Mackey: The 6 most embarrassing Vikings losses since 2000
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Every weeknight at 6:15 on 1500 ESPN, we roll out the SixList -- six items, thoughts, observations, highlights and/or other nonsensical items that are relevant that day.
With the abomination of a football game we witnessed on Monday night in New Jersey, it got me to thinking about the six most embarrassing Vikings losses since 2000. Feel free to argue in the comment section below.
6.) The 1-15 Game (Week 1, 2001)
In retrospect, we all remember the 2001 season for the dumpster fire it was. But heading into the year, there was a ton of optimism surrounding the Vikings. They were coming off five consecutive playoff appearances (and eight playoff trips in nine years), two NFC Title Game appearances in three years, and they had a young Daunte Culpepper, who led the NFL with 33 touchdown passes in 2000. Oh, and Randy Moss in his prime and Cris Carter, who, despite being 36, was still pretty damn good.
Then Carolina Panthers rookie Steve Smith ran back the opening kick in Week 1 at the Metrodome, 93 yards for a touchdown. The Vikings went on to lose the game, 24-13.
Carolina wouldn't win another game all year. They went 1-15.
Later in the year, the Vikings lost to an 0-12 Detroit Lions team, and it looked like the NFL would have two 1-15 teams - with both of those wins coming against the Vikings. The Lions went on to beat the Dallas Cowboys, however, in Week 17 to let the Vikings off the hook. Sort of.
The Vikings finished 5-11, and head coach Dennis Green was fired before the end of the season.
5.) The Three Spergon Wynn Games (Weeks 15-17, 2001)
I couldn't pick just one, so I picked all three games in the Spergon Wynn era.
The season had derailed for the Vikings by December of 2001, and Culpepper was sidelined with a knee injury, so Green turned to former sixth-round draft pick Wynn in Weeks 15, 16 and 17.
It didn't go well. Wynn's first game with the Vikings was a 33-3 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and his second game turned out to be the final nail in Green's coffin - a 24-13 loss at Green Bay. The Vikings went on to lose 19-3 in Week 17 against the Baltimore Ravens, Mike Tice's first game as interim head coach, and Wynn would never play in another NFL game the rest of his career.
In his three starts as a Viking, Wynn threw one touchdown pass - a 45-yarder to tight end Byron Chamberlain - and six interceptions. The Vikings scored 19 total points in those three games.
Since then, Wynn's name is one of the most frequently-used punch lines among cynical Vikings fans.
Wynn's career didn't get much better after he left the NFL...
4.) Boat Rowing Game (Week 8, 2005)
Three weeks after the embarrassing Love Boat incident on Lake Minnetonka, the Vikings rolled into Carolina at 2-4, desperately needing a win. Instead, they were handed one of their worst losses of the season - a 38-13 in which Steve Smith torched Fred Smoot and company for 11 catches, 201 yards, a touchdown, and an epic boat-rowing celebration in the end zone.
This was also the same game in which Culpepper tore up his knee. He would never regain the same form.
The Vikings did roll off six straight wins after this game, but two losses in the final three games sealed the fate of Mike Tice, who was unceremoniously fired by Zygi Wilf immediately after a Week 17 home win over the Bears.
What's that old saying? "75 percent of the world is covered by water; the rest is covered by Fred Smoot?"
3.) The Nail in Brad Childress' Coffin Game (Week 11, 2010)
The 2010 season was already in total disarray by the time Week 11 rolled around. Randy Moss had arrived, dissed Tinucci's and departed by then. The Vikings were 3-6 and headed nowhere. Brett Favre was old, horrible, disinterested and... well, old.
And the rest of the team had apparently checked out, as evidenced by a 31-3 beat-down at home by the Green Bay Packers.
There were strong signs that head coach Brad Childress had lost the locker room, but this loss sealed his fate. Childress was fired the next morning.
The season only got weirder from there under interim coach Leslie Frazier. The Metrodome roof collapsed, the Vikings played home games at Ford Field and TCF Bank Stadium, and at one point Favre appeared to lay unconscious on the frozen TCF Bank Stadium turf in a blowout loss to the Bears.
2.) The Josh Freeman Game (Week 7, 2013)
This game is more embarrassing than the aforementioned Childress game because it appears the Vikings haven't quit yet this season - they're just terrible.
Monday night was a culmination of three epic failures: GM Rick Spielman's desire to eschew winning and turn this into a midseason quarterback evaluation, Leslie Frazier's inability to put Josh Freeman in a situation where he had a chance to succeed (and maybe that wasn't possible), and Freeman making Tim Tebow look like a surgeon.
According to ESPN Stats and Information, no quarterback has overthrown more passes in a single game since 2004. Freeman's 16 overthrows are the same number of overthrows Peyton Manning has all season. And since 1960, only six quarterbacks have thrown at least 45 passes while averaging fewer than four yards per attempt.
On top of it all, the Giants played horribly... and they destroyed the Vikings, 23-7.
ESPN may have committed an FCC violation by airing that game. They should have put a black censorship box over the entire field.
1.) 2000 NFC Title Game (41-donut)
In a category of its own.