Minnesota Vikings: 0-2 Been There Before! How The Past Nine Teams Have Fared.
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This is the fiftieth year of professional football in Minnesota.
This is not the first time the Vikings have opened 0-2.
Looking back over the history of the Vikings, 2010 is the tenth time the team has started the season with consecutive losses.
In fact it is not even the first time head coach Brad Childress has started 0-2.
The previous nine teams ended the season with an average of 5.8 wins. Only twice has the team finished with a winning record and only one of those made the playoffs.
In his first two games Brett Favre is 37 of 63 for 363 yards for only one touchdown and four interceptions.
This results in a measly 56.1 quarterback rating, almost half of his rating of 107.2 from 2009.
Here's a look back in chronological order for the previous nine 0-2 seasons and how those teams finished, and the performance of the starting quarterbacks after two games.
Can the Vikings resurrect their season and still defend their division title?
Will Favre turnaround his performance to lead the team to the Super Bowl?
Past performances are not favorable.
Remember though, past performance is not an indicator of future gains (or losses).
1962 Vikings—2-11-1: Fran Tarkenton and The Second Year Of Vikings' Football.
1962 was Fran Tarkenington's second year in the NFL.
The Vikings, under the direction of their first head coach Norm Van Brocklin started the season 0-5 before capturing back-to-back wins over the Los Angeles Rams (1-12-1) and the Philadelphia Eagles (3-10-1).
They would finish the season at 2-11-1.
Second year quarterback Fran Tarkenton, a Hall of Fame QB, would face another two Hall of Fame quarterbacks to start the season.
In week one the Vikings would lose to Bart Starr and the Green Bay Packers 34-7.
In week two, they would lose by the same score to Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts.
In his first two games combined, Tarkenton would complete 26 of 54 passes for 299 yards, for one touchdown and six interceptions.
His quarterback rating for the first two games: 31.9
1965 Vikings—7-7: A Slight Improvement.
Running back Bill Brown led the 1965 Vikings with 699 yards rushing.
This would be the fifth NFL season for 25 year-old Fran Tarkenton.
In the season opener there would be another match up against Johnny Unitas, and another lopsided loss, 35-16 in Baltimore to the Colts.
This would be followed by a much closer 31-29 loss to the Detroit Lions at home. A game in which Tarkenton would only complete nine passes.
In the opening two games of the season, Tarkenton would go 19 of 46 for 345 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, resulting in a 55.1 QB rating.
Very close to that of Brett Favre's start to the 2010 season.
Tarkenton would start all 14 games, finishing with 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His final rating would be 83.8.
Running back Bill Brown would lead the Vikings with six rushing touchdowns and 699 yards rushing.
Tarkenton's wide receiver tandem of Paul Flatley and Red Phillips would combine for only 65 receptions for 1081 yards and only eight touchdowns.
Let's hope this is not an omen of things to come in 2010!
1967 Vikings—3-8-3: Start Of The Bud Grant Era.
Bud Gant would lead the Vikings to four Super Bowls.
The Bud Grant era for the Minnesota Vikings would start with a change in quarterback.
After Trading Fran Tarkenton to the New York Giants, the 1967 season would open with Tarkenton's backup the past five seasons, Ron Vander Kelen.
After one game, Vander Kelen would be replaced by twenty-nine year old rookie Joe Kapp, an eight year veteran of the Canadian Football League.
Grant would open the season with four straight losses as the Vikings would finish with a 3-8-3 record.
In the first two games Kapp and Vander Kelen would combine for 344 yards on 26 of 54 with one touchdown pass and four interceptions.
This would result in a 44.0 quarterback rating.
Paul Flatley and Red Phillips would still be the wide-receiver tandem. Combined they would only catch 44 passes for 584 yards and three touchdowns.
1981 Vikings 7-9: Fourteen Years Between 0-2 Starts.
It would be 14 years between 0-2 starts for Bud Grant and the Vikings.
The 1981 Vikings would finish the season 7-9, only the third losing season for Grant who would go 135-67 from 1968 to 1981.
This would be quarterback Tommy Kramer's fifth year with the Vikings and his third as the starter.
However, due to injury, back-up Steve Dils would open the season and start the first two games for Kramer.
The Vikings would lose at Tampa Bay 21-13 to open the season, then lose the home opener 36-10 to the Oakland Raiders.
Dils' combined stats for the the two games: 54 of 102 for 607 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
A quarterback rating of 66.1, better than Favre's rating to start the 2010 season by 10 points.
The Vikings would have a good complement of players on offense with wide receivers Ahmad Rashad and Sammy White, tight end Joe Sensor and running back Ted Brown.
Rashad and White would combine for 124 catches for 1885 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Sensor would haul in another 79 catches and 10 touchdowns, and Brown would run for 1,003 yards and six touchdowns.
However the cast was good enough to avoid a losing season.
1984 Vikings 3-13: The Les Steckel Debacle.
After one season Les Steckel was fired.
After an 8-8 season in 1983, Bud Grant would retire from coaching the Vikings.
Les Steckel, who had been the Vikings' receiver coach since 1979 was promoted to replace Grant.
Steckel, who stressed discipline, would start the season 0-2 and finish it losing 11 of 12 games to finish 3-13.
For quarterback Tommy Kramer this was his sixth year as the starting quarterback.
The Vikings would open the season with a 42-13 loss to the San Diego Chargers, and then a 19-17 loss at Philadelphia.
Kramer would complete 22 of 50 passes for zero touchdowns and four interceptions resulting in a miserable 22.5 quarterback rating.
