The 2006Minnesota Vikings season began with the team trying to improve on their 9–7 record in 2005 which was the last under embattled head coach Mike Tice. It ended with the team posting a 6–10 record and Brad Childress (apparently) convincing new owner Zygi Wilf that it was a rebuilding year.
The Vikings start the regular season on the road against the Washington Redskins on September 11, the first game of a Monday Night Footballdoubleheader on opening weekend. The Vikes would draw first blood as RB Chester Taylor helped Minnesota score on their opening drive with a 4-yard TD run However, during the extra-point try, Chris Kluwe fumbled the snap and instead tried to go for a two-point conversion, which failed. The Vikings lead would be cut in half later in the quarter, as Redskins kicker John Hall made a 27-yard field goal. In the second quarter, things were starting to look grim for the Vikings, as RB Clinton Portis and Kicker John Hall provided the Redskins a 5-yard TD run and another 27-yard field goal to make the score 13-6. The Vikings would respod with a last-second field goal by Kicker Ryan Longwell (from 46 yards out) as time ran out on the first half. In the third quarter, the Vikings would greatly respond as QB Brad Johnson threw a 20-yard TD pass to WR Marcus Robinson to give Minnesota a 16-13 lead. However, the Redskins would tie the game up on a 22-yard field goal by John Hall. Late in the fourth quarter, Longwell gave the Vikings a 19-16 lead, as kicked a 31-yard field goal. During the final minute of the game, the Vikes held their ground and hung on to give Brad Childress his first head coaching win, as opposing kicker John Hall missed a 48-yard field goal.
In their Week 2 home-opener, the Vikings faced the Carolina Panthers in a low-scoring fight. The Vikings would draw first blood with a 26-yard field goal by kicker Ryan Longwell. In the second quarter, Carolina got a field goal with opposing kicker John Kasay. The Vikings would respond with another Longwell field goal (a 22-yard FG), but they fell before halftime with opposing RB DeAngelo Williams getting a 3-yard run for the Panthers. The Vikings trailed a bit further in the third quarter, as Karney kicked a 26-yard field goal. The Vikings started their own comeback. In the fourth quarter, Longwell faked a field goal try and threw a 16-yard TD pass to FB Richard Owens to tie the game up going into overtime. In OT, Longwell booted the game-winning 19-yard field goal to give Minnesota the win. it was the first time in Vikings history that a coach started 2-0 in his first year.
Staying at home, the Vikings played a fierce NFC North fight with the Chicago Bears. In the first quarter, Minnesota got on the board first with kicker Ryan Longwell completing a 31-yard field goal. The Bears would tie the game, as kicker Robbie Gould completed a 41-yard field goal. In the second quarter, Longwell would give the Vikings a small lead, as he nailed a 26-yard field goal for the only score of the period. In the third quarter, Minnesota began to trail, as Gould kicked a 24-yard and a 31-yard field goal to give Chicago a small lead. In the fourth quarter, the Vikings retook the lead as CB Antoine Winfield returned an interception 7 yards for a touchdown. Gould would give the Bears a 49-yard field goal, but Longwell answered with a 41-yard field goal for the Vikings. The Vikings fell to their doom, as Chester Taylor fumbled and the Bears QB Rex Grossman completed a 24-yard TD pass to WR Rashied Davis, which would give the Vikings their first loss of the year. Of the first five games played by the Bears in the 2006 season, this was the closest game. All others have been decided by at least 26 points.
Hoping to rebound from last week's heart-breaking loss, the Vikings traveled to Ralph Wilson Stadium for a match-up with the Buffalo Bills. In the first quarter, the Vikings drew first blood as kicker Ryan Longwell nailed a 37-yard field goal for the only score of the period. In the second quarter, Minnesota got into a tiny hole, as Bills RB Willis McGahee got a 1-yard TD run. Longwell would give the Vikings a 49-yard field goal as time ran out of the first half, but in the third quarter, the Vikes found themselves in a bit of a hole, as Buffalo QB J.P. Losman connected with WR Peerless Price on an 8-yard TD pass for the only score of the period. In the fourth quarter, Minnesota trailed even further, as Bills kicker Rian Lindell got a 28-yard field goal. The Vikings would try and comeback, as QB Brad Johnson completed a 29-yard TD pass to WR Marcus Robinson. The two-point conversion failed and during their next drive, they ran out of time. With their loss, the Vikings fell to 2-2.
