The Minnesota Vikings are a professional football team in the National Football League (the NFL). The Minnesota Vikings play in the National Football Conference (NFC) North Division with three other teams: the Chicago Bears, the Green Bay Packers, and the Detroit Lions. The Minnesota Vikings have won 1 NFL Championship. The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, hosts all Minnesota Vikings home games.
Professional football in the Twin Cities began auspiciously in 1959 when the AFL expansion franchise granted to 3 Minneapolis businessmen collapsed after only 5 months of existence. A short time thereafter, the NFL awarded its 14th franchise to the same business group. On September 27, 1960, the group officially named the team the Minnesota Vikings and professional football would begin in the Twin Cities during the 1961 season. After numerous coaching changes and internal disruptions in the early 1960’s, the Minnesota Vikings began to assemble a powerful defense towards the later part of the decade. The swarming defense, known as “The Purple People Eaters”, was led by Carl Eller, Gary Larsen, Jim Marshall and Alan Page. Alan Page was a graduate and star player at the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish and later served as a Minnesota Supreme Court Justice following his magnificent NFL football career. The Minnesota Vikings made the playoffs for the first time in 1968. A year later, they won the NFL Championship following a 27-7 drubbing of the Cleveland Browns on January 4, 1970. That Minnesota Vikings team was the first post 1960 NFL expansion team to win an NFL Championship game. However, the Minnesota Vikings, as the NFL Champion representative, lost to the underdog AFL Champion Kansas City Chiefs one week later in the Super Bowl in a 23-7 upset.
The Minnesota Vikings continued to shine throughout the 1970’s. Led by the stingy Purple People Eaters, the Minnesota Vikings continued to dominate NFL football play for most of the decade. Through 1978, the Minnesota Vikings made the playoffs every year except for 1972. However, the team could never seem to finish their great regular season play with a successful playoff run. In 1974, the Minnesota Vikings lost to the Miami Dolphins 24-7 in Super Bowl VIII in Houston, Texas, in 1975 the Minnesota Vikings lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-6 in Super Bowl IX in New Orleans, Louisiana and in 1977 they lost to the Oakland Raiders 32-14 in Super Bowl XI in Pasadena, California. The Minnesota Vikings have not played in another Super Bowl since that 1977 loss.
From 1987 through 2000, the Minnesota Vikings put together another good stretch of regular season play. The Minnesota Vikings participated in post-season play in all but 3 years during that span, but always seemed to fall just short of that elusive Super Bowl berth. The Minnesota Vikings lost in the NFC Championship game 3 times during that stretch: 17-10 to the Washington Redskins on January 17, 1988; 30-27 to the Atlanta Falcons on January 17, 1999; and 41-0 to the New York Giants on January 14, 2001. The Minnesota Vikings have only made the NFL playoffs once since that demoralizing 2001 NFC Championship Game loss to the Giants, so Minnesota Vikings fans are optimistic that new Head Coach Brad Childress will work some Minnesota Vikings magic to bring the team back to the playoffs during the 2006-2007 NFL season.
The Minnesota Vikings showed significant improvement during the 2006-7 NFL season. Although the team only won 6 games, Head Coach Brad Childress has the Vikings going in the right direction. The Minnesota Vikings were one of the more exciting surprises during the 2007-2008 NFL season. The Minnesota Vikings finished 2nd in the NFC North with an 8-8 record and just missed out on qualifying for post-season play. Star Running Back Adrian Peterson rushed for over 1300 yards on only 238 carries for a gaudy 5.8 yard average per carry. Peterson won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award and was named the Pro Bowl MVP for his 2-touchdown, 129-yard rushing performance. Peterson also broke the NFL's single-game rushing record when he rushed for 296 yards on 30 carries against the San Diego Chargers on November 4, 2007. Although the Vikings did not qualify for post-season play, the future looks bright with young superstar Adrian Peterson leading the rushing attack. The The 7 wins was the most wins recorded by the Lions since 2000 when the Lions won 9 games. The Minnesota Vikings expect to build off of the successful 2007-8 NFL season, and anything short of a playoff appearance will surely be a disappointment for the franchise and their loyal fans.
Hall of Famers
Seven men associated with the Minnesota Vikings have been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. Most notably, one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks, Fran Tarkenton, was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1986. Tarkenton had 2 stints with the Minnesota Vikings, from 1961 through 1966 and from 1972 through 1978. In his second tour of duty, Fran Tarkenton led the Minnesota Vikings to 3 Super Bowl berths, but a Super Bowl Championship always eluded Tarkenton and his Vikings. While Tarkenton finished his career with impressive passing numbers, Tarkenton also finished with impressive rushing yardage totals and rushing touchdowns because of his unique scrambling ability. Tarkenton was selected to play in 9 NFL Pro Bowls and he was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1975. Other notable offensive stars who were inducted into the Hall of Fame include Quarterback Jim Finks (1995) and Offensive Tackle Ron Yary. Notable defensive stars who were inducted into the Hall of Fame include Defensive End Carl Eller (2004), Safety Paul Krause (1998), and Defensive Tackle and Defensive End Alan Page (1988). Head Coach Bud Grant was also inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1994. Bud Grant coached the Minnesota Vikings from 1967 through 1983 and during the 1985 season. During his first stint with the Minnesota Vikings, he led the team to its only NFL Championship in 1969 and to three other Super Bowl appearances during the 1973, 1974 and 1976 NFL regular seasons.