1961: The NFL returned to the Twin Cities after three decades on September 17th at Metropolitan Stadium the expansion Minnesota Vikings took the field at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, with Coach Norm Van Brocklin, who was coming of his final season as Quarterback in which he led the Philadelphia Eagles to an NFL Championship. That Sunday afternoon the Vikings played their first game against the Chicago Bears a cornerstone franchise that was one of the NFL’s original teams. However, it was the upstarts led by rookie Quarterback Fran Tarkenton, by passing for 250 yards as the upstarts stunned the Bears 37-13. However, the expansion Vikings would come back to earth losing their next seven games on the way to finishing in last place with a 3-11 record.
1962: In their second season the Vikings would stumble out of the gate losing their first five games, on the way to a horrid 2-11-1 season. Second year Quarterback Fran Tarkenton had a solid season despite 25 interceptions. However, the Vikings defense would get roll over at the tune of 410 points on the season.
1963: The Vikings show flashes of brilliance while amassing a 5-8-1 record, in their third year of existence. Following the season the Vikings would hire General Manager Jim Finks, who had successful tenure with Calgary Stampede in the CFL, to turn the Vikings into contenders.
1964: The Vikings go unbeaten in their final four games to finish with an 8-5-1 record as Fran Tarkenton throws 22 Touchdown passes. In earning their first ever-winning season the Vikings finished in a tie for second Place with the Green Bay Packers.
1965: The Vikings appeared to be heading to another solid season before a backbreaking four game losing streak ended any playoff hopes. The Vikings would go on to win their final two games to finish with a 7-7 record.
1966: The Vikings stumble out of the gate going winless through their first four games, on the way to a disappointing 4-9-1 record, which landed them in last place in the West. Following the disappointing season Coach Norm Van Brocklin resigns, and Quarterback Fran Tarkenton is traded to the New York Giants for several draft picks.
1967: The Vikings go up north again this time hiring Coach Bud Grant who led the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to four Grey Cup Titles in ten seasons. However, Grant would have trouble at the start losing his first four games as an NFL coach before the Vikings stunned the Packers in Green Bay 10-7. However the Vikings would still go on to finish in last place in the Central Division with a 3-8-3 record.
1968: The Vikings get off to a solid start winning three of their first four games. However, stormy weather would arise, as the Vikings would lose their next three games. The Vikings would recover by winning their next three games. After losing their next two games, the Vikings sat at 6-6., but with Green Bay Packers losing several key players and coach Vince Lombardi the entire Central Division was weakened, and the Vikings would take advantage by winning their final two games to win their first Division Title with an 8-6 record. In the Divisional Playoffs at Baltimore the Vikings trailed the Baltimore Colts 21-0 before a 4th Quarter rally fell short in a 24-14 loss.
1969: With the slogan 40 men for 60 minutes the Vikings overcome a one point season opening loss to the Giants in New York by winning their next 12 games to win their second straight division title win a 12-2 record. Leading the way for the Vikings is a ferocious defense known as the Purple People Eaters that holds opponents to just 133 points on the season. In the first playoff game ever at Metropolitan Stadium the Vikings found themselves in a hole trailing the Los Angeles Rams 17-7 at halftime. By the start of the 4th Quarter they had cut the lead to 20-14, where the Vikings defense took over and claimed a 23-20 victory. A week later in the final NFL Championship Game before the merger, the Vikings dominated the Cleveland Browns all day before allowing a meaningless Touchdown late in the 4th Quarter in a convincing 27-7 win.
Super Bowl IV: In the final AFL-NFL Super Bowl the Vikings were playing for NFL pride facing the Kansas City Chiefs on a damp day in New Orleans. However early on it was clearly not the Vikings day as they fell behind 16-0 at halftime. The Vikings would get on the scoreboard with a Dave Osborn TD run late in the 3rd Quarter. However the Chiefs would quickly answer with a long Touchdown pass that sealed the Vikings fate, as the Chiefs went on to a convincing 23-7 victory.
1970: Despite making the Super Bowl the Vikings traded Quarterback Joe Kapp prior to the start of the season. His replacement Gary Cuozzo would struggle all year only connecting on seven Touchdown passes. However, the Vikings defense dominates again allowing just 143 points as the Vikings win the NFC Central win an impressive 12-2 record. However, the Vikings season would end quickly with a 17-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers at Metropolitan Stadium in the Divisional Playoffs.
1971: Led by Defensive Tackle Alan Page who wins the NFL MVP the Vikings Purple people Eaters continue to swallow up opposing offenses allowing just 139 points as the Vikings win their 4th straight Division Title with an 11-3 record. The Defense would need to be strong as the offense led by Quarterback Gary Cuozzo struggled and only managed to score 245 points. However, their struggles would catch up with them in a 20-12 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional Playoffs at The Met. Following the season the Vikings would reacquire original Quarterback Fran Tarkenton form the New York Giants for a couple of draft picks.
1972: Despite a solid 2,651-yard passing season from Fran Tarkenton the Vikings play mediocre football all season finishing with a 7-7 record, while posting a 1-5 record against playoff bound teams in one of the toughest schedules in the league.
1973: The addition of Running Back Chick Foreman who wins both Offensive Rookie and Offensive Player of the Year honors is just the spark the Vikings offense needs, as the Vikings rebound off a sub par year by winning their first nine games, on the way to reclaiming the NFC Central with a 12-2 record. In the Divisional Playoffs the Vikings would beat the Washington Redskins 27-20 in an exciting game at The Met. Playing in Dallas for the NFC Championship the Vikings Defense would smother the Cowboys all day in a convincing 27-10 win that earned the Vikings a trip to the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl VIII: Facing the defending Super Bowl Champion Miami Dolphins in Houston the Vikings hopes for a Lombardi Trophy were dashed quickly as the Dolphins jumped out to a 14-0 lead behind the powerful running of Larry Csonka. Trailing 24-0 the Vikings would score on four yard Fran Tarkenton bootleg, to avoid the shutout at 24-17.
1974: The Vikings get off to another fantastic start winning their first five games, on the way to another NFC Central Division Championship with a 10-4 record. In the Divisional Playoffs the Vikings would slaughter the St. Louis Cardinals by a score of 30-14 in Minnesota. In the NFC Championship Game at the Met the Vikings held off the Los Angeles Rams to advance to the Super Bowl for the second straight year with a 14-10 win.