After dropping two straight games, the Vikings came home for an NFC North fight with the Detroit Lions. The Vikings struck first with a 26 yard field goal which would be the only points scored in the first quarter. The Vikings wouldn't score again until the 4th quarter. Detroit got close but Napoleon Harris got his first interception of his five year career at the end of the 1st. In the second quarter, Detroit quarterback Jon Kitna ran 8 yards to score a touchdown putting the Lions ahead 7-3. Detroit's next drive would result in a field goal to put them ahead 10-3. In the 3rd quarter, Detroit would recover a Viking funble and then go on to score another touchdown to bring their lead to 17-3. In the first minute of the 4th quarter, Viking's Travis Taylor scored a touchdown after a three-yard pass to bring the score to 17-10. The Lion's next drive would end in a forced fumble when Pat Williams burst through the line untouched, and Jon Kitna lost the ball which was picked up by Viking's Ben Leber and he would run it in for a touchdown, but the extra point was blocked leaving the score at 17-16. Later, the Viking's scored a 20 yard field goal to take the lead 19-17. Detroit would then throw an interception on fourth and ten to E.J. Henderson who would run 45 yards to score a touchdown bringing the score to 26-17 and the Vikings Darren Sharper got an interception in the last minute to seal the victory, bringing their record up to 3-2.
Coming off their Bye Week, the Vikings flew to Qwest Field and took on the Seattle Seahawks. In the first quarter, the Vikes drew first blood with kicker Ryan Longwell nailing a 33-yard field goal. Afterwards, the Seahawks responded with QB Matt Hasselbeck completing a 72-yard TD pass to WR Darrell Jackson. In the second quarter, Seattle improved its lead with kicker Josh Brown kicking a 42-yard field goal. Minnesota responded with QB Brad Johnson completing a 40-yard TD pass to WR Marcus Robinson. In the third quarter, the Vikings managed to retake the lead with RB Mewelde Moore throwing a 15-yard option pass to TE Jermaine Wiggins, while RB Chester Taylor ran 95 yards for a touchdown (the longest rushing TD play in franchise history). In the fourth quarter, the Seahawks would have Brown kick a 26-yard field goal. The Vikes pulled away and won with DT Kevin Williams recovering a Seattle fumble in their endzone. With the win, Minnesota improved to 4-2.
The Pats, who came out passing instead of bothering to even try challenging the Vikings rush defense, got out to an early lead on the opening drive as QB Tom Brady hit WR Reche Caldwell for a 6 yard touchdown pass. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski connected on a 23 yard field goal early in the second quarter. Brady threw his second of what would turn out to be four touchdown passes, this time to TE Benjamin Watson just before halftime to give the Pats a 17-0 lead. The Vikes finally got on the board as RB Mewelde Moore returned a punt 71 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter. That would be all the Vikes could muster as Brady threw his final two touchdowns to WR's Troy Brown and Chad Jackson respectively to close out the scoring.
Hoping to rebound from their disappointing home loss to the Patriots, the Vikings flew to Monster Park for a Week 9 clash with the San Francisco 49ers. In the first quarter, the Vikings would draw blood, as kicker Ryan Longwell completed a 21-yard field goal for the only score of the period. In the second quarter, the 49ers get two Joe Nedney field goals (a 25-yarder and a 30-yarder) and take the lead. After a scoreless third quarter, Nedney would put the game away for San Francisco as he nailed a 51-yard field goal. With yet another disappointing loss, the Vikes fell 4-4.
