A historical look: Just how bad is this Vikings defense?


Defense wins championships.

The Minnesota Vikings won't be winning any of those this year.

The Purple rank 30th in points against, 31st in yards against, and 29th against the pass.

The quote Jerry Seinfeld, that's a pretty big matzah ball hanging out there.

We're not breaking news with those stats. But how bad is this defense compared to those of Purple past? Now we're talking juicy stuff.

Pass defense (currently 29th): Minnesota ranked 28th in the league in pass defense in 1984, when there were just 28 teams in the NFL, so yes, it can get worse, despite this beauty of a stat on Vikings defensive back Josh Robinson today.

Total defense (currently 31st): Minnesota ranked 29 out of 30 in 1997 (before new-Cleveland and the expansion Houston Texans joined the league), but aside from that, this is as bad as it gets. Believe it or not, there was a stretch in the late-80s and early-90s that Minnesota ranked No. 1 in the league in this category three of six years. Since then, the highest they've reached is sixth.

Scoring defense (currently 30th): Sadly, just two years ago the Vikings finished the year 31st in scoring defense. That team was 3-13, their worst record since the aforementioned 1984 team, that ranked dead last in this category. Between 1984 and 2011, Minnesota did rank 30th one other time, the 6-10 year of 2002.

Defensive SRS (currently -11.5): Stick with this if you can, because it took us a minute. This stat judges defensive performance based on a point scale in which 0.0 is average judged against every other team in the league. One more time. The league average defense is 0.0, based on performance by defenses that year, so the farther a team's number into the negative, the worse their performance.

Let's just say -11.5 is unbelievably bad. In fact, in franchise history, Minnesota has never even approached that awful of a number, coming the closest in the infamous-in-this-article 1984 season.

To give you a better idea of how bad -11.5 is, that 2011 season we talked about as being so subpar, Minnesota finished the year with a -4.1. We think this scale may only go from -10 to 10 and the Purple D has shattered the SRS boundaries of futility, but we can't confirm that.

Keep in mind, it is still early in the season, as any Minnesota Viking will plead with you to realize, so these numbers will likely get better before they get worse.

But at this point in the season, we're a little scared at the epicness of this awfulness.

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