The Minnesota Vikings have been a part of the National Football League for 61 seasons, 55 of which have come in the Super Bowl era. As fans of the franchise, we’re well-acquainted with all of the times that they’ve come close to getting the big prize, but they’ve never actually gotten there.
Even without hoisting the big prize, however, it’s tough to argue that the Vikings haven’t been a successful franchise over the years.
Over at The Athletic, Bob Sturm has updated his Super Bowl-era franchise rankings, racking and stacking all 32 teams over the course of their history. His rankings are based on a system of point values, including 11 points for a Super Bowl win, 5 points for a Super Bowl loss, 3 points for losing a conference championship game, and 1 point for a playoff appearance.
When all of the numbers were crunched, the Vikings checked in at #12 in Sturm’s rankings. Their 30 playoff appearances, six “final fours,” and four Super Bowl losses add up to a total of 58 points, tied with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams and by far the highest-ranked team without a championship.
Sturm’s commentary on the Vikings makes several interesting points:
The Vikings remain an amazing study, as they have never been a bad franchise for an extended period of time. They have always been competitive, but they have never won the big prize, and their fans seem pretty haunted by it. Only two franchises (Pittsburgh and Dallas) have been to the playoffs more than the Vikings, but every single team above 58 points in these standings has won at least two Super Bowls. You could argue the Vikings are among the most accomplished and consistent franchises in NFL history, but never winning it all keeps them from getting their due here. They have not made the postseason in back-to-back years in over a decade.
He’s right. . .the Vikings have never had an extended period of being “down.” Even in the two years in my fandom where they were awful, 1984 and 2011, they were back in the postseason mix within a year or two.
Sturm also points out the Vikings’ level of accomplishment and consistency. I’ll take it a step further and say that the Vikings are, by some distance, the most successful franchise in all of professional sports to never bring home their sport’s biggest prize. Honestly. . .who in the NBA, NHL, or Major League Baseball is close? We know nobody in the NFL is close, but I don’t think any other franchise in sports anywhere can top the Vikings’ claim to that spot.
The Vikings are going to win one. . .eventually. When? I don’t know. But, for now, at least it’s nice that they’re pretty consistently good, I suppose. That’s not good enough, mind you, but at least it’s something.