|1998 Minnesota Vikings season|
|Head Coach||Dennis Green|
|Home Field||Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome|
|Place||1st NFC Central|
|Playoff Finish||Won NFC Divisional Playoff|
Lost NFC Championship
|Previous Season||Next Season|
The 1998 Minnesota Vikings became only the third team in NFL history to win 15 games during the regular season, joining the 1984 San Francisco 49ers, the 1985 Chicago Bears, and later the 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers and 2011 Green Bay Packers to do so. That year, the Vikings, known for a high-powered offense, scored a then-NFL record 556 points, the most points scored by any team in the 1990s. (The all-time record was broken by the 2007 New England Patriots who finished the season with 589 points.) The team cruised to the NFC Central title and held home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. They defeated the Arizona Cardinals in the Divisional round, but were defeated in overtime by the 14-2 Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game in one of the most disappointing losses in franchise history.
Season[edit | edit source]
Prior to the start of the 1998 season, the Vikings were sold to Red McCombs. The NFL had not been happy with the Vikings' ownership arrangement of ten owners with none owning 30%. The ownership decided to sell the club. At first it appeared that author Tom Clancy would become the new owner. However, his attempt to buy the team fell through. So in July 1998, the team was sold to McCombs who was from San Antonio, Texas.
1998 was a year to remember for the Minnesota Vikings. With a spectacular offense led by quarterback Randall Cunningham, who had the best year of his NFL career, running back Robert Smith, veteran wide receiver Cris Carter, and explosive rookie Randy Moss, the Vikings set a then-NFL record by scoring a total of 556 points, never scoring fewer than 24 in a game. The Vikings finished the season 15-1, their only loss by 3 points to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week nine. Twelve of their fifteen wins came by a margin of at least 10 points.
In the playoffs, the Vikings rolled past the Arizona Cardinals 41-21, and came into the Metrodome heavily favored for their NFC title showdown with the Atlanta Falcons, who had finished 14-2. Leading 20-7 just before halftime, some would argue that the Vikings got greedy with their playcalling, as they called a deep pass play on 3rd down, which led to a Cunningham fumble deep in Minnesota territory. Shortly thereafter, the Falcons scored to cut the lead to 20-14. The Vikings were again leading 27-20 with two minutes left in the 4th quarter and had a chance to potentially put the game out of reach with a field goal. However, kicker Gary Anderson, who had gone 35 for 35 in the regular season, missed a 38-yard attempt. The Falcons subsequently marched downfield and scored the game-tying touchdown several plays later.
A curious footnote to the game is that Viking Head Coach Dennis Green has been criticized for opting to take a knee on a third-down deep in Viking territory with about 30 seconds remaining rather than risk having to punt back to Atlanta following their game-tying touchdown. Minnesota won the coin-toss in overtime but failed to score in two overtime possessions. Atlanta eventually won 30-27 in overtime on Morten Andersen's field goal, which was, coincidentally, also a 38-yarder. Because of the decision to take a knee on the final play of regulation, the game has become known as the "Take a Knee Game" among many Viking fans.
Sports Illustrated magazine, the NFL network, and other publications usually name the Minnesota Vikings as one of, if not the most unlucky football franchises, often citing the 1998 team. The Vikings became the first 15-1 team to fail to reach the Super Bowl. In 2009 the team was the subject of a one-hour special on the NFL network called "Missing Rings" as one of the greatest teams in NFL history that didn't produce a Super Bowl Championship. Coincidentally, the 1969 Vikings were also named as a "Missing Ring" team, adding to the lore of the Vikings as a hard-luck team.
1998 Draft[edit | edit source]
|1||(21)||Randy Moss||Wide Receiver||Marshall|
|3||(80)||Ramos McDonald||Cornerback||New Mexico|
|4||(110)||Kivuusama Mays||Linebacker||North Carolina|
|7||(225)||Tony Darden||Cornerback||Texas Tech|
Personnel[edit | edit source]
Staff[edit | edit source]
|1998 Minnesota Vikings staff|
Special Teams Coaches
Strength and Conditioning
Regular season[edit | edit source]
Schedule[edit | edit source]
|1||1998-09-06||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W 31-7||Metrodome||1-0|
|2||1998-09-13||at St. Louis Rams||W 38-31||Trans World Dome||2-0|
|3||1998-09-20||Detroit Lions||W 29-6||Metrodome||3-0|
|4||1998-09-27||at Chicago Bears||W 31-28||Soldier Field||4-0|
|5||1998-10-05||at Green Bay Packers||W 37-24||Lambeau Field||5-0|
|7||1998-10-18||Washington Redskins||W 41-7||Metrodome||6-0|
|8||1998-10-25||at Detroit Lions||W 34-13||Pontiac Silverdome||7-0|
|9||1998-11-01||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||L 24-27||Raymond James Stadium||7-1|
|10||1998-11-08||New Orleans Saints||W 31-24||Metrodome||8-1|
|11||1998-11-15||Cincinnati Bengals||W 24-3||Metrodome||9-1|
|12||1998-11-22||Green Bay Packers||W 28-14||Metrodome||10-1|
|13||1998-11-26||at Dallas Cowboys||W 46-36||Texas Stadium||11-1|
|14||1998-12-06||Chicago Bears||W 48-22||Metrodome||12-1|
|15||1998-12-13||at Baltimore Ravens||W 38-28||Ravens Stadium||13-1|
|16||1998-12-20||Jacksonville Jaguars||W 50-10||Metrodome||14-1|
|17||1998-12-26||at Tennessee Oilers||W 26-16||Vanderbilt Stadium||15-1|
Standings[edit | edit source]
Playoffs[edit | edit source]
|Divisional Playoff||1999-01-09||Arizona Cardinals||W 41-21||Metrodome|
|NFC Championship||1999-01-17||Atlanta Falcons||L 27-30 (OT)||Metrodome|
Best performances[edit | edit source]
- Randall Cunningham, 442 passing yards vs. Green Bay, (October 5) 
- Randy Moss, 3 receptions 163 yards, 3 TD at Dallas, (November 28)
Rosters[edit | edit source]
Position roster[edit | edit source]
|1998 Vikings Roster By Position|
‡Player was named to the Pro Bowl
Numeric roster[edit | edit source]
|1998 Vikings Numeric Roster|
1 Gary Anderson K
29 Charles Evans FB
55 Bobby Houston LB
73 Todd Steussie T
Awards and records[edit | edit source]
- Randy Moss, Led Rookies in Receiving Yards, (1,313 yards)  Moss also set the record for most receiving touchdowns for a rookie, 17, a record that still stands today.
- The Vikings became just the third team to post a 15-1 win-loss record since the implementation of the 16-game schedule in 1978. They joined the 1984 San Francisco 49ers and the 1985 Chicago Bears, but became the first of those teams to fail to win the Super Bowl.
- The Vikings' high-powered offense set a record, which stood until the 2007 season, for most points scored in a season with 556. They eclipsed the 1983 Washington Redskins, who scored 541. The 2007 New England Patriots beat the record by scoring 589 points.
References[edit | edit source]
- 1998 DVOA Ratings and Commentary
- 2009 Minnesota Vikings Media Guide. p. 251. http://www.vikings.com/news/media-guide.html. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 440
- Randy Moss