Have the Vikings ever started a season with an 0-4 record?

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Christian Ponder
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Christian Ponder /

The Minnesota Vikings are hoping to avoid an 0-4 start to their season.

Losing is never fun and the Minnesota Vikings have been reminded of this during each of their three games this season.

Heading into Week 4, the Vikings are still searching for their first win of the year and they will be attempting to avoid the franchise’s first 0-4 start since the 2011 season. They do get to take on a winless Houston Texans team this week, so maybe this could finally be the week Minnesota leaves the field with a victory.

If the Vikings do end up suffering another loss, any hope of landing a spot in the playoffs can be thrown out the door as only one team in NFL history has made it into the postseason after starting their schedule with four-straight losses.

What happened the last time the Minnesota Vikings started 0-4?

During the existence of their franchise (since 1961), there have been four instances in which Minnesota has started a season with an 0-4 record. This happened to the Vikings in 1962, 1967, 2002, and 2011.

So the good news is that it hasn’t been something that has happened often for Minnesota. But the bad news is that none of these four teams were able to finish their seasons with more than six wins.

Back in 2011, there was a bit of optimism surrounding Minnesota. The Vikings had traded for a veteran quarterback in Donovan McNabb, they still had a bunch of playmakers on their roster (Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Jared Allen, Chad Greenway), and the team was looking to get off to a fresh start under new head coach Leslie Frazier.

Once the season began, however, that optimism quickly vanished as Minnesota opened their 2011 schedule with four losses in a row. The Vikings even had the lead over their opponents heading into the fourth quarter in three of these four games, but they still resulted in losses.

McNabb ended up getting benched in favor of rookie Christian Ponder after just six games, but neither quarterback made much of a difference for Minnesota’s offense. And as a parting gift from the football gods in 2011, Peterson went down with a torn ACL during the Vikings’ second-to-last game of the season.

2002 went a little better for Minnesota than it did in 2011. After starting the 2002 season with four straight losses, the Vikings and head coach Mike Tice were able to finish with a 6-6 record in their final 12 games of the year.

This was Tice’s first full-season as Minnesota’s head coach and the team quickly learned that firing Dennis Green in 2001 probably wasn’t the right decision.

As for the 1962 and 1967 campaigns, the Vikings playing poorly in these two seasons wasn’t much of a surprise. Minnesota’s second year ever as a professional football team was in 1962, so struggles were to be expected. And in 1967, the Vikings were just starting to learn how to play the sport correctly under new head coach Bud Grant.

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Hopefully, Minnesota will be able to avoid their fifth 0-4 start in franchise history this week against Houston. But if they don’t, the chances are high that the 2020 season is going to be a painful one for the Vikings and their fans.