|Established 1961 |
Play in U.S. Bank Stadium,
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
National Football League (1961–present)
|Team colors|| Purple, Gold, and White|
|Fight song||Skol, Vikings|
|Mascot||Viktor the Viking & Ragnar|
|General Manager||Rick Spielman|
|Head Coach||Mike Zimmer|
Team Nicknames The Vikes, The Purple People Eaters
|League Championships (1)|
| Conference Championships (4)
| Division Championships (20)
The team plays its home games at U.S. Bank Stadium in the Downtown East section of Minneapolis. Thhey had previously played their home games at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis from 1982 until 2013, when demolition began on the Metrodome, as the team would play their home games at TCF Bank Stadium for two seasons (2014, 2015) as consturction began their present location, which was completed and opened in 2016.
Prior to 1982, the team had called Metropolitan Stadium in suburban Bloomington home, since their inaugural season of 1961. The Vikings conducted summer training camp at Bemidji State University from 1961–65; in 1966, they moved their training camp to Minnesota State University in Mankato, where it has been ever since.
On May 25, 2012, a plan received final approval to build a new stadium for the Vikings, tentatively with a retractable roof, at approximately the same location as the Metrodome. The stadium is tentatively scheduled to open for the 2015 season, and would require the Vikings to move to TCF Bank Stadium for one season.
Throughout the Vikings' history, they have had one of the highest winning percentages in the NFL. They are also one of only five NFL teams to win 15 games during the regular season. The Vikings have won one NFL championship, in 1969, prior to the league's merger with the American Football League (AFL). Since the merger, they have made the playoffs 24 times, third most in the league. The team has played in four Super Bowls, but lost each time. The team currently has ten members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Fran Tarkenton, Alan Page, Bud Grant, Jim Finks, Paul Krause, Ron Yary, Carl Eller, Gary Zimmerman, Randall McDaniel, and John Randle.
- Main article: History of the Minnesota Vikings
Professional football in the Minneapolis – Saint Paul area (the "Twin Cities") began with the Minneapolis Marines/Red Jackets, an NFL team that played intermittently in the 1920s–30s. However, a new professional team in the area did not surface again until August 1959, when Minneapolis businessmen Bill Boyer, H. P. Skoglund, and Max Winter were awarded a franchise in the new American Football League (AFL). Five months later in January 1960, after significant pressure from the NFL, the ownership group, along with Bernie Ridder, reneged on its agreement with the AFL and then was awarded the National Football League's 14th franchise with play to begin in 1961. Ole Haugsrud was added to the NFL team ownership because of it had the most talented players in NFL since the 1920s when he sold his Duluth Eskimos team back to the league. The agreement allowed him 10% of any future Minnesota team. Coincidentally or not, the teams from Ole Haugsrud's high school, Central High School in Superior, WI, were also called the Vikings and their school colors were similarly purple and yellow.
The team was officially named the Minnesota Vikings on September 27, 1960; the name is partly meant to reflect Minnesota's place as a center of Scandinavian-American culture. From the start, the Vikings embraced an energetic marketing program that produced a first-year season ticket sales of nearly 26,000 and an average home attendance of 34,586, about 85 percent of the capacity of 40,800 for Metropolitan Stadium. Eventually Met Stadium capacity was increased to 47,900. The search for the first head coach had the team court then-Northwestern head coach Ara Parseghian, who according to Minneapolis Star writer Jim Klobuchar—the Vikings' first beat reporter for that newspaper—visited team management in the Twin Cities under the condition that his visit was to be kept secret from his current employer. His cover was blown by local columnist Sid Hartman who reported the visit and forced Parseghian to issue denials. Philadelphia Eagles assistant Nick Skorich and a man with Minnesota ties who was working in the CFL, Bud Grant, were also candidates until a different Eagle, quarterback Norm Van Brocklin, was hired on January 18, 1961. Van Brocklin had just finished his career as a player on a high note, having defeated the Green Bay Packers in the 1960 NFL championship.
With the first overall selection in the 1961 NFL Draft, the Vikings selected running back Tommy Mason of Tulane. They took a young quarterback from the Georgia named Fran Tarkenton in the third round. Notable veterans acquired in the offseason expansion draft were George Shaw and Hugh McElhenny. The Vikings won their first regular season game, defeating the Chicago Bears 37–13 on Opening Day 1961. Tarkenton came off the bench to throw four touchdown passes and run for another to lead the upset. Reality set in as the expansion team lost its next seven games on their way to a 3–11 record. The losing continued throughout much of the 60s as the Vikings had a combined record of 32 wins, 59 losses, and 7 ties in their first 7 seasons with only one winning season (8–5–1 in 1964).