Super Bowl IX: In the Super Bowl for the second year in a row, and the third time overall the Vikings were still seeking their first Lombardi Trophy against the Pittsburgh Steelers on a cold and rainy day in New Orleans. The first half was a complete defensive stale mate, as neither offense could muster anything. However, when QB Fran Tarkenton is sacked in the endzone the Steelers go to halftime with a 2-0 lead. The Vikings would make a costly mistake when the second half began by fumbling the kick off which led to a Steelers Touchdown. The Vikings would finally get on the board when Terry Brown fell on a blocked punt in the endzone. However the extra point was missed and the Vikings still could not get anything going, and would lose on Super Sunday for the third time by a score of 16-6.
1975: Led by Quarterback Fran Tarkenton who wins both the Offensive Player of the Year and NFL MVP, the Vikings jump out to a 10-0 start, cruising to their seventh Division Title in eight years with a 12-2 record. In the Divisional Playoffs the Vikings appeared on the way to another Championship Game leading the Dallas Cowboys 14-10 in the final minute at The Met. However, a stunning Hail Mary pass by Roger Staubach found Preston Pearson by the endzone as the Cowboys stunned the Vikings 17-14.
1976: The Vikings continued to be the top team in the NFC going unbeaten in heir first seven games, on the way to easily winning their 8th Divisional Title in nine years, and fourth in a row. In the Divisional Playoffs at Metropolitan Stadium the Vikings offense was firing on all cylinders in a convincing 35-20 victory over the Washington Redskins. The Met was the sight again a week later as the Vikings beat the Los Angeles Rams 24-13 in the NFC Championship Game.
Super Bowl XI: In the Super Bowl for the third time in four years the aging Vikings new time was growing short as they tried to win their first Lombardi Trophy in four trips playing the Oakland Raiders in Pasadena. The Vikings squandered an early opportunity when Brent McClanahan fumbled at the goaline after Fred McNeill blocked and recovered a punt on the Raiders two yard line. The fumble would end up becoming a back breaker as the Raiders scored 16 unanswered points in the 2nd Quarter, on the way to a convincing 32-14 victory. Although the Vikings were the first team to play in four Super Bowls, the thought that they were never in any of the games while going 0-4 would forever tarnish their reputation.
1977: Despite several players show signs of age with sub par seasons the Vikings are able to win their ninth Division Title in ten years, and fifth straight with a 9-5 record. In the Divisional Playoffs the Vikings would show they had a little left in the tank when they beat the Rams 14-7 in Los Angeles. However, a week later their season would come to a crashing end with a 23-6 loss to the Cowboys in the NFC Championship game at Dallas.
1978: Despite a mediocre 8-7-1 season the Vikings win their 6th consecutive NFC Central Title, and tenth in 11 years, as Quarterback Fran Tarkenton has a solid season passing for 3,466 yards and 25 Touchdown passes. However, the Vikings would come to earth with a 34-10 loss to the Rams in Los Angeles in what would end up being Sir Francis’ last game. Following the season Fran Tarkenton would retire ending a stellar career that saw him hold several key career passing record. Tarkenton’s records would stand nearly 20 years, before being broken by Dan Marino in 1995.
1979: Despite a stellar season from Fran Tarkenton’s replacement Tommy Kramer the Vikings suffer their first losing season in 12 years with a 7-9 record, as Jim Marshall, the last original Viking, who set a record with consecutive games played in retires after a stellar 19-year career.
1980: The Vikings get off to a slow start and sit at 3-5 through the midway point in the season. However, the Vikings would rally winning six of their next seven games, which was capped by a dramatic Hail Mary Touchdown pass from Tommy Kramer to Ahmad Rashad that beat the Cleveland Browns 28-23 at The Met on the game’s final play. Despite losing their final game of the season the Vikings won the NFC Central with a 9-7 record. However their season would end quickly with a 31-16 loss to the Eagles in Philadelphia in the Divisional Playoffs.
1981: In the final season at Metropolitan Stadium the Vikings appear to be on the way to the playoffs again leading the mediocre NFC Central with a 7-4 record. However, the Vikings would lose their final five games to finish with a 7-9 record. The losing streak included a 10-6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the final game at the Met on December 20th. Metropolitan Stadium would be torn down, and over it would be built the largest mall in the United States.
1982: On September 12th, the Vikings opened the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in style with a 17-10 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, their second game at the Metrodome ended up being delayed as the NFL endured a two month player’s strike. When the players returned the Vikings continued to alternate wins and losses. However, by beating the Dallas Cowboys 31-27 in the final game of the season at the Metrodome the Vikings were able to earn a home playoff game. In the first playoff game at the Metrodome the Vikings defeated the Atlanta Falcons 30-24 in the first round of the NFC Super Bowl tournament. However, their season would end a week later with a 21-7 loss to the Redskins in Washington.
1983: The Vikings get off to a solid start winning seven of their first nine games. However, the Vikings would lose their next 6 games as their playoff hopes fizzled under a rash of injuries. The Vikings would win their final game against Cincinnati Bengals 20-14 at the Metrodome. Following the season Coach Bud grant would retire, he would be replace by Les Steckel.
1984: New Coach Les Steckel ends up being a bust right away as the Vikings lose 11 of their last 12 games to finish with a franchise worst 3-13 record. Following the season the Vikings would coax Bud Grant out of retirement as he reassumed his coaching duties from Steckel.
1985: The Vikings seem recharged by the return of Bid Grant as they win three of their first four games. However, the Vikings would only play mediocre football over the next 9 weeks as they stood on the fringe of the Playoff chase with a 7-6 record. However, the Vikings would run out of gas losing their final three games including a 37-35 shootout to the Philadelphia Eagles at the Metrodome in their final game. Following the season Coach Bud Grant would retire again, this time it would be permanently.
1986: To replace Bud Grant the Vikings tabbed long time assistant Jerry Burns, who had served as Offensive Coordinator since 1968. Under Burns the Vikings get off to a solid start winning five of their first seven games. However, the Vikings playoff hopes are spoiled by a stretch in which they won just once in five games. The Vikings would recover by winning three of their last four games to finish with a 9-7 record.
1987: The Vikings get off to a solid start winning their first two games. However, a player’s strike disrupts the Vikings momentum as the Vikings replacements lose all three games. When the regulars returned they continued to play strong football winning four out of five games to find themselves in the thick of the playoff chase. The Vikings would go on to make the playoffs for the first time in five years with an 8-7 record, despite losses in three of their last four games. In the Wild Card Game the Vikings were heavy underdogs in New Orleans. However, the Vikings would fire on cylinders in a 44-10 romp of the Saints. A week later in the Divisional Playoffs, WR Anthony Carter had the game of his life in a stunning 36-24 upset of the 49ers in San Francisco. Playing their best football of the season the Vikings traveled to Washington with the NFC Championship on the line. The game was close throughout as the Redskins took a 17-10 lead late in the 4th Quarter. The Vikings would not quit as they drove down to the Redskins six yard line. However, the Vikings would fail to get the ball in the endzone as their Championship hopes died.
