FanPost

The 2017 Vikings are not overrated, nor was their schedule weak

I keep hearing that the 2017 team was overrated and our schedule weak, and I think the record needs to be set straight.

The overall record of our opponents by the end of the 2017 regular season was 126 wins and 130 losses, a .492 record. However, that number is totally skewed by the presence of the 0-16 Cleveland Browns on our ledger. Without the Browns, the record of our opponents in the other 15 games that year was 126-114, or .525. Here's our record against our opponents, broken down by teams with winning records, teams with 7-9 records (losing teams, but respectable, not abject, losers), and teams with 5-11 records (not quite the bottom of the barrel, but getting there) and an 0-16 record (you know who).

Games against opponents with winning records: 8 (5-3)

-- 13-3 Steelers, L by 17 points

-- 11-5 Saints, W by 10 points

-- 11-5 Panthers, L by 7 points

-- 11-5 Rams, W by 17 points

-- 10-6 Falcons, W by 5 points

-- 9-7 Ravens, W by 8 points

-- 9-7 Lions, L by 7 points

-- 9-7 Lions, W by 7 points

[Note: The first five teams listed made the playoffs, and we were 3-2 against them.]

Games against opponents with 7-9 records: 4 (4-0)

-- 7-9 Bengals, W by 27 points

-- 7-9 Red****, W by 8 points

-- 7-9 Packers, W by 13 points

-- 7-9 Packers, W by 16 points

Games against opponents with 5-11 or 0-16 records: 4 (4-0)

-- 5-11 Buccaneers, W by 17 points

-- 5-11 Bears, W by 3 points

-- 5-11 Bears, W by 13 points

-- 0-16 Browns, W by 17 points

A manager of the New York Yankees back in their perennial champions days - it might have been Casey Stengel - once said something along the lines of winning teams have to beat up on the losing teams because they can usually only go .500 against the other winning teams. Well, the 2017 Vikings not only mostly beat up the losing teams, with six out of eight victories by at least 13 points, but also went 5-3, .625, against the winning teams, and 3-2, .600, against the playoff bound squads. And they did so with a career back-up quarterback having the season of his life, a solid but unspectacular running game after the loss of rookie sensation Dalvin Cook, a good but not even very good offensive line, and an offense that had to score almost all of the team's points because the defense and special teams only contributed one touchdown all season, instead of the seven they scored in 2016.

All winning teams get lucky to a degree, but the 2017 Vikings were not a mirage, nor where they a 10-6 team that lucked into a 13-3 record. Their major stroke of luck was the good health of the team's defense, which led the league in the fewest adjusted games lost to injury (three by our top six defensive linemen, none by our top four linebackers, two by our top four corners and three by our top three safeties) and helped us to have, at the least, one of the two best defenses in the league (a top five D for five straight yards in points or yards, or both). Unlike the defense, our top 10 scoring offense was missing its best QB and RB, while the offensive line featured four new starters who missed a combined 12 games with injuries, and their one holdover starter was playing a different position from the one he played most of the previous season.

The 2017 Vikings were an excellent team, and a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.