There have been several surprises to start this 2013 NFL season, including early season performances from teams who were predicted to perform opposite to how they have been doing thus far. Some teams have shocked the world, like the Miami Dolphins, who have bucked expectations and disappointed with a 2-0 start.
Other teams, like the Minnesota Vikings, have surprised many by joining the pantheon of clubs who hold the exclusive distinction of not yet blemishing their early season record with a win.
Yes, throughout the first two weeks of the season, the Vikings have surprised many people who thought they would start with a win or two, and have somehow managed to stave off victory even when it looked imminent. The Vikings were able to perform as expected against a mediocre Lions team in week one, losing that game soundly, and had to allow an all-time great collapse in order to keep their record clean of wins against Chicago in week two. While it was certainly nerve wracking, this young team is showing the wherewithal to fans that, yes, they can accomplish their goals.
The Vikings join an exclusive list of teams to already be eliminated from the playoffs based on historical precedent. Since 1990, teams who have started the season 0-2 have essentially a 12% chance of making the playoffs, meaning the Vikings are certainly in an uphill climb with other 0-2 distinct clubs like the Redskins, Browns, Panthers, and others. In fact, only 8 total teams of the 32 team NFL are special enough this year to start 0-2, making the Vikings a part of an elite 25% of the league.
That number will dwindle this weekend as well, as Vikings fans will be treated to an early season slug fest between two pillow humpers as the Browns visit Minneapolis. These two listless squads apparently have already seen the value of fighting for 2014 draft position, and will be playing this game accordingly. The Browns will likely be sitting starting quarterback Brandon Weeden in an effort to reduce the effectiveness of their offense against a horrific Vikings defense, a classic case of playing down to your competition to achieve your goals. The Vikings of course will continue with what has gotten them this far, by starting quarterback Christian Ponder and just letting him play his game. The big question becomes; which strategy will be most effective in leading their team to a perfect winless record?
By the end of week three in the NFL we'll have a better idea just how terribly elite this year's Vikings team is, but if early indications account for anything, we can conclude that they are indeed awful. Just as they planned it all along.