Trying to end their two-game skid, the Vikings flew home for an NFC North fight with the Green Bay Packers. In the first quarter, the Vkings trailed early as Packers kicker Dave Rayner nailed a 20-yard field goal, while QB Brett Favre completed a 5-yard TD pass to RB Noah Herron. In the second quarter, the Vikes took the lead as QB Brad Johnson completed a 40-yard TD pass to WR Billy McMullen. Afterwards, McMullen recovered a fumble within the Packers end zone for another touchdown. However, Green Bay retook the lead with Favre completing an 82-yard TD pass to WR Donald Driver. In the third quarter, Rayner helped the Packers with a 24-yard field goal for the only score of the period. In the fourth quarter, Rayner would boot one more field goal for Green Bay, as he kicked a 29-yard field goal. Minnesota tried to fight back, but all they could get was kicker Ryan Longwell nailing a 34-yard field goal. With their third-straight loss, the Vikings fell to 4-5.
Trying to stop a three-game skid, the Vikings flew to Dolphin Stadium for an interconference fight with the Miami Dolphins. In the first quarter, the Vikes struck first with RB Chester Taylor getting a 1-yard TD run for the only score of the period. However, in the second quarter, the Dolphins took the lead with kicker Olindo Mare getting a 44-yard field goal, while QB Joey Harrington completed a 11-yard TD pass to TE Justin Peelle. In the third quarter, Minnesota tied the game with kicker Ryan Longwell nailing a 35-yard field goal. Afterwards, in the fourth quarter, Longwell would kick a 19-yard field goal to help the Vikings retake the lead. However, Miami's defense made some huge stops on the Vikes, with Free Safety Renaldo Hill returning a fumble 48 yards for a touchdown, while DE Jason Taylor returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown. The only response that Minnesota could whip up was on the final offensive play of the game, as Taylor got another 1-yard TD run. With their fourth-straight loss, the Vikings fell 4-6.
Hoping to end their four-game skid, the Vikings returned home for a Week 12 fight against the Arizona Cardinals. This game was notable for the return of Head Coach Dennis Green, who formerly coached the Vikings and now works for the Cardinals. Right out of the gate, the Vikes trailed early as Cardinals RB J.J. Arrington returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. The Vikings would respond with RB Chester Taylor getting a 1-yard TD run. In the second quarter, Cards kicker Neil Rackers helped increase Arizona's lead with a 21-yard and a 50-yard field goal. Afterwards, Minnesota struck back with QB Brad Johnson completing a 17-yard TD pass to WR Marcus Robinson. In the third quarter, the Vikings took the lead with Johnson completing a 9-yard TD pass to rookie WR Billy McMullen, while kicker Ryan Longwell nailed a 40-yard field goal. In the fourth quarter, the Vikes managed to put the icing on the game with Johnson completing a 3-yard TD pass to FB Jeff Dugan. The Cardinals tried to fight back, with Strong Safety Adrian Wilson returning a fumble 99 yards for a touchdown (with a failed two-point conversion) and QB Matt Leinart completing a 9-yard TD pass to WR Anquan Boldin. Minnesota held on to snap its four-game losing streak. With the win, the Vikings improved to 5-6.
Trying to build on their win over the Cardinals, the Vikings flew to Soldier Field for an NFC North rematch with the Chicago Bears. After a scoreless first quarter, the Bears drew first blood in the second quarter with DB Devin Hester returning a punt 45 yards for a touchdown. Afterwards, Minnesota had kicker Ryan Longwell nail a 23-yard field goal. In the third quarter, Longwell would kick a 30-yard field goal, but that would be as close as the Vikings got to Chicago in the game, because after Longwell's field goal, the Bears took over with DB Ricky Manning, Jr. returning an interception 54 yards for a touchdown, while RB Cedric Benson got a 24-yard TD run. By the time the fourth quarter came around, QB Brad Johnson was benched for the game, due to throwing four interceptions. Back-Up QB Brooks Bollinger took over, but he fare any better, as he got sacked in his own end zone by NT Tank Johnson for a safety. Afterwards, the Vikings would have their only successful drive of the game with RB Ciatrick Fason getting a 4-yard TD run. Afterwards, Bollinger would get his left arm sprained during a sack, so rookie QB Tarvaris Jackson came in to finish the game. With the loss, Minnesota fell to 5-7.
