The more things change, the more they stay the same.
In 2003, the Vikings under Mike Tice got off to a very promising start by winning their first six games. That team featured an explosive offense with Daunte Culpepper at quarterback and Randy Moss at wide receiver. The Vikings defeated the Packers on the road early in the season and had a big win over the Denver Broncos, who had also started the season very strong.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, their hot start unraveled with a four-game losing streak and ended with the team missing the playoffs with a 9-7 record, one game behind the Packers.
The streak started innocently enough with a loss to a perennial nemesis, the New York Giants. After that game, the Vikes slid further with a home loss to the Packers, and hit rock bottom with hideous losses to two of the worst teams in the NFL, the Raiders and the Chargers.
Fast forward to 2006.
A revamped Vikings team has dispatched Tice, Red McCombs, Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss. The Vikings' flash of past years has been replaced by steady and conservative play on offense under new coach Brad Childress and QB Brad Johnson, and a good defense for the first time in many years. The Vikes rode this formula to a 4-2 start with quality wins over potential playoff teams in the Panthers and Seahawks, and had a narrow loss against the top team in the NFC – the Chicago Bears (the Vikings had a chance to run out the clock or punt Chicago deep but fumbled away the game late when leading 16-12 with about three minutes left).
Life in the NFL is often difficult, however, and Minnesota came back to earth with an ugly loss to a very good Patriots team at the Metrodome. While it was a bad loss, most people probably assumed that the Vikings would bounce back and there was much talk of the "easy" part of the schedule coming up against the 49ers, Packers, Dolphins and Cardinals.
So much for the easy part of the schedule.
The Vikings' dull and disheartening loss at San Francisco, coupled with a home loss to the resurgent Packers. has them at 4-5 and riding a three-game losing streak. The Dolphins have won two straight after a bad start, possess a tough defense and are favored over Minnesota this week. A 4-6 record is looming, which likely means no playoffs again this season for the Purple unless they can pull this game out. Maybe their old friend Joey Harrington will throw a couple of balls their way this Sunday. That's the way this Viking team wins games, by taking the ball away from the other team. When they don't, they lose, as we've seen the past three games.
Fan Commentary: Streaky Vikings Back At It
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