On Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings became part of a select group of teams in NFL history. According to ESPN, there have been 120 teams that have started an NFL season with a 5-0 record.
With their loss to the Washington Redskins, the Vikings became the third of those 120 teams to follow their five season-opening wins with four consecutive losses. The other two teams that are next to the Vikings in the record books are the 1989 Los Angeles Rams and the 2009 New York Giants. Those teams wound up having two distinctly different seasons when they had those streaks.
The 1989 Rams fell to 5-4 after a 23-21 overtime loss at the Metrodome. If that sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because you’ve been reading the site for a while, because that was the game that gave us what might be the greatest post-game press conference ever.
(Yes, there’s never a bad time to post the Burnsie rant, but this time it’s relevant!)
Whatever happened to the Rams in that game, it apparently did something to spark them for the rest of their season. Following their loss to the Vikings, the Rams ran off four consecutive victories and ultimately ended their season at 11-5. They wound up making it all the way to the NFC Championship game, where they got drubbed by the San Francisco 49ers.
The 2009 Giants, on the other hand, were not nearly as fortunate. They went on their bye week after their fourth consecutive loss, and wound up alternating wins and losses over their next five games to get themselves to 8-6 and into playoff contention in the season’s final two weeks. They then proceeded to lose those final two games by a combined score of 85-16 (including a 44-7 thumping at the Metrodome in their season finale) to finish 8-8 and out of the playoffs.
Both the ‘89 Rams and the ‘09 Giants managed to halt their losing streaks at four games. That means that, if the Vikings manage to lose to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon at U.S. Bank Stadium, they’ll become the first team in NFL history to follow a season-starting five-game winning streak with a five-game losing streak. The Cardinals went to the NFC Championship Game last season, but have had numerous issues of their own this season as they come into this one with a 4-4-1 record.
Hopefully the Vikings can follow in the footsteps of the two teams they joined in NFL history on Sunday afternoon and put an end to this losing streak they’re currently on.