1988: With Wade Wilson seeing a bulk of the time at Quarterback, the Vikings use a five game winning streak in the second half to make the playoffs as a Wild Card for the second straight season with a solid 11-5 record. In the Wild Card Game at the Metrodome the Vikings would defeat the Los Angeles Rams by a score of 28-17. However a week later their season is ended in San Francisco as the 49ers get revenge with a convincing 34-9 win over the Vikings in the Divisional Playoffs.
1989: The Vikings get off to a 3-2 start before pulling off the biggest deal in NFL history. The Vikings would acquire Running Back Herschel Walker from the Dallas Cowboys for five players, and several draft picks. The Vikings would win three of their first four games with Walker, on the way to winning their first NFC Central title in nine years with a 10-6 record. However, their season would end quickly with a 41-13 loss to the 49ers in San Francisco during the Divisional Playoffs.
1990: Injuries to the defense and a lackluster season from Herschel Walker contribute to a terrible 1-6 start. The Vikings would bounce back and make a run by winning five straight games to even their record at 6-6. However, the Vikings early season struggles would pop up again in a devastating season ending four game losing streak that dropped them into last place with a disappointing 6-10 record.
1991: The Vikings play mediocre football all season on the way to an 8-8 record, as Herschel Walker struggles again. Walker would be released following the season, failing to reach 1,000 yards rushing in each of his two full seasons in Minnesota. The trade would end up being a big bust for the Vikings as the Dallas Cowboys used the draft picks to build a team that won three Super Bowls. In addition to the release of Walker, Coach Jerry Burns called it a career after over 20 years with the organization.
1992: Now led by Dennis Green the Vikings get off to a furious start winning five of their first six games on the way to winning the NFC Central with a 10-6 record. Helping to pace the Vikings was Running Back Terry Allen who rushed 1,201 yards while scoring 15 TDs. Playing without a first round bye the Vikings faced the sixth seeded Washington Redskins in the Wild Card round at the Metrodome. The Vikings never even seemed in the game losing by a score of 24-7 to the defending Super Bowl Champions.
1993: After playing mediocre football all season the Vikings win their final three games to qualify for the playoffs with a 9-7 record. However, their season would end quickly with a 17-10 loss to the Giants in New York. Following the season the Vikings would pull off a blockbuster deal acquiring Quarterback Warren Moon from the Houston Oilers.
1994: Newly acquired Quarterback Warren Moon provides an instant spark as the Vikings win seven of their first nine games. However, a midseason three game losing streak threatened to derail their playoff hopes. The Vikings would recover to win three of their final four games to clinch the NFC Central with a 10-6 record, as Moon passes for 4,264 yards. Failing to earn a bye the Vikings are forced to play the Wild Card Round against the Chicago Bears. Once again the Vikings would fail in the postseason losing right away for the third year in a row by a score of 35-18 at the Metrodome.
1995: Despite another stellar season from Warren Moon who passes for 4,228 yards the Vikings only manage to play mediocre football all season finishing with a disappointing 8-8 record.
1996: With Warren Moon injured the Vikings get off to a 4-0 start under backup Quarterback Brad Johnson. However, Johnson too would get hurt and the Vikings would struggle even after the return of Moon. However, by winning three of their final four games the Vikings would sneak into the playoffs with a 9-7 record. In the Wild Card Game the Vikings would be slaughtered losing the Cowboys by a score of 40-15 in Dallas.
1997: With the departure of Warren Moon, Brad Johnson becomes the full time Quarterback and leads the Vikings off to a terrific 8-2 start. However, a five game losing streak would put their playoff hopes in jeopardy as rumors of Coach Dennis Green’s firing began to fly around. Despite the slump the Vikings would still make the playoffs by beating the Indianapolis Colts in the final game of the season at the Metrodome. In the Wild Card Round the Vikings faced another first round exit trailing the Giants late in the 4th Quarter by a score 22-13 on a snowy day at the Meadowlands. Facing 4th Down and long the Vikings appeared to be giving up when the punted. However, the Vikings defense would get the ball back quickly and would take advantage of a poor punt by the Giants to score on a Johnson to Jake Reed Touchdown pass. With hope still dwindling the Vikings recovered an on-side kick, and would connect on Eddie Murray Field Goal to stun the Giants by a score of 23-22. However, a week later the Vikings season would end with a 38-22 loss to the 49ers in San Francisco.
1998: The Vikings start a new era as the team is sold to Red McCombs. In the draft the Vikings would select troubled Wide Receiver Randy Moss, after several teams passed on him. Moss would combine with established star Cris Carter and become the most potent 1-2 receiving combo in the NFL. Even with a season ending injury to Quarterback Brad Johnson, the Vikings score a NFL record 556 points under back up Randall Cunningham. Moss would become an instant sensation winning the Offensive Rookie f the year while racking up 1,313 yards and 17 Touchdowns, as the Vikings won the NFC Central by posting a franchise best record of 15-1. In the Divisional Playoffs the Vikings would easily beat the Arizona Cardinals by a score of 41-21. In the NFC Championship the Vikings dominated the Atlanta Falcons all game but could not pull away at the Metrodome. Leading 27-20 late in the 4th Quarter the Vikings seemed set to seal the game, but Kicker Gary Anderson missed his first field goal all year, as the Falcons forced overtime. In Overtime the Falcons would stun the Vikings 30-27 when Morten Andersen nailed a game winning Field Goal.
1999: The Vikings offense continues to be one of the strongest units in the NFL despite another change in Quarterbacks as Jeff George takes over for an ineffective Randall Cunningham who was given the job after Brad Johnson was lost to free agency. Receivers Randy Moss and Cris Carter continued to burn NFL secondaries combining for 2,654 yards and 24 Touchdown catches, as the Vikings finished with a solid 10-6 record, which was good enough for a Wild Card berth. In the Wild Card Game at the Metrodome it was the running of Robert Smith that won the day as the Vikings rushed collected 140 yards in a convincing 27-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys. However, a week later the Vikings would lose the Rams 49-37 in a battle of super passing offenses at St. Louis.
