With the conclusion of Super Bowl LVII, fans are reflecting on their team’s seasons. Some fans are satisfied with the season’s results, but usually a majority believe their teams could have and should have done better. For the lucky few who qualify for the postseason, the only options are a Super Bowl victory or massive disappointment.
Fans of the purple and gold are no strangers to heartbreak. Even newer “skoldiers” who have followed the team for just a short while have witnessed Minnesota letdowns when it counts.
To go through every chapter of playoff failure in team history would be a tough and depressing task, so ranking the top five in recent memory will be the goal here.
5. Vikings at 49ers, 2019 NFC Divisional
Just a week after an overtime win in New Orleans as nine-point underdogs, the Minnesota Vikings went into San Francisco looking to ride their momentum to a victory. However, what many fans expected to be the case ended up being accurate. Minnesota from the jump looked inferior to the eventual NFC champions. After a 7-7 game early in the first quarter, San Francisco proceeded to go on a 20-3 scoring run to win 27-10. Vikings QB Kirk Cousins was sacked six times against a defensive front that featured Nick Bosa, Deforest Buckner and Arik Armstead. Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook had just 18 yards on nine carries, rendering the ground game essentially useless. The game had the potential to be a continuation of a Cinderella story but ended up in disappointment.
4. Vikings vs. Giants, 2022 NFC Wild Card
The most recent game on this list, the bitter taste of the game still lingers for many. Just last month, the No. 3 seed Vikings hosted the No. 6 seed Giants in a game many experts had as a tossup. Minnesota had beaten New York at their place just a few weeks prior, so there seemed to be no problem for the team. After the first quarter, it was abundantly clear the defenses were atrocious. Minnesota’s defense had been bad all year, but ending the game allowing 78 rushing yards and 301 passing yards from Giants QB Daniel Jones was a new low. Although he had one of his best games all season, Kirk Cousins threw a three-yard pass on a crucial 4th down and 8, which for many fans canceled out his solid performance throughout the game. After being called frauds for much of the season, the Vikings did not do much to disprove it.
3. Vikings at Eagles, 2017 NFC Championship
In arguably Minnesota’s biggest game of the decade, Case Keenum led the team onto the field to take on Nick Foles’ Eagles in one of the strangest conference championship QB battles in the past decade. The Vikings got off to a 7-0 lead after their first drive, a start that seemed to promise a good game for the team. Unfortunately for Minnesota, it was about all they could celebrate. Philadelphia proceeded to score 38 straight points, resulting in a 38-7 win to advance to the Super Bowl, which they would end up winning against the New England Patriots. Not much can be said about the performance, other than the fact that the “Minneapolis Miracle” the week prior was nearly completely overshadowed by the loss. To make things even more brutal, Eagles fans still to this day respond with “38-7” in numerous social media posts about the Vikings.
2. Vikings vs. Seahawks, 2015 NFC Wild Card
Also known as the “Blair Walsh game,” this matchup included one of the most infamous kicks in postseason history. At -6 degrees in Minnesota, both teams struggled on offense, combining for just 409 total yards throughout the game. Naturally, kickers would be heavily relied on. Seattle managed to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter to go up, as Minnesota had only managed three field goals all game, all of which were by kicker Blair Walsh. With just 26 seconds left and down a point, Walsh just had to make a 27-yarder to advance the team. Instead, the kick went far left by about five yards, effectively ending the game. Walsh had been sensational during his 2012 rookie campaign and even solid afterward, but this miss seemed to take all confidence away. Fans quickly turned the loss on the man responsible for all the team’s points in the game and sent Walsh’s career on a downward path.
1. Vikings at Saints, 2009 NFC Championship
Nearly in a different era than the other entries on the list, this game borders on “recent memory.” However, many fans’ current dislike of the New Orleans Saints originates from the matchup, so it qualifies. Minnesota needed just one more win to advance to the Super Bowl with former Green Bay Packer legend Brett Favre at QB, a young stud in the backfield in Adrian Peterson and a solid corps all throughout the team. In a back-and-forth game, Minnesota had a few different opportunities to pull away. Turnovers ended up being the deciding factor, as they do in many games, but this was just a tough one to stomach. Favre had the ball at the Saints’ 38-yard line in a tie game with under a minute left and threw an ill-advised cross-body pass to Sidney Rice that was intercepted by Tracy Porter. The game went into overtime, with different rules than the ones in the league today. Back then the first team to score any sort of points in OT would win, and the Saints got the ball first. They drove down the field, kicked a field goal, and that was it. They then went on to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
Will the Vikings ever win a Super Bowl? Who knows. You would think so, but there have also been almost six decades of Super Bowls without Minnesota coming out on top. Every few years the loyal fans are let down, expecting something to change with no avail. All they can do at this point is hope for a miracle.