Does recent history say Vikings are Super Bowl bound?

Minnesota Vikings (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Minnesota Vikings (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

So much for late-season momentum? There has been a recent trend regarding conference champions. And that could mean big things for the Minnesota Vikings.

It’s a franchise that was born out of expansion in 1961 and has certainly made its mark in more ways than one when it comes to NFL history. But there has also been a downside to the Minnesota Vikings. No organization has lost more postseason games than the club from the Twin Cities. The Vikings are also one of two teams –along with the Buffalo Bills – that have gone to four Super Bowls and failed to come away with a victory.

Buffalo’s futility came in four straight years from 1990-93. The Vikings lost Super Bowl IV to the Kansas City Chiefs in 1969, then came back-to-back Super Sunday setbacks (VIII and IX) to the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers in 1973 and ’74. Two years later, the club was rolled by the then-Oakland Raiders (XI) in 1976. But the Purple Gang, despite numerous appearances in the conference title game, have not been back to the Super Bowl.

But who’s to say that this is not their year? Especially with the recent trend that has seen teams rebound from disappointing years to suit up on Super Sunday.

In six of the past seven seasons, a team has gone from a non-winning season to playing in the Super Bowl. The recent trend began with the Carolina Panthers, who finished 15-1 after going 7-8-1 (albeit winning the NFC South) and went to Super Bowl 50. A year later, the Atlanta Falcons went to Super Bowl LI with an 11-5 mark after Dan Quinn’s club went 8-8 in 2015. The following season, the Philadelphia Eagles finished 13-3 and won Super Bowl LII.

Now look at the last three seasons. The San Francisco 49ers went from 4-12 to 13-3 and made an appearance in Super Bowl LIV. A year later, the wild card Tampa Bay Buccaneers won Super Bowl LV a season after finishing 7-9. And the Cincinnati Bengals bounced back from a 4-11-1 showing in 2020 to reach Super Bowl LVI.

The Vikings have posted consecutive losing seasons and come off an 8-9 finish in 2021. There’s a new head coach in Kevin O’Connell and a new defensive coordinator in Ed Donatell. This was a team that was in its share of close games. And it’s worth noting that the team scored 425 points and allowed 426 points.

There’s a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. Could all those narrow setbacks turn into wins in 2022? And could the Vikings be this year’s version of the 2019 Niners, 2020 Bucs or 2021 Bengals?