2000: The Vikings begin a new era with a new Quarterback turning to second year Daunte Culpepper after failing to re-sign Jeff George and Randall Cunningham. Culpepper would have a stellar season passing for 3,937 yards as Vikings won their first seven games, on the way to an 11-2 start. The Vikings would struggle down the stretch losing their final three games to finish with an 11-5 record. The Vikings would lose Home Field, but would still hold on to a precious playoff bye. In the Divisional Playoffs the Vikings would end their slide by beating the New Orleans Saints 34-16 at the Metrodome. However, in the NFC Championship Game in New York against the Giants the Vikings were knocked out quickly trailing 14-0 after just a few minutes into the game, as the Giants white washed the Vikings by a score of 41-0. The loss would see several players bickering at each other, pointing fingers for the late collapse. In addition Running Back Robert Smith who rushed 1,521 suddenly retired after a knee injury in the playoffs.
2001: With the bitter aftertaste of their late season failures still in their mouth the Vikings enter training camp on shaky ground. Things would only get worse as tragedy struck during record-breaking heat in Minnesota. Korey Stringer who always seemed to have problems wit heat continued to work out despite feelings of sickness. The heat would get to Stringer as his body temperatures exceed 108 degrees killing the Vikings All-Pro Tackle. When the season started it seemed the Vikings still had not recovered losing three of their first four games. The Vikings would continue to struggle through out the season quickly falling out of the playoff race, as the team bickered constantly on the sidelines. Things would only get worse as it seemed every player wanted out of Minnesota. In the midst of a season ending four game losing streak Coach Dennis Green is fired prior to the final game, as the Vikings finish with a 5-11 record. Following the season Mike Tice who led the Vikings in the season finale was named the new head coach, as Wide Receiver Cris Carter retired after the frustrating season.
2002: Mike Tice who coached the Vikings in their final game the previous season would take over on a full time basis and early on he looked over matched as the Vikings dropped their first 4 games blowing leads in the 4th quarter twice. The Vikings struggles would continue through out most of the season as Quarterback Daunte Culpepper struggled all season with turnovers, as the Vikings entered the final 3 weeks of the season with a dreadful 3-10 record. However, the Vikings would finish the season on a strong note winning their final three games to post a 6-10 record, along the way the Vikings spoiled the playoff chances of the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins.
2003: The Vikings started the season with a renewed purpose winning their first six games which included an impressive 30-25 win in Week 1 over the Green Bay Packers on the road. However, the Vikings season hit rough waters as they lost to the New York Giants at home 29-17. The loss to the Giants, who would end up with a league worst 4-12 record would trigger a four game losing streak which included losses to the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders who would also post a 4-12 record. After ending their losing streak with 24-14 win at home over the Detroit Lions the Vikings were humiliated by the St. Louis Rams 48-17, as they saw their once seemingly insurmountable lead for first place completely vanish at 7-5. After beating the playoff bound Seattle Seahawks in Week 14 the Vikings suffered another costly loss as they were stunned by the Chicago Bears 13-10. Despite the struggles all the Vikings needed to do was win their final two games to win the NFC North. The Vikings got it started in style with an impressive 45-17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs at home, which left them needing just to beat the lowly 3-12 Arizona Cardinals in the final game of the season to sew up the division title. After a shaky first half, which saw the Vikings trailing 6-0 the Vikings appeared driving for the playoffs as they seemingly broke the game open with 10 points in the 4th Quarter to hold a 17-6 lead in the final minutes. With two minutes left the Cardinals cut the lead to 17-12 missing a two point conversion attempt, but with just 1 timeout all the Vikings had to do was recover the onside kick to run out the clock. However the Vikings special teams failed to come up with the ball as the Vikings season stood on the brink. Down the field the Cardinals drove getting to the Vikings nine yard line. There the Vikings defense toughened up sacking Cardinals QB on two straight plays turning a 2nd Down and 6 from the nine yard line to a 4th and 25 form the 28 with just seconds left. On the final snap of the season McNown was not pressured as he threw up a prayer to Nathanial Poole in the endzone some how the ball got past Denard Walker and Brian Russell, as Poole was able to maintain possession before being pushed out of bounds for a touchdown a stunning, that brought instant heartbreak to the Vikings ending their season at 9-7 without the playoffs.
2004: Coming off their sudden late season collapse the Vikings would again get off to a strong start winning five of their first six games as Quarterback Daunte Culpepper embarked on a career season throwing for NFL best 4,717 yards, while connecting on 39 Touchdown Passes. However a hamstring injury would leave the Vikings without Randy Moss for a month as the Vikings were hamstrung losing their next three games, including a heartbreaking loss to the Green Bay Packers on the final play. The Vikings would rebound to win their next two games, as Nate Burleson established himself as a go to receiver with a team high 1,006 yards while scoring 9 TDs as Moss was not playing at 100%. Sitting at 7-4 the Vikings were in solid position to make the playoffs and challenged for the NFC North, when they went into another tailspin losing four of their final five games including another heartbreaking final second loss to the Packers. The end of the season slump saw the Vikings fall to 8-8, but it did not see them fall out of the playoffs as they backed in thanks to some fortunate tiebreakers. The playoff berth gave the Vikings a third chance to beat the Packers, and third time would be a charm as the Vikings jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the 1st Quarter and never looked back stunning the Packers in Lambeau Field 31-17, while Randy Moss rubbed it in by pretending to moon Packers fans after a Touchdown. In the next round things would not be as easy for the Vikings as they fell behind the Philadelphia Eagles early losing 27-14. Following the season while the Vikings were being sold to a new ownership group, the front office fed up with some of Wide Receiver Randy Moss’s antics on and off the field decided to trade their star to the Oakland Raiders for Linebacker Napoleon Harris and a pair of draft picks.
2005: The Vikings came into the season after trading Randy Moss, suffering off the field embarrassments as Coach Mike Tice was caught scalping his comp Super Bowl tickets, and Running Back Onterio Smith was suspended for the season after violating the league’s drug policy, which included a high profile incident in which he was caught at an airport with prosthetic penis used for cheating drug test. When the season started it was clear Daunte Culpepper missed Randy Moss, as the star Quarterback who finished second in MVP voting a year earlier embarked on the worst season of his career as the Vikings stumbled out of the gate with a 2-5 start with Culpepper throwing just six Touchdown passes against 12 interceptions before his season was ended with a major knee injury. Off the field the Vikings created more embarrassment for themselves when several players were charged with lewdness following an orgy on charter boat with exotic dancers and escorts. However, just as it seemed the ship was sinking, the Vikings started to play better under back up QB Brad Johnson, winning six in a row. However, reality struck hard in December as the Vikings were shut down by the eventual Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers 18-3, a week later they would fall again to the Baltimore Ravens ending any hope of making the playoffs. The Vikings would go on to win their final game against the Chicago Bears 34-10 to finish with a 9-7 record. However, it would not be enough to save Mike Tice’s job as he was fired at the end of the season and replaced by Brad Childress, while the Vikings decided to trade Daunte Culpepper to the Miami Dolphins after he refused to restructure his contract.
