That is moderately epic, because it has been almost a year since the Vikings were a road favorite – for the record it was Week 4 of last year when the Vikings lost to Kansas City 22-17. But even more surprising is that, if the Vikings win Sunday, which the Boys from The Outfit say should happen, it will be considerably rarer than most Vikings fans would think.
Since 2001, a span of 11 seasons, the Vikings have started 2-0 just three times. The last time was in 2009, when the Vikings rolled up a 12-4 record and ran all the way to New Orleans and the NFC Championship Game. Before we get ahead ourselves, however, the other two seasons in which the Viking started 2-0, they finished 6-10 and 9-7, respectively, and missed the playoffs both years.
The good news, however, is that the Vikings started 0-2 the last two seasons and never recovered from the early hole they dug themselves. To get off to a 2-0 start – even if they've been favored to win both – is the ideal elixir for the hangover-style headache Vikings fans have had the last two years.
Just as a 0-2 start creates a panic mode in a team that often leaves them with little alternative than to run off a series of wins to attempt to make up for the early deficit, a 2-0 start leaves wiggle room for struggles down the line. Since 2008, only two teams that started 0-2 made the playoffs, one of them being the 2008 Vikings (lest we forget Frerotte Mania). Almost two-thirds of the teams that have started 2-0 since 1990 made the playoffs. Granted, the Vikings have posted two of the non-playoff teams in that scenario.
For now, the Vikings were just happy to pull a win last Sunday from the jaws of defeat.
"Our biggest thing was finish. We said that before the game," receiver Percy Harvin said. "Coach, he didn't scream at us, but he reiterated that at halftime and everybody was just finish, finish, finish. He said it (Monday) in the team meetings, to be on the opposite side of that this year felt a little bit better."
A 2-0 start won't guarantee the Vikings anything but bragging rights early on in the 2012 season, but, for the first time in three years, Vikings fans will be walking tall on Monday and, given the fact that Chicago is playing at Green Bay and Detroit is playing at San Francisco, when Monday arrives, the Vikings, if the Vegas odds hold true, will stand alone atop the NFC North.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.