On March 7, 1967, quarterback Fran Tarkenton was traded to the New York Giants for a 1st and 2nd-round draft choice in 1967, a 1st-round choice in 1968 and a 2nd-round choice in 1969. With the picks Minnesota selected Clinton Jones and Bob Grim in 1967, Ron Yary in 1968 and Ed White in 1969. Three days later on March 10, the Vikings hired new head coach Bud Grant to replace Van Brocklin, who had resigned on February 11, 1967. Grant came to the Vikings from the Canadian Football League as head coach for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, whom he led to four Grey Cup Championships in 10 years. During the late 1960s, the Vikings were building a powerful defense known as the Purple People Eaters, led by Alan Page, Carl Eller, Gary Larsen, and Jim Marshall. In 1968, that stingy defense earned the Vikings their first Central Division title and their first playoff berth.
In 1969 the Vikings went 12–2, the best record in the NFL, and had 12 straight regular season victories, after a season-opening loss to the New York Giants, which was the longest single-season winning streak in 35 years. The Vikings defeated the Cleveland Browns, 27–7, in the last NFL Championship Game on Jan. 4, 1970, at Metropolitan Stadium. Minnesota became the first modern NFL expansion team to win an NFL Championship Game, and earned a berth in Super Bowl IV. The heavily favored Vikings lost that game to the Kansas City Chiefs 23–7.
The team continued to shine in 1970 and 1971 as their "Purple People Eater" defense led them back to the playoffs. In 1971 the defense was so impressive that Alan Page became only the third defensive player to win the NFL Most Valuable Player Award (the Colts' Gino Marchetti was the AP MVP in 1958 and the Lions' Joe Schmidt was co MVP in 1960).
In 1972 the Vikings traded Norm Snead, Bob Grim, Vince Clements and a 1st-round choice in '72 and '73 to the New York Giants to reacquire the popular Tarkenton. While the acquisitions of Fran Tarkenton and wide receiver John Gilliam improved the passing attack, the running game was inconsistent and the Vikings finished with a disappointing 7-7 record. The Vikings addressed the problem by drafting running back Chuck Foreman with their first pick in the 1973 draft. Co owner Bill Boyer died in 1972 and was replaced on the team's board of directors by his son-in-law Jack Steele.
The Vikings won their first 9 games of 1973 and finished the season with a 12-2 record. In the playoffs they defeated the Washington Redskins 27-20 and the Dallas Cowboys 27-10. On January 13, 1974, the Vikings played in the 2nd Super Bowl in franchise history, Super Bowl VIII, against the Miami Dolphins at Rice Stadium in Houston, TX. The Dolphins prevailed, 24-7.
The Vikings won the Central Division again in 1974 with a 10-4 record. In the playoffs they built on their cold weather reputation, defeating both the Cardinals 30-14 and the Rams 14-10 in frozen Metropolitan Stadium. The Vikings played in their 2nd straight Super Bowl, Super Bowl IX (3rd overall), losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 16-6, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans on January 12, 1975.
In 1975, the Vikings, led by Tarkenton and running back Chuck Foreman, got off to a 10-0 start and easily won another division title. However, the Vikings lost to the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs, 17-14, on a controversial touchdown pass from the Cowboys' quarterback Roger Staubach to wide receiver Drew Pearson that became known as the Hail Mary.
The Vikings played in their 3rd Super Bowl (4th overall) in 4 years against the Oakland Raiders at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on January 9, 1977. The Vikings, however, couldn't break their bad luck in the Super Bowl. Minnesota lost, 32-14. The Vikings earned their trip to Super Bowl XI by defeating the Rams, 24-13, at Metropolitan Stadium on December 26, 1976, in what ended up being the last Vikings playoff game at the Met. Co owner Ole Haugsrud died in March 1976 and his widow Margaret took his place on the team's board of directors. In 1977, team attorney Sheldon Kaplan replaced Ridder on the board. In 1978, John Skoglund replaced his father on the team's board of director and general manager Mike Lynn replaced Margaret Haugsrud on the board.
In 1977 the Vikings again won the Central Division with a 9-5 record. After years of beating the Los Angeles Rams in frozen Metropolitan Stadium, they finally had to go to Los Angeles for a playoff game. Instead of bright sunshine there was heavy rains that turned the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum into a mud bath and the Vikings prevailed 14-7. On January 1, 1978, the Vikings played the Dallas Cowboys in their 4th NFC Championship Game in 5 years at Texas Stadium. Minnesota lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champs, 23-6.
