The Minnesota Vikings are having a charmed season, which is relatively ironic considering the fact that the 2017-18 NFL season has been referred to as the “Cursed Season” by many media outlets, thanks to the rash of injuries that left many teams without their star player(s) this season. While the Vikings weren’t immune to that “curse” by any means, as they lost both their starting quarterback and running back before the first quarter of the season was over, they’ve stayed relatively healthy since (Nick Easton notwithstanding), at least in terms of not having a lot of players go on IR. Because of that (not solely, of course), they ended up with the second seed in the NFC (behind the Philadelphia Eagles, who were introduced to the curse in early December when their star quarterback/arguable NFL MVP Carson Wentz tore his ACL against the Rams) and are being talked about nationally as the team to beat in the NFC. That consensus has been validated by those in the betting industry, who have given the Vikings the best odds in the NFC to not only reach the Super Bowl (with NFL odds provided by William Hill) but to actually win it as well.
Beyond the odds provided by William Hill, other sites (and thus bookies) are giving the Vikes fairly great odds to reach/win the big game. Check out this chart that I snagged from CBSSports.com:
Super Bowl LII odds
|Team||Vegas SB odds||SB%||Vegas conference odds||CONF%|
|New England Patriots||2/1||31.55%||2/3||47.81%|
|New Orleans Saints||5/1||8.61%||11/4||13.30%|
|Los Angeles Rams||12/1||8.61%||5/1||18.02%|
|Kansas City Chiefs||20/1||7.39%||10/1||13.47%|
The Vikings have the second-best odds in the NFL to win the Super Bowl, behind only the New England Patriots who have 2/1 odds to win (these odds were posted yesterday and apparently there’s some sort of pending bombshell report coming out from ESPN that claims that there’s tension/a power struggle in New England between Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the owner of the team, Robert Kraft. Perhaps that’ll change the odds, but considering Brady’s familiarity with not only playing in the playoffs but winning in the playoffs, you’d think that if anything it’d provide him with the chip on his shoulder he needs to win yet another Super Bowl for Belichick and Kraft. The Vikings odds are 4/1, meaning that they have a 25% chance to win the Super Bowl (according to this chart).
The Vikes are followed by the Steelers (9/2) and the Saints, who have 5/1 odds of winning and 1/1 odds of cheating to do so. The article goes on to talk about the “Favorites”, and what a Super Bowl between the Vikings and Patriots (played at US Bank Stadium) would be like:
All roads to the Super Bowl go through Foxborough, so it’s only right that the Patriots should be favorites in the NFL. Although the Vikings could play a home Super Bowl if they make it, the Patriots have looked absurdly dominant as the season has progressed, and they’ve only gotten stronger. However, if Minnesota has anything to say about it, it won’t be an easy road. The defense is among the most stifling in the NFL, and Case Keenum has the Vikings winning games. If there’s one thing that we know about Super Bowl teams, it’s that a great defense tends to take teams a long way.
Now, I’ve made it fairly clear through my thousands of articles and hundreds of podcasts since purplePTSD.com launched in 2015 that I don’t watch a lot of other teams (especially teams in the AFC). I read about them and see their stuff on NFL Network or ESPN, but I don’t do deep dives into other teams unless they’re on the schedule to play the Vikes. That having been said, I do know that the Patriots have the 31st ranked defense in the league in terms of yards allowed, but somehow have held their opponents to under 20 points for most of the second half of the season. While that’s hard to reconcile, you’d think that the Vikings success in the red-zone this season would be the needle that’d pop the balloon that is the Patriots’ “bend-don’t-break” philosophy on defense. Also, I have to take issue with the above saying that the Vikings defense is “among the most stifling in the NFL”. The Vikings defense is the best in the league, full stop.
I know that a lot of you guys are nervous about the playoffs, as the Vikings have never been 13-3, have never had a team this balanced and thus we (as fans) have never really felt this confident (while still dealing with nagging doubt or fear) going into the playoffs. While I completely understand that, I’ve sort of reached an epiphany in the past few days when it comes to this team. A team that has lost one game since week 4 of the season, a game in which it was a perfect storm of mistakes that this team doesn’t typically make, so if it takes three out of character mistakes for a team to win at home by 7 points (after the Vikings came back and tied it with 2 minutes left) against the Vikings, then that loss was actually a good sign for the team moving forward. That epiphany is that this defense is just too good for me to get all worked up like I used to. They don’t fold, they don’t go into the prevent and allow teams to get momentum/back into the fray, the offense gets the job done and helps control the clock while also taking advantage of every opportunity they’re given (by scoring basically every time they reach the red-zone) and also applying the dagger to kill any hope when necessary. The team that can win three (or four) in a row, starting this weekend, will win the Vince Lombardy Trophy, and considering that the Vikings have gone 11-1 since week 5 of the season and their defense has seemingly gotten better and better in that period… You have to feel like this team is something special and most important something different than the other Vikings teams that we all got hyped up and scared about, simultaneously.
During that 11-1 streak, this Vikings team always forced their opponent to play THEIR game or to come to their level. They slow the game way down, they control the clock, they control the field position, they control basically everything. The Vikings have had multiple drives that ended up being over around 8-9 minutes, which keeps the defense off the field and fresh (and the other teams’ offense off the field, as well). So, while this offense has shown that it can light up another teams’ defense if necessary (and stage a comeback, as well), I expect this extremely well-coached team to go into the Divisional Round (regardless who they play) and use the crowd to their advantage. To get into a game like the Falcons game, where perhaps they win by 7-10 points, while completely dominating every stat in the game. That’s something that will perhaps bore some, but should really let us all take a deep breath and sigh of relief.
Face it. This team may be the best overall Vikings team that any Millenial reading this has seen. So, I see and talk to (thanks to our new Message Board!) a lot of fans who are extremely nervous about the upcoming playoffs and while I can relate to that I think we should not only be confident in this team but also attempt to enjoy these moments because as we’ve learned, even as Millenials, they don’t come around every year. If the national media and the oddsmakers in Vegas (or in the case of William Hill, the UK) are backing this team (which they NEVER do, unless Cris Carter is involved), then we should try to enjoy this time and also replace the anxiety with excitement.