Vikings have been named Champions of Heartbreak by Football Outsiders

We know the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League have never climbed to the top of the mountain. (Yes, we know they won the NFL championship in 1969, but no one really counts that.) We also know they’ve come close more times than we can count. . .or more often than we’d like to experience again.

However, the folks at Football Outsiders summed up just how heartbreaking this team has been for its fan base over the years when they declared the Vikings franchise the “Champions of Heartbreak” from 1966-1980 for consistently being good but never winning Size.


Here you can read the methodology FO used in creating their rankings. . .it’s quite extensive and I don’t want to sign the whole thing here. To recap, it has three parts: win-loss records, playoff runs and the Football Outsiders DVOA rankings. The summary of the Vikings from 1966 to 1980 reads as follows:

Their DVOA and regular season records are more than enough to earn them a top-five spot on this countdown, but it’s a decade of failures and playoff flops that make them legends. The Minnesota Vikings are your heartbreak kings; We may never see such a good team fall short so often again.

No, we probably won’t. . .especially not in the salary cap era where teams never seem to be that bad for so long, with a few rare exceptions.

Unfortunately, this era of Viking football wasn’t even the only one to make the Football Outsiders list. The Vikings from 1986 to 2000 are Also there, and even crack the top 10. More so than any part of the earlier group we’ve shown you, there’s one paragraph in that description that basically sums up all Minnesota Vikings football:

Other franchises will claim they’re the most tormented in NFL history — and you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out who finishes at No. 1 — but the Vikings are hands-down, hands-down, and undeniably the most broken team in the NFL NFL. They have played 61 NFL seasons. In 30 of those seasons, they were in the midst of an all-time top 10 heartbreak dynasty. And that’s before you factor in some of their minor pain periods — both the 2003-2009 Tice/Childres teams and the 2015-2019 Zimmer era end up with more than 300 heartbreak points themselves. Add years like that, and more than two-thirds of Minnesota’s seasons have been part of an era of disappointment. Long live the king.

Yes. . .this is us. Getting kicked in the groin more times than anyone before explaining it could have been worse.

All of this gives us hope that one day our favorite football team can stop appearing at or near the top of lists like this one and lift the big silver trophy aloft. Until then, however, this is the legacy of the Vikings. We hope that will change sooner rather than later.

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