By 1978 age was taking its toll on the Vikings, but they still made the playoffs with an 8-7-1 record. There was no more playoff magic as the Rams finally defeated the Vikings, 34-10 in Los Angeles.
On May 15, 1981, the Vikings moved into a new facility in suburban Eden Prairie, that houses the team's offices, locker room and practice fields. The complex was named "Winter Park" after Max Winter, one of the Vikings founders who served as the team's president from 1965-87. The Vikings played their 1st game at the Metrodome in a preseason matchup against Seattle on Aug. 21, 1982. Minnesota prevailed, 7-3. The 1st touchdown in the new facility was scored by Joe Senser on an 11-yard pass from Tommy Kramer. The 1st regular-season game in the Metrodome was the 1982 opener on September 12, when the Vikings defeated Tampa Bay, 17-10. Rickey Young scored the 1st regular-season touchdown in the facility on a 3-yard run in the 2nd quarter.
The Vikings and St. Louis Cardinals played the first American football game in London's Wembley Stadium in a preseason game on August 6, 1983. The game was the dubbed the "Global Cup". The Vikings won 28-10. This was three years before the NFL started the American Bowl series. On January 27, 1984, Bud Grant retired as Head Coach of the Vikings. In 17 seasons Grant led Minnesota to 12 playoff appearances, 11 division titles and 4 Super Bowls. His career regular-season record was 151-87-5 (.632). The person that would take his place would be Les Steckel.
Les Steckel, who was an offensive assistant with the Vikings for 5 seasons, was named the 3rd head coach in franchise history on January 29, 1984. Steckel, who came to the Vikings in 1979 after working as an assistant with the 49ers, was the youngest head coach in the NFL in 1984 at age 38. The Vikings lost a franchise-worst 13 games in Steckel's only season as head coach. including a 51-7 drubbing by the eventual Super Bowl Champion Forty Niners. After the season, Steckel was fired and on December 18, 1984, Bud Grant was re-hired as the head coach of the Vikings.
On January 6, 1986, following the 1985 season, Bud Grant re-retired as head coach of the Vikings. At the time of his retirement he was the 6th winningest coach in NFL history with 168 career wins, including playoffs. In 18 seasons he led the Vikings to a 158-96-5 regular season record. Longtime Vikings assistant coach Jerry Burns was named the 4th head coach in team history on January 7, 1986. He served as the Vikings offensive coordinator from 1968-85, when the team won 11 division titles and played in 4 Super Bowls. In his first season, the Vikings led by the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Tommy Kramer, went 9-7, their first winning record in 4 years. In his second season, he led the Vikings to the NFC championship game.
Following the strike-shortened 1987 season, the 8-7 Vikings --- who had finished 8-4 in regular games but 0-3 using strike-replacement players --- pulled two upsets in the playoffs by beating the two teams with the best regular season records. They beat the 12-3 New Orleans Saints, 44-10, at the Superdome in the Wild Card Playoff game. The following week, in the Divisional Playoff game, they beat the 13-2 San Francisco 49ers, 36-24, at Candlestick Park. During that game Anthony Carter set the all-time record for most receiving yards in a playoff game with 227 yards. The Vikings played the Washington Redskins in the NFC Championship Game on January 17, 1988, at RFK Stadium. Trailing 17-10, the Vikings drove to the Redskins' 6-yard line with a little over a minute left in the game but failed to get the ball into the end zone. Darrein Nelson dropped a pass at the goal line from quarterback Wade Wilson to officially end the Vikings' hopes of a Super Bowl. Nelson would later be traded to the Dallas Cowboys in possibly the worst trade in NFL history, the Herschel Walker deal. Later, the Vikings and Chicago Bears played a preseason game in Gothenburg, Sweden on August 14, 1988. The Vikings won 28-21.
The Vikings ' board of directors added four new members in 1988. Wheelock Whitney, Jaye Dyer, Irwin Jacobs and Carl Pohlad. They joined Max Winter, John Skoglund, Jack Steele, Sheldon Kaplan and Mike Lynn. Whitney became the new team president, replacing Winter. Winter left the board in 1989 and was replaced by Gerald Schwalbach.
The Vikings would make what would be considered its biggest personnel blunder in team history. On October 12, 1989, the Vikings acquired Herschel Walker from Dallas. The final result of the trade gave the Vikings Walker, a 3rd round choice (Mike Jones), a 5th round choice (Reggie Thornton), and 10th-round choice (Pat Newman) in 1990, and a 3rd-round choice in 1991 (Jake Reed), while Dallas received Issiac Holt, David Howard, Darrin Nelson, Jesse Solomon, Alex Stewart, a 1st, 2nd and 6th-round choice in 1990, a 1st and 2nd-round choice in 1991 and a 1st, 2nd and 3rd-round choice in 1992. Two of those selections turned into Emmitt Smith and Darren Woodson. Herschel's performance fell short of expectations in his 3 seasons with the Vikings, while the Cowboys rode their draft picks to 3 Super Bowl victories in the early to mid 1990s.
