This story is part of ESPN The Magazine's September 29 Fansourced Issue. Subscribe today!
Last year's ranking: XX
Title track: 102
Fan relations: 101
Stadium experience: 113
Bang for the buck: 84
Well it's back to triple-digit territory for the Purple, as the Vikings plummeted 34 spots overall, the third-worst fall in the NFL. Just a year removed from postseason play, they stumbled to 5-10-1, fired coach Leslie Frazier and hired Mike Zimmer, a man long overdue for his first NFL head-coaching job.
The good news, if there is any, is that the team is finally leaving the outdated Metrodome, averting potential disaster as rumors floated that the franchise was a prime relocation candidate, possibly to Los Angeles. The bad news is that their new stadium won't be ready until 2016, forcing the Vikings to play at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus, just a few miles from downtown Minneapolis. As far as interim homes go, it isn't all bad -- The Bank opened in 2009 -- but it is outdoors, and you've heard about winter (read: fall too) in Sota. It ain't pretty.
As a fan from Duluth, known as deepbluetraveler, said on tripadvisor.com after attending a Vikings preseason game this year: "Overall the experience was very good; the venue itself is designed very well with a large open-air concourse, numerous concessions and restrooms. I never once felt too crowded or had to wait in line for more than a couple minutes."
On the field, what the Vikings need to develop is a real quarterback after years of "game managing" from oft-maligned Christian Ponder, Joe Webb and 89-year-old fossil Brett Favre. After three years of booing Ponder, GM Rick Spielman took Teddy Bridgewater with the last pick in the first round of this year's draft, hoping that he can finally -- legitimately -- say he found the team's franchise QB.
If Bridgewater turns out to be worth the hype, expect not only a big jump in our players category next year. Look for the wins to start adding up too.