2006: Hoping to capitalize off their strong finish the Vikings began the season with a new coach in Brad Childress, whose no-nonsense approach was a far cry from the loose attitude of Mike Tice. The new look Vikings would get off to a solid start winning their first two games against the Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers on a Ryan Longwell Field Goals. After losing their next two games the Vikings needed 23 unanswered points in the 4th Quarter to beat the Detroit Lions 26-17. A week later there would be no need for a comeback as they stunned the defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks 31-13 on the road, ending the Seahawks 12-game winning streak at home. At 4-2 the Vikings appeared to be in good shape, but soon the roof would cave in as they would win just two games the rest of the season, as Quarterback Brad Johnson struggled as was eventually replaced by rookie Tarvaris Jackson, while Chester Taylor has a solid season at Running Back, the Vikings offense sputtered most of the season as they finished in third Place with a disappointing 6-10 record.
2007: After finishing in third Place the Vikings looked at rebuilding their offense, and when University of Oklahoma star Adrian Peterson was available at the seventh spot in the NFL Draft, the Vikings had no choice but to draft him despite a strong 2006 season from incumbent Running Back Chester Taylor. Peterson would come out of the gate smoking as he rushed for over 100 yards in three of his first four games. However, with the continued struggles of Quarterback Tavaris Jackson the Vikings got off to a 1-3 start. After a bye week, Peterson demonstrated just how dominate he could be, as he shredded the Chicago Bears defense for 224 yards, with three touchdowns as the Vikings beat the Bears on the road 34-31. After struggling against the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, with Peterson failing to top 100 yards the Vikings found themselves at 2-5, with back up Brooks Bollinger playing in place of Tavaris Jackson who was out with broken finger, the Vikings found themselves matched up against the San Diego Chargers needing desperately to get back on track. Thanks to Adrian Peterson they were able to do that and more as the Vikings star rookie had a history making game rushing for a NFL record 296 yards as the Vikings beat the Chargers 35-17. Jackson would regain the starting spot, but the Vikings would suffer a setback the following week as Peterson suffered a sprained knee and is held to 45 yards as the Vikings are blanked by the Green Bay Packers 34-0. Thanks to Chester Taylor the Vikings would not fade away as they beat the Oakland Raiders 29-22 in Week 11, with Taylor collecting 202 all-purpose yards, with three Touchdowns. A week later on the road in the Meadowlands it would be the Vikings defense that would save the day as the Vikings picked off four passes from Eli Manning, returning three for touchdowns, as the Vikings hammered the New York Giants 41-17. The Vikings would return home a week later, as Adrian Peterson returned to the lineup rushing for 116 yards with two touchdowns as the Vikings reached the .500 mark with a 42-10 win over the Detroit Lions. The Vikings would stay hot in the next two games moving into playoff position as they extended their winning streak to five games with wins over San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears. However, with a chance to lock up a playoff berth the Vikings would suffer a costly loss to the Washington Redskins in Week 16, losing at homer 32-21 as Peterson was held to 27 yards rushing. The Vikings would go on to lose their final game of the season a week later to the Denver Broncos in overtime 22-19 as they finished the season with an 8-8 record missing the playoffs for the third straight season.
2008: The Vikings stumbled out of the gate, losing three of their first four games, including a painful 18-15 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, in their home opener, in which they held a 15-0 lead in the 3rd quarter. With Gus Frerotte taking over at Quarterback from Tavaris Jackson the Vikings got things turned around winning six of their next eight games, including a 28-27 win over the Green Bay Packers in Week 10, as Adrian Peterson rushed for 192 yards. Peterson was just as strong in his second season, leading the league with 1,760 yards rushing, while scoring ten touchdowns. An injury to Gus Frerotte, would give Tavaris Jackson another chance to lead the Vikings as they battled for the playoffs. Jackson, who struggled in the first few games of the season played considerably better after being given a second chance leading the Vikings to wins in his first two games back under center. Jackson continued to play well as the Vikings had a chance to clinch the NFC North in the next to last game of the season. However, a 24-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons dropped their record to 9-6, and put them on the playoff bubble entering the final week of the season. Trailing the New York Giants most of the day, the Vikings rallied in the 4th Quarter, as the reigning Super Bowl Champions rested their players in the second half. Down 19-10 early in the final quarter, the Vikings rallied with Jackson hitting Bernard Berrian on a 54-yard touchdown pass to get back into the game. With five seconds left the Vikings would kick themselves into the playoffs as Ryan Longwell nailed a 50-yard field goal to deliver the Vikings a 20-19 win that enabled them to win the NFC North with a 10-6 record. However, in the playoffs the Vikings would come up against a hot Philadelphia Eagles team losing 26-14, despite two touchdown runs from Adrian Peterson, as QB Tavaris Jackson struggled again, with a back breaking interception returned 44 yards by Asante Samuel for a touchdown.