Roger Headrick became team president on January 1, 1991. He along with Philip Maas joined the board of directors replacing Jack Steele and Sheldon Kaplan. On December 3, 1991, Jerry Burns announced his retirement. In 6 seasons as Head Coach of the Vikings, Burns compiled a career record of 52-43 (.547). He also led Minnesota to 3 playoff appearances, including a division title and an NFC Championship Game.
The ownership of the Vikings was restructured on December 16, 1991. Irwin Jacobs and Carl Pohlad sold their shares. The team was now owned by ten people: Roger Headrick (CEO and team president), John Skoglund (his family had owned part of the team since it was founded), Jaye Dyer, Philip Maas, Mike Lynn, Wheelock Whitney, James Binger, Bud Grossman, Elizabeth MacMillan and Carol Sperry. On January 10, 1992, Dennis Green was named the 5th Head Coach in team history. He came to Minnesota after turning around a struggling Stanford University football program as head coach from 1989-91. In his 10 seasons as the coach of the Vikings, Green won 4 NFC Central division titles, had 8 playoff appearances, 2 NFC Championship game appearances and an all-time record of 97-62.
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 of 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 his best NFL season ever, running back Robert Smith, veteran wide receiver Cris Carter, and explosive rookie Randy Moss, the Vikings set an 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.
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. However, kicker Gary Anderson, who had gone 35 for 35 in the regular season, missed a 38-yard attempt with less than 2 minutes remaining. That allowed the Falcons to tie the game. The Vikings had one more opportunity to score at the end of regulation, but Head Coach Dennis Green opted to down the ball and go to overtime (even though the Vikings had arguably the most potent offense in NFL history). Atlanta won the toss and went on to win it 30-27 in overtime on Morten Andersen's field goal, which was, coincidentally, also a 38-yarder. The Vikings became the first 15-1 team to fail to reach the Super Bowl.
Randall Cunningham resumed duties again in 1999, but after a lukewarm 2-4 start, Jeff George was given the starting job. He finished the season with an 8-2 record, and led the Vikings into the postseason once again, with an overall team record of 10-6. Minnesota beat Dallas in the Wild card game 27-10, and faced playoff newcomer Kurt Warner and the St. Louis Rams in the Divisional matchup. The game was a shootout which Minnesota led 17-14 at halftime, but the Rams outscored Minnesota 35 to 20 in the second half to win 49-37. St. Louis would go on to win Super Bowl XXXIV.
Led by first-year starting quarterback Daunte Culpepper, the Vikings had a season in which Robert Smith ran for a team record 1,521 yards and 7 touchdowns. The Vikings were 11-2 after 14 weeks, but slumped briefly, losing their last three to the Rams, Packers and Colts while Culpepper was hampered by injury. However, they would return to the playoffs again for the fifth straight year. After easily beating the Saints in the Divisional game 34-16, they were humiliated 41-0 by the New York Giants in the Conference Championship, and to top that, Robert Smith retired at the end of the year, after only playing eight NFL seasons.
Tragedy struck the Minnesota Vikings in the summer of 2001, when Offensive Lineman Korey Stringer died of heat stroke in training camp in Mankato, Minnesota. Although Minnesota has a reputation for cold weather, in late July and early August it can be very hot.
The 2001 season started off with a 24-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers. This would be the only win for Carolina in 2001, they ended up 1-15. Over the next sixteen weeks, wins for Minnesota were few and far between. Some season highlights included a 35-13 win over the rival Green Bay Packers in week six, and a week ten victory over the Giants in which Randy Moss pulled in 10 receptions for 171 yards and 3 touchdowns leading to a 28-16 victory. But despite having a 12th ranked offense, their defense was in the bottom five, and the Vikings finished 5-11.
After the disappointing season, Dennis Green, who had become a polarizing force in the Viking fan base despite his successful coaching tenure with the team, had his contract bought out. Mike Tice coached the final game of 2001, losing to the Ravens.
On January 10, 2002, Mike Tice was named the sixth Head Coach in Vikings history. Tice was the third of the six Vikings Head Coaches to be promoted from within the team's coaching ranks but was the first to have actually played for the Vikings.
