Stat proves top defense gives Vikings best chance to win Super Bowl

(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) Danielle Hunter
(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) Danielle Hunter /

Historically, a team with a top defense has found more championship success than one with a top offense. We can guess which path Mike Zimmer and the Minnesota Vikings will be taking in 2021.

For the last few months, the Minnesota Vikings have spent the majority of their time adding pieces to their roster to improve a defense that performed terribly last season.

These additions were severely needed, but some have wondered why the Vikings didn’t spend their resources a little more evenly on both sides of the ball.

Well, there’s this saying that goes “defense wins championships,” and here’s the thing, it is completely correct. Minnesota knows this and it is why making sure their defense can be top-notch in 2021 is their biggest priority heading into the upcoming season.

Minnesota Vikings will have better championship odds in 2021 with a top defense

In the so-called age of offense in the NFL right now, it’s hard for some to believe that a team will have a better shot at winning a Super Bowl with a great defense instead of a great offense.

However, since 1970, teams with the No. 1 offense in the league (based on yards gained) have earned 16 trips to the Super Bowl, and they have a 7-9 record in these games. On the other side, teams with a No. 1 defense (based on yards allowed) have a 10-2 record in Super Bowls since 1970.

But these numbers go back to 1970, a team with a No. 1 offense would likely have a better shot to win a championship than a team with a No. 1 defense in the current mold of the NFL, right? Well, not quite.

No. 1 defenses are 2-1 in Super Bowls since 2010 and during the same time period, No. 1 offenses are 0-2. Since 1999, four teams with the league’s top defense have won a Vince Lombardi trophy, while only two teams with the NFL’s No. 1 offense have won a Super Bowl.

The 2015 Denver Broncos are the last team to win a championship with the league’s top-ranked defense and the 2009 New Orleans Saints are the last team to win it all with a No. 1 offense.

We can even look at the Vikings as an example. The closest Minnesota has come to earning a spot in the Super Bowl with Mike Zimmer as their head coach was in 2017 when their defense was the top-ranked unit in the league. It’s not a coincidence.

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Obviously, there are a lot of different variables that can lead to a team winning a championship. But one thing we do know is that making the Super Bowl with a No. 1 defense instead of a No. 1 offense is going to give a team a better shot to end the night with a Vince Lombardi trophy in their hands.