What history says about the Vikings playoff chances after starting 0-3

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Mike Zimmer
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Mike Zimmer /

Do the Minnesota Vikings still have a shot at making the playoffs this season?

Starting a season with three losses in a row is something the Minnesota Vikings have never done since they hired Mike Zimmer to be their head coach in 2014.

But after losing to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Zimmer and the Vikings have an 0-3 record and some fans have already decided to give up on the season. The sales of NFL Draft guides have probably seen an increase in the state of Minnesota during the last two weeks thanks to the underwhelming performance of the Vikings in 2020.

Despite the lack of optimism from some Minnesota fans, there is still plenty of time for the team to get back on track and make a push towards the postseason. Starting the year with three losses is certainly going to make getting to the playoffs harder for the Vikings, but it’s still something that can be accomplished as other teams have proven in the past.

Can the Minnesota Vikings turn their season around?

Against the Titans on Sunday, Minnesota actually showed some promise and gave people hope that they might be able to get back on the right track.

If the Vikings can pull it together and earn a spot in the postseason this year, they would be the first team since the 2018 Houston Texans to start a season with an 0-3 record and still make the playoffs.

Before the Texans were able to accomplish this, the 1998 Buffalo Bills, 1995 Detroit Lions, 1992 San Diego Chargers, 1982 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and 1981 New York Jets were the only teams since 1980 to make the postseason during a year in which they started 0-3.

Six teams doing this since 1980 shouldn’t create a ton of confidence for Minnesota fans. But it leaves just enough room for a small amount of hope that the Vikings can do the unthinkable and still make the playoffs this season.

Unlike years past, Minnesota has the luxury of there being seven spots available in the NFC playoff bracket this season instead of six. Of the teams who have finished seventh in the NFC since 2015, none of them ended their year with more than nine wins and two finished with only eight victories.

This means that in order for the Vikings to find themselves in the postseason this year, they will likely have to win at least eight or nine of their final 13 games.

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If Minnesota’s offense continues to perform like they did against Tennessee and Zimmer can find some way to fix the defense, don’t be surprised if the Vikings are able to go on a bit of run during the next few weeks and potentially set themselves up to fight for a playoff spot.