In Tice's first season, the Vikings had a dismal 6-10 record, which he turned around in 2003 with a fast 6-0 start. However, the Vikings ended up going 3-7 the rest of the season, missing the playoffs when a touchdown reception on 4th-and-long by Arizona Cardinals receiver Nate Poole gave the Vikings a last-second loss in their final game. Green Bay won the division at 10-6, while the Vikings were 9-7. The following season the Cardinals hired Dennis Green as their head coach.
History repeated itself in 2004 as the Vikings went 3-7 over the last 10 weeks, but this time they made the playoffs despite only going 8-8. Daunte Culpepper had an MVP-like season, amassing 4,717 passing yards (which led the NFL), 39 passing touchdowns (a Viking record), and 5,123 total yards, breaking Dan Marino's mark. The Vikings made history in the playoffs by beating their rivals, the Green Bay Packers, in their first ever playoff meeting. They also became the second team in NFL history to go .500 (8-8) in the regular season and then win a playoff game, one day after the St. Louis Rams accomplished the feat. In that game, wide receiver Randy Moss pretended to moon a crowd of Packers fans after a touchdown and was fined $10,000. They would lose to the eventual NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles the following week 27-14.
Professional wrestler Brock Lesnar was a Minnesota Viking only during the preseason of 2004, Lesnar was cut after not showing up for practices due to an injury sustained by a motorcycle ride. Lesnar turned down offers to be the representative for the British NFL Vikings and did not search for a job with the AFL and CFL.
McCombs sold the team to a group led by Zygi Wilf in May of 2005. Wilf was originally going to be a limited partner to Reggie Fowler. However Fowler was not able to purchase the team. Wilf then became the lead owner and Fowler is one of a group of ownership partners.
Minnesota traded WR Randy Moss to the Oakland Raiders for linebacker Napoleon Harris and the Raiders' first and seventh round picks of the 2005 NFL Draft. With the first round pick (number 7) they selected WR Troy Williamson of South Carolina. A common misconception is the Vikings freed a ton of salary cap space by trading Moss. The reality is they were already well under the salary cap - more than $30 million in fact - and actually had to absorb about $7-10 million just to trade Moss. But they still had around $20 million in cap space and signed 5 new defensive starters to shore up their previously 28th ranked defense. The Vikings fan base wondered if this was the franchise's biggest blunder in team history or one of their greatest moves.
At first, the move looked like a blunder. The Vikings started off by losing their first two games to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (24-13) and the Cincinnati Bengals (37-8). They would win in Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints (33-16), but then they would go on to lose their next two road games to the Atlanta Falcons (30-10) and their division rival Chicago Bears (28-3). The Vikings would win at home against fellow division rival Green Bay Packers 23-20 by winning the same way the Packers did last season, which was a last second field goal. However, the Vikes had little to celebrate when in the next week, not only did they lose to the Carolina Panthers 38-13 on the road, but they would also lose their star QB Daunte Culpepper for the season with a knee injury, who had thrown twice as many interceptions as touchdowns up until that point. At this point the Vikings were 2-5.
Taking Culpepper's place would be Brad Johnson (Viking from 1992-98 and quarterback of the Super Bowl XXXVII champion Buccaneers) and, upon taking over, led the Vikings to a six-game winning streak, including victories over the Detroit Lions at home (27-14), the New York Giants (24-21), the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field (20-17, once again on a last second field goal), the Cleveland Browns (24-12), the Detroit Lions at Ford Field (21-16), and a 27-13 home victory over the St. Louis Rams. Johnson ended up with the lowest interception to attempt ratio in Vikings history and the 3rd best passer rating in the NFC. The streak ended with an 18-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the eventual Super Bowl champions.
Christmas Day 2005 will go down as a day Viking fans would much rather forget. After having their chances of winning the NFC North extinguished when the Bears defeated the Packers earlier in the day, the Vikings were officially eliminated from NFC playoff contention with a 30-23 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The Vikings won their last game of the 2005 season against the Bears, with a 34-10 victory. However, the Vikings fired head coach Mike Tice immediately following the game. They ended up with a 9-7 record and 1 win away from the playoffs.
Prior to the 2006 season, the Vikings hired Brad Childress as their head coach. The Vikings started the season with two narrow victories, edging the Washington Redskins in Washington by a field goal, 19-16, and beating the Carolina Panthers at home, 16-13. They lost their next two games—-to the Chicago Bears (16-19) and to the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo (12-17). In Week 5 of the season, the Vikings needed some late scoring to win against the Detroit Lions at home. Down 17-3 going into the fourth quarter, the Vikings scored 23 unanswered points, including two defensive touchdowns, to avoid their third loss in a row with a final score of 26-17. After a bye in Week 6, the Vikings won easily over the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle, 31-13. Chester Taylor scored the longest touchdown in Vikings history in the win, running 95 yards for the score. A four-week losing streak ensued.
