This has certainly been a season that has tested the loyalty of even the most diehard fans of the Minnesota Vikings.

It wasn't too long ago that Vikings fans were basking in the glory of a 5-0 start. But what has come next can best be described as a monumental collapse - even by Vikings' standards. The purple and gold has dropped six of their last seven, putting any playoff aspirations on life support, with four games to play.

Thursday night's 17-15 loss to the Dallas Cowboys was especially painful for two reasons:

  1. It was a game the Vikings should have won. Minnesota had opportunities during the game to score touchdowns and instead settled for field goals. A missed personal foul penalty against the Cowboys on a pivotal two-point conversion attempt by the Vikings late in the game didn't help.
  2. The game got over so late (after 10:30 PM) that a number of Vikings' fans were experiencing a bit of 'football hangover' as they headed to work Friday morning.

But it turns out, there's more to that empty feeling than just an abbreviated night of sleep.

The latest Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology has published the results of a study showing how sports fans' productivity nosedives at work the day after their favorite team loses.

The Greek study 'Linking football team performance to fans' work engagement and job performance: Test of a spillover model', surveyed a group of soccer fans every week for a month. Each week, the day after their favorite team had played, the fans were asked to rate their mood, work engagement, and job performance. On weeks where their team lost, the fans reported more negativity in all three areas.

The conclusion of the study's authors?

The findings illustrate the pivotal role of football fans' reactions in determining their affect, attitudes, and behaviors also in the work domain.

The reasoning is a fans' attachment to a team becomes a part of their identity. When the team loses, those same fans feel like they've lost something important in their personal life.

So Vikings fans, feel free to share this study with your boss. Then go back to weeping quietly at your desk.