2009: The Vikings who had an All-Pro Running Back and Adrian Peterson, and a solid defense, led by sack master Jared Allen made a change at Quarterback, landing future Hall of Famer Brett Favre, who flirted with retirement for the second straight season only to comeback with a new team during the preseason for the second year in a row. While the move angered many Green Bay Packer fans in gave the Vikings a chance to root for the Quarterback who tormented them for many seasons. After winning their first two games on the road, the fans at the Metrodome were treated to some Favre magic hitting Greg Lewis on a 32-yard touchdown pass with two seconds left to beat the San Francisco 49ers 27-24. A week later Favre was the story again, passing for 271 yards, with three touchdowns as he tormented the Packers in a 30-23 win at the Metrodome, as the Vikings won their first six games. The Vikings streak would come to an end in Week 7, as they were beaten on the road by the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17, as Brett Favre had two turnovers that led directly to touchdowns for the Steelers in the 4th Quarter. The first one was a fumble that was scooped up by LaMarr Woodley and returned 77 yards for TD. Than with one minute left Keyaron Fox returned an interception 82 yards for TD to seal the game for the Steelers. A week later, Brett Favre bounced back in a big way with four touchdown passes in his return to Lambeau Field, as the Vikings entered the bye week with a 7-1 record, after beating the Packers for the second time 38-26. Out of the bye, the Vikings continued to roll, winning three straight games. During a 30-17 Sunday Night loss on the road to the Arizona Cardinals, the Vikings suffered a key loss on defense as E.J. Henderson suffered a broken leg that would sideline in the Linebacker for the remainder of the season. The Vikings would recover to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 30-10 to wrap up the division title. However, after back to back losses they needed to finish strong against the New York Giants to assure themselves a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Powered by 24 points in the 2nd Quarter the Vikings offense was clicking on all cylinders as they ended the regular season with a 44-7 win to finish with a 13-3 record. Despite their record and playing at home, many thought the Vikings would have problems with the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. However, the Vikings defense played on of its best games of the season, sacking Cowboys QB Tony Romo, while forcing three turnovers. On offense it was all Brett Favre, as the future Hall of Famer had one of his best games ever passing for 234 yards with four Touchdown passes as the Vikings advanced to the NFC Championship Game with a 34-3 win. Facing the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome, the Vikings dominated the game the field position game as they gained 475 total yards compared to 257 yards for the Saints. However, six fumbles three of which were lost plus a Brett Favre interception allowed the Saints to stay in the game. With the score tied 28-28 late in the 4th Quarter the Vikings appeared to be driving to the Super Bowl, when a battered Brett Favre made another critical error. Flushed out of the pocket Favre who was hampered by a leg injury suffered by several hard hits he received during the game could have run the ball for a first down into field goal range. Instead he tried to force the ball down the field and was picked off by Tracy Porter at the Saints 22 yard line. In overtime the Vikings would never touch the ball as the Saints advanced the ball aided by two controversial penalties on the Vikings secondary to set up Garrett Hartley for a game winning 40 yard field goal. That sent the Saints to the Super Bowl with a 31-28 win.
2010: After falling just short of reaching the Super Bowl, the Vikings began the year with Super Bowl aspirations as Coach Brad Childress flew down to Mississippi to talk Brett Favre into returning for a second season in purple. The Vikings would begin the season in the same place their previous season ended, New Orleans facing the Super Bowl Champions Saints in the Thursday Night Season kickoff. The Vikings would be short one key receiver as Sidney Rice was out with hip surgery. Defense would be the story of the opener, as the Saints won 14-9. A week later in the home opener, the Vikings would experience more frustration as Brett Favre would struggle again, turning the ball over four times as the Dolphins defense held the Vikings out of the endzone late in the 4th Quarter to preserve a 14-10 win. The Vikings would earn their first win a week later as they beat the Detroit Lions 24-10, Adrian Peterson having a big day with 160 yards rushing and two touchdowns. During the bye week the Vikings looked to add some speed, by re-acquiring WR Randy Moss from the New England Patriots for a draft pick. Moss would score a touchdown in his first game, as Brett Favre threw his 500th touchdown and surpassed 70,000 passing yards. However, it was not enough as the Vikings lost to the New York Jets 29-20 on Monday Night in the Meadowlands. In a desperation must win against the Dallas Cowboys, the Vikings to 2-3 with a 24-21 win as Percy Harvin’s 95 yard kickoff return proved to be the difference maker. The next two weeks would not go as smoothly as the Vikings suffered losses at the hands of the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots. Following the loss to the Patriots, Coach Brad Childress decided to release Randy Moss, over the receiver’s comments. Ownership was unhappy with Childress’ decision to cut Moss, and expressed they thought about firing Childress. Despite the turmoil, Brett Favre would pass for 446 yards as the Vikings scored two late touchdowns to force overtime, where they would beat the Arizona Cardinals 27-24 on a 35 yard Field Goal by Ryan Longwell. However, after losses to the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers dropped them to 3-7, the Vikings would make their move firing Brad Childress and replacing him with Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier. In Frazier’s debut the Vikings defense delivered a big performance as the Vikings earned a 17-13 win on the road against the Washington Redskins. A week later the Vikings would see Brett Favre suffer an ankle injury as he was picked off by Drayton Florence who gave the Buffalo Bills an early 7-0 lead at the Metrodome. Backup Tavaris Jackson would come on and lead the Vikings to 24 points in the 2nd Quarter as the purple gang won their second straight for Leslie Frazier 38-14. However a week later the roof would cave in on the Vikings. A heavy snowstorm would cause the Teflon roof at the Metrodome to cave in several hours before the Vikings were to host the New York Giants. The game would be moved to Detroit and played on Monday Night, but Favre was unable to answer the bell as lingering pain with his ankle had forced an end to Brett Favre’s streak of 321 consecutive games that began in 1992. With Tavaris Jackson getting the start, the Vikings offense would sputter losing 21-3. In the game they would even lose Jackson who limped off the field. Favre would return a week later as the Vikings hosted the Chicago Bears TCF Bank Stadium home of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers). However, on a bone chilling night in the first outdoor game in 29 years Favre would be knocked out again, this time it would be permanent as he missed the rest of the season, as the Bears handed the Vikings 40-14 loss. Facing the Philadelphia Eagles on the road, the Vikings schedule was messed up by the weather again, as they were forced to play on Tuesday Night after a record breaking blizzard in Philadelphia. With Joe Webb getting the start the Vikings would stun the Eagles 24-14, as the Vikings defense frustrated Michael Vick all day. The Vikings would end the season with a 20-13 loss to the Detroit Lions on the road, as they ended the season with a disappointing record of 6-10.