The first loss was to the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football. The Vikings had won their last 4 home games on Monday Night Football, but the Patriots ended the streak when they blew out the Vikings, 31-7. Minnesota's only score came off Mewelde Moore's 73 yard punt return for a touchdown. The following week saw a 9-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The loss was especially crushing after a touchdown pass was called back because of a block in the back penalty against Travis Taylor. In Week 10, the Vikings lost again as they were outscored 17-23 at home by their division rivals, the Green Bay Packers. The following week, fans had anticipated a matchup between the Vikings and their former quarterback, Daunte Culpepper, who was acquired by the Miami Dolphins in the offseason for a second round draft pick, but Culpepper had been benched in favor of Joey Harrington three weeks earlier. The Vikings lost their fourth straight game to Miami, 24-20. The game was out of reach after Jason Taylor returned a 51 yard interception for a touchdown. The Vikings defense set a team record by limiting the Dolphins to -3 yards rushing on 14 carries in the loss. The losing streak finally ended with the Arizona Cardinals and former Head Coach Dennis Green in town. The Vikings pulled off a 31-26 win, capped by a Vikings interception in the end zone to end the game. The Cardinals took a 7-0 lead on the first play of the game with a kickoff return touchdown by J.J. Arrington. Following the win over Arizona, the Vikings played the Chicago Bears closely, until the Bears' special teams (a Devin Hester punt return touchdown) as well as their defense (an interception return touchdown) put the game out of reach. The Vikings lost, 23-13. Tarvaris Jackson made his NFL debut, completing the first pass of his career and finishing the day 3-4 for 35 yards, with one fumble. In Week 14, the Vikings pulled off their second win in three weeks, beating the Detroit Lions, 30-20. The Vikings' top running back, Chester Taylor, was out with bruised ribs, but backup Artose Pinner had the game of his life against a team that cut him a mere three months ago. He gained 125 yards and had three touchdowns, leading the Vikings to victory. Once again, the Vikings run defense matched a team record set only three weeks earlier by holding the Lions to -3 yards on 10 carries.
The Vikings forced six turnovers, and only had two themselves. Two losses followed—one to the New York Jets (26-13) and another to the Green Bay Packers (9-7). The game against Green Bay marked Tarvaris Jackson’s first NFL start, as well as the elimination of any playoff possibilities for the Vikings. The Vikings ended the season by getting blown out by the St. Louis Rams, 41-21. The game saw Tarvaris Jackson make his second career start. The Vikings' defense was attempting to set a new NFL record (since the NFL-AFL merger) of giving up the fewest rushing yards per game in one season. This attempt was thwarted by the Rams' rushing attack, led by Stephen Jackson's 142 yards, which accumulated 168 yards on the ground. The Vikings ended the season giving up an average of 61.6 rushing yards per game, which fell behind the record of 60.6 rushing yards per game held by the 2000 Baltimore Ravens. Their 6-10 record served to solidify a third place finish in the NFC North, as well as the number 7 overall draft pick the in the 2007 NFL Draftwith it, the Vikings selected Adrian Peterson out of the University of Oklahoma. He is known as a powerhorse back with extreme speed.
Peterson's first career touchdown was a 60-yard screen pass in his first career game against the Atlanta Falcons. When the Minnesota Vikings played the Chicago Bears in the first of their two games, Peterson broke the record for single game All-Purpose (rushing, receiving, kick returning) yards (361 total yards, 224 rushing). In Week 9 of the 2007 season, Peterson broke the NFL record set by Jamal Lewis in 2003 for most rushing yards in one game by rushing for 296 yards against the San Diego Chargers. Despite a strong push in the middle of the 2007 season, winning five straight games, the Vikings lost their final two games to finish the season at 8–8, missing the playoffs. In Week 13 of the 2008 season against the Bears, Gus Frerotte hooked up with Bernard Berrian for a 99-yard touchdown pass after a goal line stand by the Vikings defense. This was the longest play in Vikings history. That season, Adrian Peterson led the NFL with 1760 rushing yards, breaking the franchise record for most single season rush yards. The Vikings clinched the NFC North championship for the first time after defeating the New York Giants 20–19 in Week 17, when kicker Ryan Longwell made the game-winning field goal. Adrian Peterson had 19 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown in this game.
