Football fans of the great state of Minnesota, we have collectively reached a magical time on the calendar. No, it’s not the first week of the season or the opening of training camp. It’s also not time for a key player on the Minnesota Vikings roster to have his knee randomly explode. Nope, it’s the time between OTAs and training camp.
I know what you’re thinking. There is literally nothing that happens during this time frame and by the time training camp hits, we’ll all have withdrawals just waiting for someone in a purple jersey to do so much as stretch or pick up a football.
That being said, there’s a lot to digest here. First, this is the time of year that we all cross our fingers and hope that nobody gets arrested or blows their hand off in their personal Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza. Second, it’s that time of the year where football bloggers grasp at anything they can get their hands on for white-hot content.
Your favorite team’s Mount Rushmore? Check. Quarterbacks chugging beers on a jumbotron? You betcha. Player X is in the best shape of his life? HELL YEAH, I’M CLICKING THAT SHIT!!
Bloggers will write about anything this time of year, which is why it’s no surprise that a recent study by Emory professor Michael Lewis ranking the best fans in the NFL has made the rounds. In his study, Lewis made the groundbreaking find that the Dallas Cowboys (who won a bunch of championships in the 1990s) and the New England Patriots (who won a bunch a titles since the turn of this millennium) have the best fans in the NFL.
Well holy shit, Professor Fink. You should have at least told me to sit down before you dropped that bomb on us. While that isn’t all that surprising, you won’t find Viking fans at the top of this list…or even the middle. In fact, Lewis dropped Minnesota fans to 24th in the NFL.
My first thought of this was pure anger, but then I wanted to know how this modern day Albert Einstein came up with these rankings. Did he sit all day in front of a three-story chalkboard with some secret formula? Did he watch Super Bowls and realize the Vikings haven’t been in one in roughly 40 years? Did he simply draw names out of a hat?
Lucky for us, Lewis divulged his formula which still makes it mind boggling that the Vikings were ranked 24th. Let’s break this down.
Attendance: Perhaps Lewis may have something here as the Vikings ranked 16th in the NFL in per game attendance last season. While the number may be low, at least U.S. Bank Stadium kicks ass and you can see the game anywhere. Lewis’ top team, the Cowboys, averaged 91,619 fans per game last year, but most of them were closer to the moon than the actual field. Green Bay (who we will talk about later) was also third in attendance, but those numbers seem fudged considering the average Packer fan takes up about three bleacher spots.
Social Media Following: We seriously got docked for this? Has this guy even seen Vikings Twitter? It’s like a God damn Royal Rumble match. One guy has a hot take and then ten other Vikings fans scream that they’re wrong. Hey, here’s Kirk Cousins on vacation, let’s drop a tweet that says “U need to give back ur money. Y aren’t U throwing a football? bRiNg BaCk KeEnUm. LOL.” It may not be positive engagement, but we sure as hell know how to start a conversation.
Road Attendance: This can be summed up as how willing a team’s fan base is to hit the road to follow their team. After paying $150 each for eight regular season games to have your heart ripped out (and two full priced exhibition games), why in the hell would anybody follow this team? Also, considering we live in a freaking tundra, I would assume Vikings fans flock to anywhere that is above 50 degrees in the months of November and December.
Revenue: I guarantee you the Wilfs are doing just as well as any other NFL owners these days.
With all of these factors put into his 1988 Macintosh, the computer went ring-a-ding-ding and decided that the Vikings have crap fans. Perhaps what is even worse is that this study concluded the Vikings have the worst fans in the NFC North. Really?!
The Packers were listed sixth despite having the largest group of bandwagon fans in the world. This is a fan base so oblivious that they whine and gripe despite having the fortune of having back-to-back Hall of Fame quarterbacks under center. This is also a fan base that would rather drink the sludge known as Miller Lite over an ice cold Grain Belt Premium
The Bears were ranked eighth, which kind of makes sense if you’ve ever seen the SuperFans skit. Despite this, this is a fan base that shows up year after year thinking they don’t have a horseshoe up their ass and believes that taking Mitchell Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes wasn’t a mistake.
Even the Lions ranked higher than the Vikings at 22nd. This is the biggest joke of all considering they show up to games WITH FREAKING PAPER BAGS OVER THEIR HEADS!!! Seriously, the only meaningful win that this city has racked up over the past 50 years is when B-Rabbit dominated Clarence to defeat the Free World at the end of 8 Mile. Other than that, this is a franchise whose greats (Barry Sanders, Calvin Johnson) wanted out so bad, they retired with plenty of gas left in the tank.
Elsewhere, even the New Orleans Saints, whose fans, players, coaches and politicians whined, cried, complained and moaned until the NFL made a special rule change for them to review obvious pass interference calls, ranked 10th on this list. Somewhere, Ahmad Rashad says “Hold my Grain Belt.”
Through everything, this study seems like a bunch of Packer backwash after a Sunday at Lambeau Field. To not give credit to a fan base that routinely gets beat up, but keeps crawling back for more punishment is a slap in the face to all of Minnesota and maybe this will be the year where all of that punishment pays off.
Or they’ll just kick us in the nuts again and we’ll drop further down the list.