Of course, there also was the 31-13 upset win in late October at Seattle that put the Vikings at 4-2 and made them appear to be a contender.
Whatever the case, there clearly was a point this season where it looked as if Brad Childress might be able to get Minnesota into the playoffs in his first year as head coach.
That point now seems like years ago.
The Vikings will enter Sunday's game against Arizona with a four-game losing streak and simply hoping to get to within one-game of .500. Even a terrible Cardinals team should strike some fear in the Vikings.
A four-game stretch that started in early November and appeared to be a perfect opportunity for a lengthy winning streak instead has resulted in losses to San Francisco (9-3), Green Bay (23-17) and most recently Miami (24-20).
The offense has generated little, Childress' play-calling has been suspect at best and opponents have learned they can have success against the Vikings' defense by spreading the field and passing the ball. Minnesota's run defense has remained dominant — No. 1 in the NFL — but that simply means that smart teams are abandoning the run sooner rather than later.
This collective meltdown has resulted in a locker room that has attempted to remain united but has shown some obvious signs of wear and tear. For the most part, the defense continues to perform at a much higher level than the offense and it is clear players from that side of the ball are growing tired of being asked to not only stop the other team but also score points.
It's hard to fault them.
Cornerback Antoine Winfield, who talked about his frustration after the loss at San Francisco, offered a no comment on the subject following the latest setback. It was Winfield who intercepted a Joey Harrington pass in the third quarter, returned the ball to the Dolphins' 3-yard line and then saw the Vikings offense end up kicking a field goal.
That came before the offense committed three fourth-quarter turnovers, two of which the Dolphins defense returned for touchdowns.
"It is frustrating," defensive tackle Kevin Williams said. "I can't speak on what's going on (on offense). I'm on defense. They need to make adjustments and make the changes they need to. We just need to keep playing a great defensive game plan and do what we can. Maybe we can score some points."
The Vikings playoff hopes might be out the window, but this team desperately needs a victory Sunday or this thing could turn ugly. Especially when one considers that the Vikings next will travel to Chicago to play the NFL's top defense.
A loss to Arizona officially would signal a free fall that might not end until the final gun sounds on the Dec. 31 season finale against St. Louis.
Coach Brad Childress had said he was "mulling" changes on the offensive line in the days leading up to Vikings' loss to the Miami Dolphins last Sunday.
Childress might be forced to do more than simply mull this week. Both right guard Artis Hicks and right tackle Marcus Johnson suffered sprained left ankles against the Dolphins and had to leave the game.
Hicks was replaced by Jason Whittle and Mike Rosenthal took Johnson's place. Hicks had a noticeable limp in the locker room Wednesday and did not practice. Whittle took his place. Johnson missed only part of practice.