On January 4, 2009, the NFC North champion Vikings hosted the Philadelphia Eagles for the Wild Card round, their first home playoff game in eight years. The Vikings held the Eagles 14–16 at halftime, but the Eagles, coming off of a 44–6 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, defeated the Vikings, 26–14. The Eagles would go on to defeat the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants in the Divisional round, only to lose to the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game.
Since 2006, the Vikings have been known especially for their strong run defense(#1 in the NFL in 2006, 2007, and 2008; they are the first NFL team to accomplish this since the AFL–NFL merger in 1970), anchored by the Williams Wall consisting of defensive tackle Kevin Williams and nose tackle Pat Williams (no relation). With the addition of sack-leader Jared Allen in 2008 the dominant front four began being called by several nicknames, including "Thunder and Plunder" and "Shock and AWWE" (an acronym of their surname initials). As well known as the "Great Wall of Purple" & "The 4 Norsemen".
On August 18, 2009, after months of speculation and negotiations, twice-retired veteran quarterback Brett Favre, who until 2007 played 16 years for division arch rival Green Bay Packers, signed a two-year, $25 million deal with the Vikings, starting what many Vikings fans refer to as "The Brett Favre Era". Favre is universally acknowledged to be a future Hall of Fame player, holding many NFL career passing records. Coincidentally, in 2007, he broke the record for career touchdown passes (previously held by Dan Marino with 421) in the Metrodome while playing for the Packers.
On October 5, 2009, the Vikings hosted the Green Bay Packers as Favre played his former team for the first time. With a 30–23 victory on Monday Night Football, the Vikings moved to a 4–0 record. Favre became the only player in NFL history to defeat all 32 current teams as a starter. The Atlanta Falcons had defeated the Packers in a 1991 game which Favre did not participate. Over 21.8 million viewers tuned in to watch the game, beating the previous record for a cable television program set by a game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys in 2008 (18.6 million viewers).
The Vikings beat the New York Giants, 44–7, in Week 17 to help the Vikings clinch the 2nd seed in the conference and a 1st round-bye with an Eagles loss later that same day. The Vikings ended with a 12–4 record, their best record since 2000 and the first 11-plus win season since the record-setting 1998 season. The Vikings played the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round on January 17, 2010, and won the game by a score of 34–3, advancing the Vikings to the NFC Championship game, the ninth in franchise history and first since 2001. Minnesota would travel to New Orleans the following week to face the top-seeded Saints in the first conference championship game held at the Superdome. Despite out-gaining the Saints on offense by nearly a twofold margin, the Vikings were severely hindered by five turnovers, including a Favre interception in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter (in Saints territory). They were ousted in overtime, 31–28, on a 40-yard field goal after losing the coin toss.
In the first week of the 2010 NFL regular season, the Vikings played the defending Super Bowl champions, the New Orleans Saints. The Vikings lost 14–9. In week 2, the Vikings played the Miami Dolphins and lost 14–10. The Vikings defeated the Detroit Lions 24–10 in the third week of the season. After a week four bye-week, the Vikings received star wide receiver Randy Moss in a trade with the New England Patriots. Even with the addition of Moss, the Vikings lost to the New York Jets 29–20 in week five. The Vikings won a crucial victory against another struggling team in the form of the Dallas Cowboys 24–21, but in week seven the Vikings lost to arch-rival Green Bay Packers 28–24. In week nine, the Vikings played the Arizona Cardinals at home and won 27–24 in overtime. Favre threw for a career-high 446 passing yards. The Vikings then went on to face their other divisional rival the Chicago Bears but were beaten and then went on to be blown out 31–3 in a rematch with the Packers. The team then proceeded to fire Brad Childress not long after. With Leslie Frazier filling in for the fired Childress, the Vikings won two games in a row against the Washington Redskins on the road, and a blowout win over the Buffalo Bills at home.
After a winter storm dropped nearly 17 inches of snow in the Minneapolis/St Paul area the Saturday prior to the Vikings December 12 home game versus the New York Giants and 30 mph gusts drove snow removers off the dome's roof overnight, several panels were damaged as the weight of the snow caused the roof to collapse. After viewing the damage, Vikings management and the NFL decided to move the game to Monday and play it at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.
Because of on-going repairs to the roof of the Metrodome, the Vikings played their December 20 game versus the Chicago Bears at TCF Bank Stadium (the home of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers). The game was played 29 years to the day after the last outdoor game at old Met Stadium. On December 26, the NFL announced that the game versus the Philadelphia Eagles was being postponed to Tuesday, December 28, 2010 because of blizzard conditions. This marks the third consecutive venue or date change for a Vikings game and was the first NFL game played on a Tuesday since 1964. The Vikings proceeded to upset the dynamic Eagles offense, led by a resurgent Michael Vick, 24–14 with rookie Joe Webb at the helm. The Vikings finished the season with a 20–13 loss against the Detroit Lions.