This was a terrible start to a terrible season.
Leo Lewis would lead all receivers with 47 catches for 830 yards and four touchdowns.
Steckel would be fired at the end of the season and Grant would return for one more season in 1985.
2001 Vikings 5-11: Seventeen Year Later—The End Of The Dennis Green Era.
After leaving the Vikings Dennis Green would coach the Arizona Cardinals.
The Vikings would win at least one of their first two games in each of the next 16 seasons.
Ten of them would be under the direction of head coach Dennis Green.
Green would lead the Vikings to eight playoff appearances in 10 years.
Green's 97 coaching victories is second only to Bud Grant's 158 wins.
2001 was Green's last year with the Vikings. He would be fired after 15 games and Mike Tice would take over as head coach.
Green would lead the Vikings to the playoffs winning the NFC North in 2000.
They would suffer one of their most embarrassing losses in franchise history, with a 41-0 shutout at the hands of the New York Giants in NFC title game.
The bad karma of this game carried over to the 2001 season.
The Vikings would open the season with a loss at home to the Carolina Panthers and against the Bears in Chicago on their way to a disappointing 5-11 record. The worst record since Steckel's 1984 season.
This would Daunte Culpepper's second year as the starter.
He would open the season the season 46 of 74 for 469 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. His QB rating was a respectable 72.4.
Culpepper would not finish the season due to injury and the Vikings would try both Todd Bouman and Spergon Wynn, who would combine for a 1-5 record.
This was wide receiver Cris Carter's last season with the Vikings. Teaming up with Randy Moss, this tandem would combine for 155 catches, 2104 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns.
Certianly the failure of the 2001 Vikings was not due to the receiving corp.
2002 Vikings 6-10: A Small Improvement In The Mike Tice's First Year
Former Vikings' head coach is now coaching the Chicago Bears' offensive line.
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In Mike Tice's first full year as the head coach of the Vikings there would only be a one game turnaround.
The Vikings would open the season with four losses.
The first two a 27-23 loss at Chicago and a wild 45-39 overtime loss to Buffalo at home.
Daunte Culpepper would start all 16 games and finish the season with 18 touchdowns and 23 interceptions.
In the first two games Culpepper would play well completing 41 of 73 passes for 515 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
His rating in the first two games would be 85.1.
His main target would be Randy Moss who would catch 106 receptions for 1347 yards, but only seven touchdowns.
On the other side of the ball, the Vikings' scoring defense finished thirtieth out of 32 teams.
This shows that decent quarterback play can be wiped out with a poor defense.
The 2010 Vikings' defense has looked solid, yielding only 29 points in two games.
2005 Vikings 9-7: The Return Of Brad Johnson, A Winning Record But No Playoffs.
Brad Johnson would go 7-2 as the Vikings' QB in 2005.
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This would be Mike Tice's fourth and final season as the Vikings' Coach.
The Vikings would open the season 0-2 and a 2-6 first half.
They would win six straight the second half of the season, but their 9-7 record would not be enough to make the playoffs.
Daunte Culpepper would open the season as the starter, but by the eighth game would lose his starting job. This would be his last season with the Vikings.
In the first two games Culpepper would complete 43 of 70 passes for 469 yards, with eight interceptions and no touchdowns. His QB rating would be a lowly 41.6.
Culpepper would rebound in the third game going 21 of 29 for 300 yards and three touchdowns—a 140 QB rating.
Could there be a similar performance awaiting Brett Favre against the Detroit Lions?
2005 would also mark the return of Superbowl winning quarterback Brad Johnson.
Johnson would take over in the eighth game and lead the Vikings to a 7-2 record.
Wide receiver Travis Taylor would lead the Vikings with 50 receptions, 604 yards, while Marcus Robinson would lead the receiver corp with five touchdowns.
2008 Vikings 10-6: Brad Childress Leads The Vikings To The NFC North Title!
Brad Childress is the only Vikings Coach to recover from an 0-2 start to make the playoffs.
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In Brad Childress' third year as head coach he would find himself down 0-2.
He would bench starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson in favor of journeyman quarterback Gus Frerotte.
Jackson would eventually regain the starting job taking the Vikings to an NFC North division title and a home playoff game.
The Vikings would drop the season opener 24-19 at rival Green Bay, and than at home, 18-15 to the Colts in a game where the Vikings failed to score a touchdown.
In the first two games Jackson completed 30 of 59 passes for 308 yards with one touchdown and one interception. His QB rating would be 64.8, better than Brett Favre's 56.1 rating to open this season.
Childress favored Jackson over Sage Rosenfels as Favre's back up, but don't expect a change in quarterback this season.
The Vikings wide receiving corp consisted of Bobby Wade, Bernard Berrian and Sidney Rice.
Wade would lead the Vikings with 53 receptions, followed by Berrian with 48. The second year Rice would only catch 15 passes in 13 games.
Can Brad Childress repeat the feat of 2008?
Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty—A Loss To The Detroit Lions Would Be Devastating!
Percy Harvin and the Vikings must get a win against the Detroit Lions.
The Vikings cannot afford to lose three games to open the season if they have any hopes of making the playoffs.
If Favre can knock off the rust and if someone, anyone can step up and help Adrian Peterson carry the Vikings' offense there is still hope for the 2010 season.
Past performance has shown 10 wins to be the best an 0-2 Vikings team has achieved.
There's still time for the magic to return, but if better happen quickly before the Vikings' defense loses its confidence in Favre and the offense.