To be fair, the Minnesota Vikings looked pretty good six weeks into the 2016 NFL season.

Despite losing quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a season-ending injury before the season even started, the Vikings came out of the gate guns blazing, winning their first five games and taking a 5-0 record into their week six bye. Sam Bradford looked great and the defense was a bunch of world-beaters. There was still a lot of football to be played but all signs pointed to the Vikes being one of the top seeds in the playoffs.

Since then, however, the bottom fell out on Minnesota’s season. They lost four-straight as Bradford fell apart and have dropped seven of their last nine games. They now sit at 7-7 with two games left in the season. Wondering what seed they’ll get has been replaced by wondering whether or not they’ll even make the playoffs. Especially as the Green Bay Packers, their next opponent, are moving in the opposite direction as the surge past the Vikings.

Perhaps it was hard to imagine Minnesota’s season would fall off a cliff so quickly but it’s also a good reminder not to throw all your weight behind a team one month into the season when there’s so many games to go. Of course, that didn’t stop plenty in the media from pledging their devotion to the Vikings as one of, if not the best team in the NFL back in October when they were 5-0.

Here’s Ty Schalter with Vice Sports on” the best team in football.”

After their Week 6 bye, the Vikings have a six-week stretch during which they will only play two teams with a winning record (Philadelphia, Washington). They will only face two more (Dallas, Green Bay) in their remaining five after that.

How many games can this Vikings team win? It’s hard enough to string five Ws together in the NFL, let alone six, seven, eight, or more. But Bradford and company have more than proved they can put up sufficient points to let their league-best defense do its thing. That defense has proved they can dismantle any offense that dares challenge them. It’s early, sure, but it’s hard to improve upon that.

Nobody could have predicted the trade in the first place, and then nobody could have predicted how well it would work out for both teams. The Vikings’ coming off a bye is going to be a huge advantage for them given how banged up they are right now. But make no mistake: Bradford has played phenomenally, and at this point, I haven’t watched anybody in the NFC outside of Seattle that looks like a better team. 

The Super Bowl may well turn out to be a predictable matchup, like New England-Green Bay or Pittsburgh-Seattle. But to the shock of Bradford’s many detractors, the Vikings have thrust themselves into the picture.

(Looks like you were right about that first part, NY Times…)

“They’re deep at every position,” Scott said. “This is a defensive team now. It used to be Adrian Peterson’s team. The dominant force on this team is the defense and their ability to make you one-dimensional. . . . They’re the new team in that division, not the Green Bay Packers. The Green Bay Packers are playing for second place, believe me.”

Bart Scott remains correct on the second part, it’s just a different team the Packers are chasing from 2nd place.

We’ll let you re-process that thought, Boomer.

“I think this Vikings defense has the potential to be up there with the Baltimore Ravens team that won the Super Bowl in 2000. That Ray Lewis-led defense that was unstoppable.”

Not so much.

“This is officially the team to beat in the NFC.”

And beaten they have been.

897 people RT’d because they agreed. 897 people (898 if you include Waddle) were wrong.

About Sean Keeley

Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.