Based out of Minneapolis, the Minnesota Vikings is a franchise based in the National Football Conference of the NFL. With one of the more recognizable logos, the team prides itself on representing the Scandinavian heritage of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Vikings didn’t qualify for this year’s postseason, losing to the New Orleans Saints on Christmas Day. That said, it’s not too early to get in on Fanduel’s Super Bowl predictions for those who want to bet on the big game.
Professional football was popular in the Twin Cities even before the Vikings came to be. During the 1920s and ‘30s, the Minnesota Marines (later the Red Jackets) played occasional games before falling into stagnancy.
It was in 1959 that professional football returned to Minnesota in the form of a new team under Bill Boyer, Max Winter, and H.P. Skoglund. The new team was officially named the Vikings on September 27th of 1960. The team first selected QB Tommy Mason of the Tulane Green Waves. They later acquired Fran Tarkenton, George Shaw, and Hugh McElhenny and beat the Chicago Bears 37-13 on their first season game.
The Purple People Eaters
Into the ‘60s, the team moved from strength to strength and had become known for their defense lineup – The Purple People Eaters.
This lineup was comprised of defensive tackles Alan Page and Gary Larsen alongside defensive ends Carl Eller and Jim Marshall. Gary Larson was later replaced by Doug Sutherland in 1974. Along with the Fearsome Foursome and the Steel Curtain, they were some of the most identifiable defensive lineups in the league.
During their time, the Purple Gang (as they preferred to call themselves) worked with star quarterback Fran Tarkenton to appear in three Super Bowls, in 1974, 1975, and 1977. To this day, the Vikings have been to the Super Bowl four times, more than most teams, but have never won it.
The Herschel Walker Trade
The interceding decades would see the Vikings say goodbye to veteran coach Bud Grant, then welcome him back for the 1985 season after Les Steckel’s coaching saw the team win just 13 games, a franchise-worst.
The team needed some new talent, which led them to be part of the biggest trade in NFL history. The Vikings sought Herschel Walker, of the Dallas Cowboys, and the final deal saw the Vikings gain Walker and 4 other players. The Cowboys gained 5 and many picks, two of which were Emmitt Smith and Darren Woodson.
Walker’s performance suffered after the trade and, needless to say, the Vikings got the short end of the trade.
The 1998 Offense
The 1998 Vikings season went down in history as the team became the third in NFL history to win 15 games as part of the regular season. This was thanks to the legendary offense of veteran QB Randall Cunningham, of Philadelphia Eagles fame.
With RB Robert Smith and WRs Cris Carter and Randy Moss, Cunningham’s offense set an NFL record at 556 points for the season. Moss, a rookie, caught 17 touchdown passes and set another NFL record.
Unfortunately, the season ended in disappointment when placekicker Gary Anderson, after stellar performances prior, missed a field goal that would have given them an unbeatable lead. The Atlanta Falcons swooped in, tied, and then picked them clean in a sudden-death overtime drive in the playoffs.
The Modern Vikings
The Vikings entered the 2000s with QB Daunte Culpepper at the helm, who racked up great individual stats but couldn’t push the team past playoffs or divisional finals.
In 2009, the Vikings made a surprise acquisition in the form of Brett Favre, who they even used to beat the Green Bay Packers at their own game, which also set viewership records.
Many distractions, upsets, and off-field events hindered the Vikings through 2011 to 2013, and their performance suffered for it. During the 2010s, however, RB Adrian Peterson set several NFL-best records including becoming league MVP for rushing yards.
The most recent event of note was the Minneapolis Miracle, where the Vikings beat their old foil – the New Orleans Saints – after a missed tackle allowed Stefon Diggs to make a 61-yard touchdown pass at the very end of the game.
The story of the Vikings is far from over but, without getting into minutiae, that’s all you need to know about one of the most recognizable teams in the NFL right now. Time will only tell if they can push past the playoffs and make it to the Super Bowl again, and maybe this time win.