It turns out the legends were wrong about the Vikings kicking ass all the time. In fact, they got their own asses kicked as often as not:
“Forget the funeral boats burning at sea and tales of the most bloodthirsty warriors in history. In fact, you can forget pretty much everything you think you know about the Vikings — it’s all wrong. Many of the legends associated with the Norse raiders were invented by their victims whose written accounts dominated the narrative long after the Viking Age.”
Given the upper hand, the Vikings were as ruthless and brutal as can be — there’s no question about that — but in battle on equal terms, they were by no means invincible.
For instance, a recently discovered mass grave in Dorset, southern England, contains some “50 men, whose bones can be traced back to Scandinavia.” The men had been “rounded up and beheaded at some point in the 11th Century. It’s hardly the kind of scene you find in the terrifying, florid descriptions of unbeatable Norse raiders written by monks and churchmen at the time.”