1998 Minnesota Vikings season
Head Coach Dennis Green
Home Field Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Record 15–1
Place 1st NFC Central
Playoff Finish Won NFC Divisional Playoff
Lost NFC Championship
Pro Bowlers 10
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1997 1999

1998 was the 38th year of season play for the Minnesota Vikings and the 79th regular season of the National Football League.

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.

File:Vikings at PB.JPG

Ten Vikings (not all pictured) were named to the 1999 Pro Bowl.

According to Football Outsiders, "The Vikings led the league with 52 plays of 25+ yards. They had 22 offensive plays of 40+ yards; no other team had more than 16 plays of that length."[1]

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]

Round Pick Name Position College
1 (21) Randy Moss Wide Receiver Marshall
2 (51) Kailee Wong Linebacker Stanford
3 (80) Ramos McDonald Cornerback New Mexico
4 (110) Kivuusama Mays Linebacker North Carolina
5 (144) Kerry Cooks Safety Iowa
6 (173) Matt Birk Center Harvard
7 (208) Chester Burnett Linebacker Arizona
7 (225) Tony Darden Cornerback Texas Tech

Personnel[edit | edit source]

Staff[edit | edit source]

1998 Minnesota Vikings staff
Front Office
  • Owner – Red McCombs
  • President – Gary Woods
  • Executive Vice President/General Manager – Tim Connolly

Head Coaches

Offensive Coaches

  • Offensive Coordinator – Brian Billick
  • Quarterbacks – Chip Myers
  • Running Backs – Carl Hargrave
  • Wide Receivers – Hubbard Alexander
  • Tight Ends – Dave Atkins
  • Offensive Line – Mike Tice
  • Coaching Assistant – Wade Harman

Defensive Coaches

  • Defensive Coordinator – Foge Fazio
  • Defensive Line – Andre Patterson
  • Inside Linebackers – Tom Olivadotti
  • Outside Linebackers – Trent Walters
  • Defensive Backs – Richard Solomon

Special Teams Coaches

Strength and Conditioning

  • Strength and Conditioning – Steve Wetzel
  • Assistant Strength and Conditioning – Jeff Friday


Regular season[edit | edit source]

Schedule[edit | edit source]

Week Date Opponent Result Venue Record Attendance
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
6 Bye week
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]

Template:1998 NFC Central standings

Playoffs[edit | edit source]

Week Date Opponent Result Venue Attendance
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) [3]
  • 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

7 Randall Cunningham
14 Brad Johnson
11 Jay Fiedler

Running Backs
26 Robert Smith
44 Leroy Hoard
22 David Palmer
21 Moe Williams

29 Charles Evans
33 Harold Morrow

Wide Receivers
80 Cris Carter
84 Randy Moss
86 Jake Reed
89 Matthew Hatchette
81 Chris Walsh
83 Robert Tate
18 Tony Bland

‡Player was named to the Pro Bowl


Tight Ends
82 Andrew Glover
87 Hunter Goodwin

73 Todd Steussie
77 Korey Stringer
76 Chris Liwienski
75 Matt Birk

64 Randall McDaniel
71 David Dixon
61 Everett Lindsay
74 Orlando Bobo

62 Jeff Christy
68 Mike Morris


Defensive Ends
90 Derrick Alexander
92 Duane Clemons
99 Stalin Colinet
98 Ben Williams

Defensive Tackles
93 John Randle
96 Jerry Ball
94 Tony Williams
72 Jason Fisk

58 Ed McDaniel
57 Dwayne Rudd
59 Dixon Edwards
56 Pete Bercich
55 Bobby Houston
43 Greg Briggs
53 Kivuusama Mays
52 Kailee Wong


24 Robert Griffith
42 Orlando Thomas
31 Duane Butler
23 Torrian Gray

37 Jimmy Hitchcock
27 Corey Fuller
38 Anthony Bass
34 Ramos McDonald

1 Gary Anderson

17 Mitch Berger

Numeric roster[edit | edit source]

1998 Vikings Numeric Roster

1 Gary Anderson K
7 Randall Cunningham QB
8 Todd Bouman QB
11 Jay Fiedler QB
14 Brad Johnson QB
17 Mitch Berger P
18 Tony Bland WR
22 David Palmer RB
24 Robert Griffith S
26 Robert Smith RB
27 Corey Fuller CB


29 Charles Evans FB
30 Antonio Banks S
31 Duane Butler S
33 Harold Morrow FB
34 Ramos McDonald CB
37 Jimmy Hitchcock CB
38 Antony Bass CB
42 Orlando Thomas S
43 Greg Briggs LB
44 Leroy Hoard RB
53 Kivuusama Mays LB


55 Bobby Houston LB
56 Pete Bercich LB
57 Dwayne Rudd LB
58 Ed McDaniel LB
59 Dixon Edwards LB
61 Everett Lindsay G
62 Jeff Christy C
64 Randall McDaniel G
68 Mike Morris C
71 David Dixon G
72 Jason Fisk DT


73 Todd Steussie T
74 Orlando Bobo G
75 Matt Birk c
76 Chris Liwienski T
77 Korey Stringer T
80 Cris Carter WR
81 Chris Walsh WR
82 Andrew Glover TE
83 Robert Tate WR
84 Randy Moss WR
85 Greg DeLong TE


86 Jake Reed WR
87 Hunter Goodwin TE
89 Matthew Hatchette WR
90 Derrick Alexander DE
92 Duane Clemons DE
93 John Randle DT
94 Tony Williams DT
96 Jerry Ball DT
98 Ben Williams DE
99 Stalin Colinet DE

Awards and records[edit | edit source]

  • Randy Moss, Led Rookies in Receiving Yards, (1,313 yards) [3] Moss also set the record for most receiving touchdowns for a rookie, 17, a record that still stands today.[5]
  • 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]

  1. 1998 DVOA Ratings and Commentary
  2. 2009 Minnesota Vikings Media Guide. p. 251. http://www.vikings.com/news/media-guide.html. Retrieved 2010-02-26. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 440
  4. http://www.maxwellfootballclub.org/content/awards/bell/past_bell.htm
  5. Randy Moss
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