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Schnepf: This season could be worst Vikings campaign ever


In what could very well become the worst season in the 52-year history of Minnesota Vikings football, I will try to pick out some positives for all of you purple-jersey wearing followers who watched your team get embarrassed on prime-time television for the second straight week.

Forget the fact that the Green Bay Packers handed your Vikings a 44-31 loss.

Yes, you may have been tossing your bean dip at the TV when you saw the Vikings defense’s inability to stop the Packers on third down. But you could be thankful the defense was on the field and Christian Ponder was not.

You may have been yearning for Brett Favre’s return, maybe even Tommy Kramer’s return. But Ponder was able to get the ball to Adrian Peterson, who mysteriously had only 12 touches last week.

You may have been yearning for Bud Grant’s coaching return. But Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier looked cool by never losing his cool.

You may have been cursing Aaron Rodgers for throwing one strike after another by the earholes of Vikings defenders. But you didn’t have to because you now have Greg Jennings on your team to throw insults at Rodgers.

You may have been lamenting the injuries that have limited the Vikings defense. But you should have been thankful an injury kept Josh Freeman on the sidelines instead of watching him chuck 53 passes without a touchdown.

You may have cringed when NBC sports showed aerial shots of Target Field, home of a Minnesota Twins baseball team that has become accustomed to losing as much as the Vikings. But you could take comfort in the fact that the Packers will never win another game in the Metrodome.

That’s because the bubble built for the Vikings is scheduled for demolition once this season comes to an end. And the end can’t come soon enough.

Now with a 1-6 record, the Vikings are on their way to their 16th losing season since becoming an NFL franchise in 1961. They will end up far short of their 28th playoff appearance, way short of their eighth NFC title appearance and light years away from their fifth Super Bowl appearance.

Instead, these Vikings are on their way to posting their worst record ever.

They went 3-11 and 2-11-1 in 1961 and 1962. But we’ll give them a pass on those first two years after expansion.

They went 3-8-3 in 1967. But that was Bud Grant’s first season with a team of newcomers like Joe Kapp, Dave Osborn and Bill Brown.

They went 5-11 in 2001 when Dennis Green was eventually fired and replaced by … Mike Tice. They went 3-13 in 2011 when the quarterback pickup of an aging Donovan McNabb was a bust.

But perhaps the worst season came in 1984, when the Bible-thumping, Marine-barking Les Steckel took over for the legendary Bud Grant. The boot camp approach did not work. Steckel, who was recently named the third-worst head coach in modern NFL history, was replaced by … Bud Grant.

Much like the inefficiency of this year’s Vikings defense, the 1984 team gave up 484 points – the most by an NFC team from 1983 to 2000. The Vikings lost their last six games that year by an average of 27 points.

History could repeat itself this season. Just take a look at the Vikings schedule.

At Dallas? Loss. Host Washington? Loss. At Seattle? Loss. At Green Bay? Loss. Host Chicago? Loss if Jay Cutler plays. At Baltimore? Loss.

Host Philadelphia? This might be the Vikings’ second win. At Cincinnati? Loss to Andy Dalton, a quarterback who threw for five touchdowns Sunday and a quarterback who the Vikings could’ve drafted instead of Ponder. Host Detroit? Loss.

So as you Vikings fans brace yourself for the possibility of a 1-15 season, take a look on the bright side.

There’s always the NFL Draft to look forward to. Maybe, just maybe, the Vikings will find a quarterback who can see the field, a quarterback who can spot a secondary receiver, a quarterback who can throw downfield or a quarterback who isn’t nearing retirement.

Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549 or Schnepf’s NDSU media blog can be found


Kevin Schnepf
Kevin Schnepf is the sports editor for The Forum. He has been working at The Forum since 1986.
(701) 241-5549