2011: Leslie Frazier would become the permanent head coach after finishing the 2010 season as the interim coach following the firing of Brad Childress as finding a new quarterback became a priority for the Vikings. The Vikings took a two prong attack at getting a new quarterback as they drafted Christian Ponder in the first round, and acquired veteran Donovan McNabb. Things looked good early for the Vikings as Percy Harvin returned the opening kickoff 103 yards, as the Vikings took a 17-7 halftime lead on the road against the San Diego Chargers. However, in the second half the Vikings offense stalled as the Chargers scored 17 unanswered points to win the game 24-17. In their home opener a week later in their home opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Vikings again controlled things early, taking a 17-0 halftime lead. However, once again they collapsed the second half as the Bucs rallied to win the game 24-20. The pattern continued into Week 3 as the Vikings held a 20-0 lead at the half against the Detroit Lions at home. The second half would again be the Vikings downfall as they fell to 0-3, with a 26-23 loss in overtime. Through three games the Vikings had outscored their opponents 54-7 in the first half, only to be outscored 67-6 after halftime. In Week 4 on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Vikings were not able to build an early lead as the Chiefs took a 15-10 lead into the fourth quarter with five field goals from Ryan Succop. The Chiefs would than break the game open on a 52 yard pass from Matt Cassel to Dwayne Bowe. The Vikings would try to battle back, as Donovan McNabb led a 70 yard drive which was finished with a one yard TD pass to Michael Jenkins. However, it would not be enough as the Chiefs won 22-17. The Vikings would finally get their first win in Week 5 as Adrian Peterson scored three touchdowns with 122 yards rushing as the Vikings jumped out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter on the way to winning the game 34-10. A week later during a 39-10 Sunday Night loss to the Chicago Bears, Donovan McNabb would be benched in favor of the Rookie Christian Ponder. At 1-5, McNabb’s numbers were average but not awful as he had an 82.9 QB rating, with 1,026 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. However, the Vikings decided to begin the youth movement as they looked to the future. Donovan McNabb would be released a few weeks later. Christian Ponder would get his first start against the Green Bay Packers, and play well nearly leading a fourth quarter comeback with touchdowns with a 24 yard pass to Michael Jenkins completing a 93 yard TD drive. However, it was not enough as the Vikings lost the game 33-27. Ponder would earn his first win a week later as the Vikings beat the Carolina Panthers 24-21, with Adrian Peterson’s nine yard run tying the game and Ryan Longwell’s 31 yard Field Goal winning the game in the fourth quarter. The next few weeks, the news was not as good for the Vikings, as they were blown out by the Packers 45-7 on Monday Night Football. After loss to the Oakland Raiders and Atlanta Falcons, the Vikings saw another fourth quarter lead go up in smoke, as Christian Ponder’s 381 yard three touchdown game was spoiled by Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos 35-32 on a Matt Prater Field Goal as time expired. The Vikings losing streak would eventually hit six games before they scored a Christmas Eve win over the Washington Redskins on the road. However, the win came at a price as RB Adrian Peterson suffered a knee injury. The Vikings would win the game 33-26 thanks to a strong effort from Toby Gerhart who rushed for 107 yards after Peterson’s injury while Joe Webb coming on in relief for Christian Ponder had two touchdown passes. The Vikings season would end a week later with a 17-13 loss to the Bears at the Metrodome. Though the Vikings finished 3-13 there was plenty to cheer as Jared Allen made a run at history sacking Josh McCown three and half times. Allen had come into the game needing four sacks to set the NFL single season record held by Michael Strahan. However, Allen was unable to get to McCown in the final minutes, as he ended the season with 22 sacks, just a half sack short of the record.
2012: Not much was expected for the Vikings when the season began with a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Metrodome. They did get a boost with the unexpected early return of Adrian Peterson, who suffered a torn ACL in the Vikings Christmas Eve game against the Washington Redskins. Little did anyone know that Peterson was about to embark on one of the best season’s in NFL history. Right away Adrian Peterson made an impact, rushing for 84 yards with two touchdowns. However, the Vikings still needed a 55 yard Field Goal by Rookie Kicker Blair Walsh at the end of regulation to force overtime. In OT Walsh again was the answer hitting from 38 yards out to secure a 26-23 win. The Vikings had another 4th Quarter rally in Week 2, scoring twice to even their game against the Indianapolis Colts. However, the Colts would win the game 23-20 on an Adam Vinateri kick as time expired. Back at the Metrodome in Week 3, the Vikings got a strong game from Christian Ponder who had two touchdown passes and a 22 yard bootleg score to guide the Vikings to a 24-13 upset win over the San Francisco 49ers. In Week 4, Adrian Peterson would post his first 100 yard rushing effort of the season as the Vikings beat the Detroit Lions 20-13 at Ford Field. The big play for the Vikings came on special teams as Marcus Sherels returned a punt 77 yards for a TD. Ponder continued his strong quarterback play in Week 5, as the Vikings bashed the Tennessee Titans 30-7 to improve to 4-1. Christian Ponder would pass for 352 yards with two touchdowns in Week 6, but it would not be enough as the Vikings could not contain Robert Griffin III who led the Washington Redskins to a 38-26 win. Returning home in Week 7, Adrian Peterson got his second 100 yard rushing game of the season, gaining 153 yards with a Touchdown as the Vikings edged the Arizona Cardinals 21-14. A week later, the Vikings would not be as fortunate, losing at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 36-17 as the Vikings defense struggled all day to stop Josh Freeman. Adrian Peterson would get his third straight 100 yard game, rushing for 182 yards with two scores. However, Christian Ponder had a terrible game completing just 11 of 22 passes for 63 yards as the Vikings dropped a second straight game to the Seattle Seahawks 30-20. With Peterson breaking the game open with a 61 yard TD in the 4th Quarter and rushing for 171 yards the Vikings got back on track with a 34-24 win over the Lions at home. Coming out of the bye week, Christian Ponder’s recent struggles continued as the Vikings suffered back to back division losses on the road against the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. Despite the losses Peterson’s surge continued as he topped 100 yards in each game, including a 210 yard effort at Lambeau Field. Returning home to play the Bears it was Adrian Peterson “All Day”, as the Vikings star collected 153 yards with two touchdowns as the Vikings won 21-14, improving to 7-6 and keeping their playoff hopes alive. The Vikings would take the momentum and get another 200 yard game from Adrian Peterson to beat the St. Louis Rams on the road 36-22. The game put Peterson in position for a 200 yard season, with a chance to break the single season rushing record. However, getting into the playoffs was the true goal and the Vikings continued to move closer to the playoffs 23-6 upset win over the Houston Texans, as Peterson had his string of 1000 yard game halted as he rushed for 86 yards with a TD. Needing a wing for the playoffs and Peterson needing just over 100 yards to reach 2,000 the last game of the season had all eyes on the Vikings running back. Peterson would get the 2,000 yards in before halftime and began looking at the single season record of 2,105 set by Eric Dickerson in 1984. The two division rivals continued to match scores, as Peterson collected yards and closed in on the record. Tied 34-34 in the finals seconds Peterson would get within nine yards, but making the playoffs would be more important and the drive was stopped as Blair Walsh set up for a 29 yard field goal that would win the game 37-34. The Vikings were in the playoffs at 10-6, while Adrian Peterson and his 2,097 yard season with 13 Touchdowns, which would earn him both Offensive Player of the Year and NFL MVP honors.