After getting swept by the Bears, the Vikings flew to Ford Field for an NFC North rematch with the Detroit Lions. In the first quarter, RB Artose Pinner (a former Lion) helped Minnesota gain an early lead with a 3-yard and a 4-yard TD run. In the second quarter, QB Brad Johnson got a 3-yard TD run, yet it was followed up with a failed 2-point conversion. Detroit would retaliate with DB Jamar Fletcher returning an interception 88 yards for a touchdown, while kicker Jason Hanson kicked a 53-yard field goal. In the third quarter, the Vikes got a 30-yard field goal from kicker Ryan Longwell, yet Detroit's Hanson nailed a 45-yard field goal. In the fourth quarter, Pinner helped wrap the game up with a 1-yard TD run. Even though Lions QB Jon Kitna would complete a 23-yard TD pass to RB Kevin Jones, Minnesota held on to sweep Detroit. With the win, the Vikings improved to 6-7.
Following their win over the Lions, the Vikings went home for a Week 15 interconference fight with the New York Jets. In the first quarter, the Vikes took an early lead with QB Brad Johnson completing a 30-yard TD pass to WR Travis Taylor. However, the Jets struck back with RB Cedric Houston with a 6-yard TD run. In the second quarter, things got bad for Minnesota. First, New York got a 25-yard field goal from kicker Mike Nugent. Then, QB Chad Pennington completed a 21-yard TD pass to WR Laveranues Coles. Afterwards, Nugent would kick a 52-yard and a 45-yard field goal. In the third quarter, the Jets' lead increased with Nugent's 20-yard field goal for the only score of the period. In the fourth quarter, rookie QB Tarvaris Jackson came in a completed a 35-yard TD pass to RB Mewelde Moore. That would be the only response from the Purple People Eaters. With the loss, the Vikings fell to 6-8.
Trying to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, the Vikings flew to Lambeau Field for an NFC North rematch with the Green Bay Packers in a Thursday night fight. For this game, Minnesota gave rookie QB Tarvaris Jackson the start. In the first half, the Packers took an early lead as kicker Dave Rayner nailed a 38-yard field goal in the first quarter and a 44-yard field goal in the second quarter. In the third quarter, the Vikes took the lead with CB Fred Smoot returning an interception 47 yards for a touchdown. In the fourth quarter, Rayner gave Green Bay the win with a 44-yard field goal. With the loss, not only did the Vikings fall to 6-9, but they also got eliminated from the NFC playoff race.
A huge cause for Minnesota's loss was that the offense was only able to get three first downs the entire game. Also, keeping with the fact that the Vikings are the most penalized team in the league this season, they committed 10 penalties for a loss of 68 yards.
Trying to end their season on a high note, the Vikings went home for a Week 17 intraconference fight with the St. Louis Rams. In the first quarter, Minnesota trailed early as Rams DB Ronald Bartell returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown. Also, kicker Jeff Wilkins helped St. Louis with a 42-yard field goal. Afterwards, the Vikings managed to score with QB Tarvaris Jackson getting a 1-yard TD run. However, in the second quarter, things got worse for the Vikes as Rams RB Steven Jackson got a 4-yard TD run and even a 10-yard TD pass from QB Marc Bulger. In the third quarter, things continued to get worse for Minnesota as Wilkins kicked a 53-yard field goal, while Jackson got a 2-yard TD run. In the fourth quarter, St. Louis wrapped up its domination with Jackson with a 59-yard TD run. Afterwards, the Vikes got its remaining points with RB Chester Taylor getting a 1-yard TD run, while Tarvaris Jackson completed a 3-yard TD pass to WR Travis Taylor. With three-straight losses to close out the season, the Vikings finished at 6-10.