Defense wins championships.
If you're a Vikings fan, that's only the first part of the mantra. The second part would be "but not for us."
Despite having one of the NFL's best defenses of the 1970s (and perhaps ever), the Minnesota Vikings managed to make four Super Bowl appearances only to lose them all in that decade.
The good defense continued even with Jerry Burns in the mid to late 80s. And Dennis Green had an occasionally respectable defense to go along with good offenses in the 1990s. But still no rings to show for them. In fact, Green didn't even achieve a Super Bowl loss, but I don't have to tell Vikings fans that.
But now, with a run defense that is the envy of the league and a pass defense that at least doesn't allow the points (although they are currently in the middle of the pack for yardage allowed), it would seem that the Minnesota Vikings have what it takes to win a championship in today's league.
Some fans would argue that Minnesota won't win a championship until they have a franchise QB—and I would be one of them—but for now, I'll play devil's advocate and try to argue that it really isn't necessary (boy, this is going to be tough).
Let's look first at the most recent champions, the Pittsburgh Steelers. While Ben Roethlisberger is considered a franchise quarterback, and he obviously is very talented, realistically, you have to place the winning on his raw playmaking ability rather than jaw-dropping stat line.
When he won his first ring in his second season, he had a respectable 63 completion percentage, 2,385 yards, 17 TDs, and nine INTs. Not bad for sure, but not incredible either. A few months ago, he got his second ring after a worse season by most accounts: 60 percent, 3301 yards, 17 TDs, and 15 INTs.
In fact, after his best statistical season in 2007, the Steelers lost to the Jaguars in the first round of the playoffs. Of course, they had just hired a rookie head coach of questionable importance and little experience, but I digress.
So one has to ask themselves, don't the Vikings have a quarterback who can duplicate those numbers? Surely we do.
Not only do we assume we might have that, but the other important factors for being a winner seem to be a solid running game and a good defense. Obviously, we can handle that, too.
Recent history shows us that the Super Bowl isn't necessarily won by the team with the best defense. Sometimes the offense has its day, as when the Colts beat the Bears, and maybe in all of New England's wins.
Maybe it's just balance that the Vikings lack to reach the ultimate prize. After all, it's not points scored that gives us the best teams year in and year out, it's point differential.
The Vikings had a respectable +46 last season and +54 in the previous year, which were improvements after an abysmal -45 got them a 6-10 record in Childress' first season. Maybe with (hopefully) far less fumbles from Peterson, and less interceptions from the passing game, that number will climb again.
And that concludes this rare glimpse into the optimistic side of myself. I guess you can rest your hat on "we're better than some, we're worse than some." But you've got to love our chances, right?
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!