The Vikings season is not quite half over, or it is already over, depending on how you want to look at it. Road games at Dallas, Seattle and Green Bay loom in three of the next four weeks, threatening to turn something already bad into something even worse. As it stands, though, this is already one of the five most disappointing Vikings season in their 50-plus years of existence. Here is our list:
• No. 5: 1984. Also known as “the Les Steckel” year. It doesn’t occupy a more prominent spot in the top five because with a brand new head coach it was hard to know what to expect — and because the Bud Grant-coached 1983 squad started 6-2 but went 2-6 down the stretch. However, when a team goes 3-13 and loses five of its final six games by at least 21 points, it earns a place at the table.
• No. 4: 1972. Every Vikings team from 1969 to ’76 won at least 10 games and made it to the playoffs — except for this team, which went 7-7. Strangely enough, this was the first season of Fran Tarkenton’s second go-round with the Vikings.
• No. 3: 2013. Yes, this season already qualifies as the third worst. Considering the Vikings made the playoffs last season and won 10 games, the trajectory of 2013 can only be thought of as an unmitigated disaster.
• No. 2: 2001. This would be No. 1 if not for the fact that we all caught glimpses of what was to come in 2000. That year’s team backed into a bye with three consecutive losses to end the regular season, gained false confidence in the playoffs vs. New Orleans and then served up 41-donut in the NFC title game. The 2001 squad limped to a 5-11 finish with four consecutive losses and cost Denny Green his job.
• No. 1: 2010. In retrospect, it was foolish to think the 2009 squad could recapture the magic a year later. But at the time, you looked at a team that had pretty much everyone back and thought it could make a Super Bowl run. Instead, the victory total was chopped in half from 12 to six and every off-field distraction imaginable came to fruition. Brad Childress lost his job.
So there’s your list of five. What new and exciting things will the 2013 Vikings do to move even further up the list?