Back in November, following the Minnesota Vikings’ 40-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, I wrote an article about how Jim Nantz, the top play-by-play announcer for the NFL on CBS, was a curse to the Vikings. The Vikings had lost seven straight games Nantz had called and had not won a Nantz-called game since 2013 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Yesterday, the Vikings got hammered by the arch-nemesis Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field by a final score of 41-17. Who was on the call? You guessed it, the great Jim Nantz! The Vikings’ losing streak in Nantz-called games has now extended to eight, and this includes four consecutive blowout losses.
Despite him seemingly laying a curse on our favorite purple team, Nantz was not the primary reason for yesterday’s loss. The Packers’ Keisean Nixon ran back a kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, which set the tone for the day. Kirk Cousins, who normally plays very well against the Packers, did not have a good game at all. In fact, Cousins had arguably his worst game of the year, going 18-of-31 for 205 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. One of these interceptions was a 75-yard pick-six to safety Darnell Savage that gave the Packers a 14-3 lead despite both teams combining for one first down at that point in the game. The other two interceptions thrown by Cousins led to 14 points for the Packers. So in total, Cousins gave the Packers 21 points during the game.
In addition to Cousins’ struggles, Greg Joseph missed two field goals in the first half that took six points off the board for the Vikings. These were Joseph’s first misses since Week 8 against the Arizona Cardinals, and the Packers capitalized on his bad day by turning his misses into two field goals of their own. To top it all off, the Vikings lost two starting offensive lineman, center Austin Schlottmann and right tackle Brian O’Neill, to injury during the game. Their backups, Chris Reed and Oli Udoh, did not have great games, allowing multiple pressures and sacks as they found themselves consistently getting bull-rushed by Packers pass rushers.
Even more bad news for the Vikings’ offensive line is that Reed and Udoh could find themselves starting more games soon. Schlottmann is out for the year as it was determined that he suffered a fractured left fibula, and O’Neill is getting an MRI done on what was revealed to be a calf injury. Given how close the calf is to the Achilles tendon, don’t be surprised if O’Neill sits out for potentially the remainder of the season. Starting center Garrett Bradbury is still not fully recovered from that back injury he sustained, so his return is sorely needed by this team.
Everything that went wrong for the Vikings went wrong during this game, as is typical during Nantz-called games that the Vikings are involved in. Read my previous article, Jim Nantz: The Broadcaster Who Curses The Vikings, to see just how badly this team performs when he is calling our games.
If there is a silver lining to this disaster, it is CBS hopefully not sending Nantz to call more Vikings games for the foreseeable future. This year, the Vikings drew CBS’ top play-by-play announcing team of Nantz and Tony Romo twice, and they were outscored by a total of 81-20 for a point differential of minus-61. Maybe for the future, CBS will send play by announcers such as Ian Eagle, Greg Gumbel, or Kevin Harlan to call Vikings games. The team typically wins more when one of those three are calling the game.
Since 2010, when the Vikings play on CBS, they are 4-1 when Eagle calls the game, 6-1 when Gumbel calls the game, and 4-5 when Harlan calls the game. In fact, the Vikings’ win over the Jets earlier this year was on CBS, and was an Eagle-announced game. Hopefully we got more of those games instead of Nantz-called games.