Vikings blow third straight lead of 10 or more points, make dubious NFL history

Shutdown Corner

Ladies and gentlemen, the Minnesota Vikings did something on Sunday that only four other teams in NFL history have ever done … and you can be sure that they're not happy about it. When they lost in overtime to the Detroit Lions, 26-23, the Vikings became the fifth team in the history of the league to blow three straight leads of 10 points of more.

The Vikings have done it before, in 1990, and they're the only franchise to do it twice. Per Pro Football Reference via Jason Lisk of the Big Lead, the other teams are the 1983 Kansas City Chiefs, the 1987 Cincinnati Bengals and the 1999 Dallas Cowboys.

In the Lions game, Minnesota got out to a 20-0 lead at the end of the first half, when tight Visanthe Shiancoe caught a touchdown pass from Donovan McNabb with nine seconds left in the second quarter. And then, as things tend to go with the Vikings these days, all heck broke loose. The Lions, who punted to end six of their first seven drives (the other one was ended by the first half itself), scored on six of their last seven drives, including the last drive in overtime that ended with Jason Hanson's 32-yard field goal at the 13:01 mark of overtime. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for just 64 yards in the first half, and 378 total.

The Vikings, who can't seem to hold a lead for anything, have to be stunned here. In the season opener, they had a 17-7 lead on the San Diego Chargers halfway through the second quarter, only to fall by a 24-17 score. And in the second game, they held the same 10-point lead into the third quarter before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came back to emerge victorious by that same 24-17 score.

The Lions' loss was particularly embarrassing — not only was it a division game, but it was the first time the Vikings lost to the formerly moribund Lions at the Metrodome since 1997.

"Wow, 1997, huh?" Vikings safety Husain Abdullah said earlier this week. "I was 12 years old, somewhere in Pomona, Calif., not even thinking about playing safety for the Minnesota Vikings. I was a running back and my favorite player was Barry Sanders. Loved Barry Sanders. I probably shouldn't say that."

Detroit now has more reasons to love the Lions than at any point since the Sanders era — they're 3-0 for the first time since 1980, and at the end of the early games, they have the NFL's best point differential at +55.

For the 0-3 Vikings, all there is to do is to regroup and wonder what on earth is happening. The only good news for them is that no team has lost four straight games this way.

At least, not yet…

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