It's too early to make Super Bowl plans. Even the mere mention of it scares Vikings fans. Deadspin's Drew Magary chided me for even saying those two words on the Access Vikings podcast this week, saying: "You're going to say it and then [Sam] Bradford is going to fall into a manhole five minutes from now because you said it." I get it. There's a long way to go from 4-0. Just ask the 2003 Vikings, who started 6-0 and didn't even make the playoffs. But: This year's team feels different from that team. It's starting to feel a little like 1998 and 2009. In that spirit, let's take a look at those two teams, who also started off 4-0, compared to this year's team:
How they got there on offense
A quarterback who wasn't the starter at the beginning of training camp (Randall Cunningham) stepped in for the injured Brad Johnson and rescued the offense.
A quarterback who wasn't the starter at the beginning of training camp (Brett Favre) stepped out of retirement and rescued the offense.
A quarterback who wasn't the starter at the beginning of training camp (Sam Bradford) arrived via trade and stepped in for the injured Teddy Bridgewater to rescue the offense.
QB stats through three starts
Cunningham: 60.9% completion, 9 TD passes, 0 INTs, 127.9 passer rating
Favre: 64.9% completion, 5 TD passes, 1 INTs, 94.5 passer rating
Bradford: 69.5% completion, 4 TD passes, 0 INTs, 105.5 passer rating.
Early signature win
Oct. 5, 37-24 in prime time at Green Bay. Cunningham throws for 442 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Oct. 5, 30-23 vs. Green Bay in prime time at the Metrodome. Favre throws 3 touchdowns in the win.
Sept. 18, 17-14 vs. Green Bay in prime time at U.S. Bank Stadium. Bradford goes for 286 and 2 TDs in first start.
A lights-out offense that would go on to set a record (at the time) for most points in an NFL season.
A talented veteran group led by Favre that was determined to make a deep playoff run.
A resilient group led by an emerging elite young defense that has shown the ability to shut down top QBs.
How it ended
A 15-1 season came to a thudding halt with an overtime loss to Atlanta in the NFC title game.
A 12-4 season came to a thudding halt with an overtime loss to New Orleans in the NFC title game.
I dare say if I promised you the Vikings would be in overtime of the NFC title game again this year, you'd take it.