suggest we just enjoy this season we are getting and go along for the ride.
Just being able to enjoy a Vikings season in this way is understandably tough, even in my more limited knowledge compared to more experienced fans. In the time I’ve been alive, I personally remember watching several heartbreaking moments in Vikings history. There was the 2009 NFC Championship Game where the Vikings lost to the New Orleans Saints. There was the 2015 Wild Card playoff game the Vikings lost to the Seattle Seahawks on a missed field goal. And then there was the joy and then crushing defeat when the Vikings beat the Saints in the Minneapolis Miracle game, only to be defeated by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2019 NFC Championship Game. Not to mention there are other disappointing years where we didn’t even make it to the playoffs even though the team was initially promising.
It can be easy to doubt, and even with the Vikings having their best start in years, there is still plenty of evidence that people are seeing the Vikings’ success as some sort of fluke. The Vikings were not favored to win last week against the Buffalo Bills, yet they put together a spectacular comeback and managed to win in overtime. News later emerged the referees missed several critical calls that could have helped the Vikings win the game earlier, showing this win was not just a lucky break. The Vikings were also considered the betting line underdogs for the game this past Sunday against the Cowboys despite their win against the Super Bowl contender Bills.
It is important to recognize just how well this season has gone despite so many changes taking place on the Vikings. This year, the Vikings got a new general manager in Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, and a new head coach in Kevin O’Connell. Usually, with new leadership, a team might be expected to need some time to adjust to the new system. Instead, the Vikings have been experiencing tremendous success. Existing players such as Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson have had record seasons, and new additions such as Za’Darius Smith have been adding to the team too. Despite the odds being against them, the Vikings have been performing at a high level, and that is something to be happy about.
So while we can all overanalyze and anticipate the point where things will eventually go wrong, and talk about how the Vikings are getting lucky and how it won’t last, let’s just cheer on the Vikings instead. It’s fun to watch Vikings games on Sunday and come away with a win this often. Overthinking it will just ruin the fun that watching football on Sunday is supposed to be. This is especially true in a year like this with new leadership where we were not expected to be doing this well in the first place. So once the playoffs come around, we can discuss what the Vikings need to fix and worry about whether we can get the next win. But for the rest of the regular season, these next eight games at least, let’s just embrace the purple and gold and enjoy the show.
Connor Kockler is a graduate of St. John’s University. He enjoys writing, politics and news, among other interests.