ELF: Vienna Vikings – Path to the Championship Game

In their first year in the European League of Football, the Vienna Vikings quickly proved that they were immediately one of the top teams in the league.  With an impressive regular season and a victory in the semifinals last week, they earned a spot in the second ever ELF championship game, which will take place this Sunday.  Let’s take a look at how they got to this point.  

The Vikings joined the ELF after moving from the Austrian Football League, where they were a perennial powerhouse.  They still hold the record for most championships in that league, winning 15 titles since the league began in 1984.  They were also runners-up 13 times, including their last year in the league in 2021.  In September of 2021, it was announced that the Vikings, along with their Austrian rivals, the Swarco Raiders Tirol, would be joining the league for its second season.  Vienna would quickly prove that they were not messing around as the season kicked off in June.

Photo: Peter Kramberger.

The Vikings opened their season with a close victory over the Raiders on June 5th.  The next week, they easily took down the defending champions in the Frankfurt Galaxy by a score of 30-10.  They seemed to be unstoppable for the first few weeks of the season, as they stormed out to an 8-0 start.  They lost their first game in Week 11 in blowout fashion, as the Galaxy defeated them in a rematch by a score of 42-8.  But Vienna would respond well, winning their next two games against the Istanbul Rams and the Barcelona Dragons.  In the last week of the season, they rested many key players, and were subsequently blown out on the road by the Wroclaw Panthers.  However, as the Vikings had little to play for in that game, that game served as a way to get some backup players some quality playing time.  Concluding the season with a record of 10-2, they locked up the second seed in the league, just behind the Hamburg Sea Devils, who they will face in the championship game.

With a strong regular season, the Vikings earned the ability to host a playoff game, which took place last Sunday against the Dragons.  With home-field advantage in their favor, the Vikings put on an excellent display of football, dominating Barcelona in every facet of the game.  After storming out to a 13-0 lead at half time, Vienna sealed the game in the third quarter, expanding their lead to 29-0.  The defense impressively shut down the Dragons high-flying aerial attack, limiting their lead-leading passing game to less than 200 yard passing, many of which came in garbage time.  With that performance, the Vikings left no doubt that they deserved a spot in the championship game.

Vienna Vikings QB Jackson Erdmann

On Sunday in their home country, in the city of Klagenfurt, the Vikings will take on the Hamburg Sea Devils for all of the marbles.  As the teams did not meet in the regular season, this will be the first meeting in history between these franchises.  We shall see if the Vikings can do the improbable and take home the ELF title in their debut season.

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.