This past season, a lot of the Really Smart Football People™ out there made a pretty big deal about the Minnesota Vikings finishing the season with a record of 13-4 despite being outscored by their opponents on the season. The Vikings scored 424 points during the season while allowing 427, giving them a scoring margin of -3.
The record is even more impressive when you take into consideration the way the offense looked, for the most part, in the first three quarters most weeks, as this stat from Warren Sharp illustrates.
this stat is INSANE— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) June 5, 2023
the 13-4 Vikings became the first team since at least 1990 to win double digit games despite trailing by over 70 combined points entering the 4th quarter
Minnesota lost the first 3 quarters by a combined 87 points in 2022, yet went 13-4 on the season https://t.co/qkCwZhN6uD
If you were to just take into account the first three quarters of each game, the 2022 Vikings got outscored by 87 points. That means that, in the fourth quarter, the Vikings outscored their opponents by 84 points.
I’m not sure if that’s an NFL record or anything, but it’s gotta be pretty close, I would think.
Here’s how the Vikings fared in the fourth quarter of each game in 2022:
- Week 1: Vikings 3, Packers 0 (23-7 victory)
- Week 2: Vikings 0, Eagles 0 (24-7 loss)
- Week 3: Vikings 14, Lions 0 (28-24 victory)
- Week 4: Vikings 12, Saints 11 (28-25 victory)
- Week 5: Vikings 8, Bears 3 (29-22 victory)
- Week 6: Vikings 14, Dolphins 13 (24-16 victory)
- Week 8: Vikings 6, Cardinals 3 (34-26 victory)
- Week 9: Vikings 13, Commanders 7 (20-17 victory)
- Week 10: Vikings 16, Bills 3 (33-30 victory, includes OT)
- Week 11: Cowboys 3, Vikings 0 (40-3 loss)
- Week 12: Vikings 10, Patriots 0 (33-26 victory)
- Week 13: Jets 10, Vikings 7 (27-22 victory)
- Week 14: Lions 13, Vikings 10 (34-23 loss)
- Week 15: Vikings 25, Colts 0 (39-36 victory, includes OT)
- Week 16: Vikings 17, Giants 11 (27-24 victory)
- Week 17: Vikings 14, Packers 14 (41-17 loss)
- Week 18: Vikings 6, Bears 0 (29-13 win)
The Vikings won the fourth quarter in 12 of their 17 games in 2022 (and had two fourth quarters that were tied). If you add up all of the numbers, the Vikings scored 175 points in the fourth quarter this past season while allowing 91. Sure, their losses were ugly, but for the most part the Vikings were, as Kevin O’Connell emphasized on several occasions, at their best when they needed to be at their best.
After getting outscored 336 - 249 in the first three quarters. . .an average score of 19.8 to 14.6 each week. . .they needed to do that if they wanted to win football games.
I’m not sure if this sort of thing would be sustainable. . .in fact, I’m pretty sure that it wouldn’t be. But, hopefully, if the Vikings can get some solid improvement on the defensive side of the ball they can be a little more comfortable heading into the fourth quarter each week and not give us all heart attacks like they did this past season.