Road Win Over Miami Would Be Legitimate Accomplishment for Vikings


The Vikings have in some ways over-achieved this year, putting up six wins in a season that could have easily been an absolute disaster.

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Despite all the ridiculous stuff they’ve been forced to deal with, rookie coach Mike Zimmer and his staff have kept the team together and rallied them to good on-field performances week after week.

There have been some bumps along the way but for the most part the Vikings have been competitive. But for a few missed plays here and there, the Vikes could easily have a winning record as of now.

If there’s one major asterisk on the Vikings’ over-achieving season it’s that the team has yet to defeat an opponent that currently possesses a record of .500 or better.

The Vikings’ “best” win of the season came week 1 against a St. Louis team that still has a chance to finish 8-8. Other than that the Vikings have beaten up on bottom feeders, hammering the terrible NFC South for a trio of wins while also picking off the woeful Jets and Redskins.

The Vikings surely do not have to apologize for making hay against bad teams, but the fact remains that they have yet to score a legit victory. That would change today if they could defeat the Miami Dolphins.

At 7-7, the Dolphins are far from a powerhouse. But they are a playoff contender with two weeks left in the season, and they are playing at home. Knocking off Miami in Miami would be a big deal for the Vikings as they continue building on what Mike Zimmer is trying to do.

I don’t need to remind fans: The Vikings throughout the last decade-and-a-half have not exactly made a habit of going into tough road environments late in the season and picking off contending teams.

Fans are looking for a cultural shift under Mike Zimmer. They want to see a new mental toughness and discipline especially on the road. No more of the soft-headed tendencies that crept in under such circumstances during previous regimes.

True, that mental toughness has not always been on display this year, even as the team has managed to persevere through some rough situations. A little more discipline and focus against Buffalo and last week against Detroit and the Vikings might find themselves still fighting for a playoff spot rather than merely playing for pride.

In light of those disappointing failures, today’s game becomes even more significant. The Vikings need to show that they can pull together in a hostile environment against a team that seemingly is better than them and not just keep it close but seal the deal.

This late in the year, with no playoffs to push for, you just want to build for the future. Part of that is developing individual players but part of it is building team character. And nothing builds team character more than coming together to score a big win on the road.

A win over Miami would mean little in a micro sense, but when you look at the big picture, it could be a very important building block for Minnesota. The Vikings aren’t getting a lot of respect after putting together six wins against “bad” teams, but if they beat Miami even the doubters would have to give them props.