Vikings schedule: Is there weakness in our sweetness?


For those still unwilling to wholly digest the purple kool-aid for our 9-1 Vikings, skeptics need look no further than the team's schedule.  While the Vikings indeed sport the NFC's top passer, leading receiver in yardage, second-leading rusher and an NFL-best 36 sacks -- said numbers have been accrued versus competition with a lowly combined win percentage of just .350.

That's the lowest opponent win clip for any of football's eight division leaders.  San Diego (7-3) owns the highest opponent winning percentage among division leaders at .500.

The objective herein, it should be noted, isn't to slight the Purple.  They can't control who they play, and with what they have opposed they've namely defeated with aplomb.  Rather, the more salient point is to gather if such a puffy collection of victims will behoove -- or perhaps doom -- the Vikings come games of greater gravity, against stouter competition.  While the Vikings' road to date charts no present division leaders,  it is worthy of mention that the regular season schedule will indeed become more demanding, with future opponents offering a present win clip of .560, including consecutive games against current divisional leaders Arizona and Cincinnati in Weeks 13 and 14, respectively. 

At the risk of losing perspective with six games to play, that present opponent win clip of .350 would represent the lowest oppositional mark for an NFC Conference Champion since the AFL-NFL merger of 1970. Yet, if the Vikings are indeed to ascend to Super Bowl XLIV in Miami, it appears that their ensuing opponents would raise that percentage to a mark eschewing a caveat attached to a Purple title.  But as the following will evidence, a weak schedule is not necessarily a harbinger for failure to be crowned NFC Conference, or even Super Bowl champions. 

Of the 35 NFC champions between 1970-2008, just 11 played a regular season schedule presenting an overall winning percentage from their combined opponents -- of the remaining 24 teams, 21 played a schedule presenting a combined losing percentage, while three teams played a .500 schedule.

For your stat pleasure, here is a listing of both the top ten NFC Champs with the lowest opponents win percentage for the regular season, and a list of the ten highest.  Their respective Super Bowl appearance and result is attached.

Ten Lowest (and ties)

1.1999 St. Louis Rams - Regular season opponent win 38% - Won Super Bowl XXXIV
2. (tie) 1971 Dallas Cowboys - 39% - Won Super Bowl VI
           1987 Washington Redskins - 39% - Won Super Bowl XXII
4. (tie)  1984 San Francisco 49ers- 41% - Won Super Bowl XIX
           1992 Dallas Cowboys - 41% - Won Super Bowl XXVII
6. (tie)  1972 Washington Redskins - 44% - Lost Super Bowl VII
           1975 Dallas Cowboys - 44% - Lost Super Bowl X
           1997 Green Bay Packers - 44% - Lost Super Bowl XXXII
9. (tie)  1989 San Francisco 49ers - 45% - Won Super Bowl XXIV
           1998 Atlanta Falcons - 45% - Lost Super Bowl XXXIII
           2000 New York Giants - 45% - Lost Super Bowl XXXV
          2003 Carolina Panthers - 45% - Lost Super Bowl XXXVIII
          2006 Chicago Bears - 45% - Lost Super Bowl XLI

Ten Highest (and ties)

1. 1977 Dallas Cowboys - Regular season opponent win 54% - Won Super Bowl XII
2. (tie)      1995 Dallas Cowboys - 53% - Won Super Bowl XXX
               1996 Green Bay Packers -53% - Won Super Bowl XXXI
               2008 Arizona Cardinals - 53%- Lost Super Bowl XLIII
5.  (tie)     1973 Minnesota Vikings - 52% - Lost Super Bowl VIII
                1978 Dallas Cowboys - 52% - Lost Super Bowl XIII
                1979 Los Angeles Rams- 52%- Lost Super Bowl XIV
8. (tie)      1974 Minnesota Vikings - 51% - Lost Super Bowl IX              
                1985 Chicago Bears - 51% - Won Super Bowl XX
                1988 San Francisco 49ers - 51%- Won Super Bowl XXIII
                1993 Dallas Cowboys- 51% - Won Super Bowl XXVIII

A very Happy Thanksgiving for All!