History says the Packers should still concern the Vikings this season

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Alexander Mattison
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) Alexander Mattison /

In 2004, the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers were actually in an eerily similar situation to the current season after the first seven weeks.

Seven weeks into the 2022 season, the Minnesota Vikings are in the driver’s seat for the NFC North title as they currently sit with a 5-1 record, while the Green Bay Packers fell to 3-4 on Sunday after losing to the Washington Commanders.

Oddly enough, this exact start for both teams has happened in the past. Heading into Week 8 of the 2004 season, the Vikings were 5-1 and the Packers were 3-4. Interestingly enough, the Philadelphia Eagles were also 6-0 after Week 7 of the 2004 campaign, just as they are this season.

Minnesota will be hoping for a different result this year compared to what happened in 2004, as that Vikings team actually wound up failing to hold off Green Bay for the division title. However, Minnesota did still manage to defeat the Packers in the wild-card round of the 2004 playoffs (it’s the game that featured the infamous Randy Moss moon celebration).

How can the Minnesota Vikings avoid losing the NFC North to the Green Bay Packers this season?

If the Vikings don’t want the current season to have a similar outcome to the 2004 campaign, then they really just need to take care of business.

Currently, Minnesota is favored to win nine of the 11 games left on their 2022 schedule, according to FiveThirtyEight’s win probability metric. If this were to hold true, the Vikings would finish the season with a 14-3 record and easily win the NFC North.

Meanwhile, Green Bay is only favored to win five of the 10 games they still have to play this season, according to the same FiveThirtyEight metric. If this ends up being the correct outcome, the Packers would finish with an 8-9 record.

The point of all of this is to say that more than half of the season still needs to be played and any celebration of Minnesota running away with the NFC North is premature.

Sure, it would be nice to know that the Vikings already have the division locked up, but the team has been snakebitten too many times in the past to feel confident enough about winning the NFC North just seven weeks into the season.

Hopefully, new Minnesota head coach Kevin O’Connell is able to do enough for the team during the next few weeks to help them avoid a collapse similar to what happened in 2004.

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