The 2010 season was arguably one of the most disappointing for the Vikings. After coming within a few plays of Super Bowl XLIV, Minnesota ended the 2010 season with a 6–10 record and a last place finish in the NFC North. During the season, the Vikings had many distractions, including trading for Randy Moss and then waiving him only a month later, Brett Favre's NFL investigation for allegedly sending inappropriate text messages to Jets' employee Jenn Sterger while he was with the team in 2008, the Metrodome's collapse and resulting venue changes, and finally head coach Brad Childress' firing on November 22 following a 31–3 loss at the hands of the rival Green Bay Packers.
After serving as the interim head coach for the final six games of the season (finishing with a 3–3 record), defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was officially named the head coach on January 3, 2011, after signing a three-year contract. On January 17, Brett Favre retired for the third, and officially last, time, leaving the team in search for a long term replacement at the quarterback position. Wasting no time after being appointed head coach, Frazier began to restructure the team's coaching staff, including letting go of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and hiring Mike Singletary as linebackers coach and Bill Musgrave as the new offensive coordinator. Their first round draft pick was Christian Ponder, a QB from Florida State University.
The team finished with a franchise tying worst 3–13 record. During the 2012 NFL Draft, the team selected USC offensive lineman Matt Kalil with the 4th overall pick after a trade with the Cleveland Browns, and Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith in the first round. Both players were instrumental in helping the Vikings reach the playoffs for the 27th time in franchise history, as was fellow draftee, sixth-round selection kicker Blair Walsh. After beating the Packers in the final game of 2012 to reach the playoffs as the NFC's sixth seed, the Vikings lost 24–10 to the Packers in the rematch at Lambeau Field in the Wild Card round. The team was forced to play back up Joe Webb during the game after Ponder was sidelined due to an arm injury sustained from the previous week. Peterson was later named the league's MVP, after rushing for 2,097 yards, the second most rushing yards in a season in NFL history.
After finishing with a 5-10-1 record in 2013, Leslie Frazier was fired by the organization. The team hired former Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer to replace him on January 16, 2014. Former Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator and San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner replaced Bill Musgrave as offensive coordinator, and former Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator George Edwards replaced Alan Williams as defensive coordinator.
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- ↑ http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/
- ↑ http://www.vikings.com/schedule/training-camp/2011/info.html
- ↑ http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/
- ↑ http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/teams.aspx
- ↑ Quirk, Jim (1998). The minneapolis marines: minnesota's forgotten nfl team. Professional Football Researchers Association. Retrieved on April 24, 2007.
- ↑ Minnesota Vikings. Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved on April 24, 2007.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Minnesota Vikings. Sports E-Cyclopedia. Retrieved on April 24, 2007.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 History: Team Timeline. Viking Update (July 19, 2002). Retrieved on April 24, 2007.
- ↑ The Purple People Eaters. Viking Update (July 19, 2001). Retrieved on April 24, 2007.
- ↑ Template:Cite video
- ↑ All-Time Super Bowl Odds. The Sports Network. Retrieved on April 25, 2007.
- ↑ Adrian Peterson. NFL.com. Retrieved on December 24, 2011.
- ↑ Pompei, Dan. "Williams duo middlemen in Vikings’ defense", Chicago Tribune, November 26, 2008.
- ↑ NFL Minnesota Vikings
- ↑ Brad Childress Fired. ESPN Sports Center (November 22, 2010). Retrieved on December 24, 2011.
- ↑ Cooper, Brennan (December 5, 2010). Bills Get Reality Check in Minnesota. BuffaLowDown. Retrieved on December 24, 2011.
- ↑ Youngmisuk, Ohm. "Giants-Vikings game moved to Monday", ESPN New York, December 12, 2010. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
- ↑ "Metrodome unfit for Vikings-Bears", Associated Press, December 15, 2010. Retrieved December 26, 2010.
- ↑ NFL Game Center: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles - 2010 Week 16. NFL.com. Retrieved on December 24, 2011.
- ↑ Maaddi, Rob. "Vikings-Eagles snowed out; moved to Tuesday night", AP via Yahoo! Sports, December 27, 2010. Retrieved December 27, 2010.
- ↑ Kercheval, Nancy (December 28, 2010). Joe Webb Leads Vikings to 24-14 Defeat of Eagles in His First NFL Start. Bloomberg. Retrieved on December 24, 2011.
- ↑ Minnesota Vikings: Front Office staff. Vikings.com. Retrieved on December 24, 2011.