2012 Playoffs: The Vikings would play the Green Bay Packers again seven days later with the game this time at Lambeau Field for the Wild Card round. Before the game even started the Vikings were dealt a big blow as QB Christian Ponder, who started all 16 games was unable to play with a triceps injury. The Vikings got on the board first with a Blair Walsh Field Goal, but from there their offense was stuck in the mud, as backup QB Joe Webb struggled, completing just 11 of 30 passes, while the Packers were able to hold Adrian Peterson to 99 yards. The Vikings would finally find the endzone late in the 4th Quarter as Webb and Michael Jenkins connected on a 50 yard pass and catch, but by then the game was out of reach as the Packers won 24-10.
2013: Coming off a MVP season, Adrian Peterson began 2013 with a bang, taking his first carry 78 yards for a touchdown. However, the Vikings committed four turnovers and ended up losing to the Detroit Lions 34-24. The Vikings would also start Week 2 with a pang as Cordarrelle Patterson returned the opening kickoff 105 yards against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. The Vikings would also get a 61 yard fumble return from Brian Robinson. However, the Vikings would have three more turnover s and would lose the game in the final seconds as Martellus Bennett caught a pass from Jay Cutler with ten seconds left to win the game for the Bears 31-30. Turnovers continued to plague the Vikings in the home opener, as they got three more against the Cleveland Browns, as they dropped another game in the final minutes 31-27, with Brian Hoyer connecting with Jordan Cameron with 51 seconds left. The Vikings would get their first win in London as they faced the Pittsburgh Steelers. After struggling in his first three games, Christian Ponder was benched with a thumb injury in Week 4. The start would go to Matt Cassel who had a solid game, passing for 288 yards with two touchdowns including a 70 yard hook up with Greg Jennings in the first quarter. Adrian Peterson also had a big game rushing for 140 yards with two scores, including a 60 yard TD run in the second quarter as the Vikings won the game 34-27. Following the bye week, Cassel would get another start against the Carolina Panthers and struggled as the Vikings were slammed by the Panthers 35-10. Just two weeks after being picked off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Josh Freeman would start at quarterback for the Vikings in a Monday Night Game against the New York Giants. Freeman was ineffective, completing 20 of 53 passes for 190 yards and an interception as the Giants beat the Vikings 23-7. Following the game Josh Freeman would be demoted to third string as he had concussion symptoms. Christian Ponder would return to face the Green Bay Packers, and again was subpar as the Vikings continued to lose, despite getting big plays on special teams, with Cordarrelle Patterson setting a NFL record with a 109 yard kickoff return to open the game in Lambeau Field. The Vikings quarterback carousel never quite worked as they could not find anyone to help take the pressure off Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 1,266 yards with 11 touchdowns as he dealt with personal tragedy when his two year old son died from injuries suffered in an assault by his ex-girlfriends new boy friend. Wins would be hard to come by for the Vikings who lost seven of their first eight games. The Vikings would play better in the second half, scoring wins over the Washington Redskins and Chicago Bears at home, while they played the first game to end in a tie with the new overtime rules against the Packers at Lambeau Field. In December the Vikings lost one of the craziest games of the season in the snow against the Baltimore Ravens. Leading 12-7 in the fourth quarter the Vikings and Ravens traded the lead five times in the final 2:05. The Vikings got big plays from Toby Gerhart who broke off a 41 yard run, while Matt Cassel and Cordarrelle Patterson connected on a 79 yard pass play. However, the Ravens with Marlon Brown run with four seconds left won the game 29-26. The Vikings would win the final two games at the Metrodome, upsetting the Philadelphia Eagles 48-30 as Matt Asiata scored three touchdowns playing in the absence of Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart in Week 15. The Vikings would close the see with a 14-13 win over the Lions, as Matt Cassel connected with Patterson on an eight yard pass with nine minutes left. It would be the final score of the season and for the Metrodome which was demolished following the season. The Vikings will move into a new stadium at the Metrodome location in 2016, the next two seasons they will play at the University of Minnesota campus in Bloomington at TCF Bank Stadium. It would not be the only change for the Vikings as Coach Leslie Frazier was fired following the season.
2014: The Minnesota Vikings were focused on the future as they began the season under first year Head Coach Mike Zimmer. It would be the first of two seasons that they played their games on the campus of University of Minnesota at TCF Bank Stadium, while construction began on their new state of the art stadium on the location of the Metrodome which was demolished in the off-season. The Vikings also had a quarterback of the future with Teddy Bridgewater selected in the first round of the NFL Draft out of Louisville. Bridgewater would have to wait to earn the starting job, as Matt Cassel got the start in the opener. Cassel would have a big day leading the Vikings to a 34-6 win over the St. Louis Rams. Heading into their home opener, the Vikings were dealt a blow when Adrian Peterson was deactivated after being charged with negligent injury of a child for allegedly beating his four-year-old son with a tree branch. Peterson would end up being suspended the remainder of the season. The Vikings would lose the game at TCF Bank Stadium 30-7 against the New England Patriots. Teddy Bridgewater would make his debut in Week 3, replacing an injured Matt Cassel after the Vikings fell behind the New Orleans Saints 13-0. Bridgewater had his flashes with three scoring drives but could not get in the end zone as the Saints won the game 20-9. With Cassel lost for the season with a broken foot, Teddy Bridgewater would take over as the starter in Week 4, as the Vikings hosted the Atlanta Falcons. Bridgewater would give Vikings fans plenty to cheer, passing for 317 yards, with a 13 yard touchdown run as the Vikings defeated the Falcons 41-28. Late in the win over the Falcons Bridgewater suffered an ankle injury and was inactive four nights later as they faced the Green Bay Packers in the rain on a Thursday Night in Lambeau Field. The game was as gloomy as the weather for Minnesota, as the Vikings suffered a 42-10 loss with Christian Ponder. Teddy Bridgewater ended up missing just one game, but the Vikings would struggle losing at home to the Detroit Lions 17-3. Teddy Bridgewater continued his rookie struggles, but connected with Cordarrelle Patterson for his first career touchdown pass as the Vikings suffered a heartbreaking 17-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills on last second touchdown to fall to 2-5. A week later it was the Vikings getting a late score, as Blair Walsh forced overtime with a 38 yard Field Goal as time expired. Overtime would be over quickly as Anthony Barr scooped up a fumble and returned it 27 yards to give the Vikings a dramatic 19-13 road victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Teddy Bridgewater continued to show signs of improvement as the Vikings went into the bye week with two straight wins following a 29-26 win over the Washington Redskins. The game’s decisive play came when Matt Asiata scored his third touchdown of the game with 3:27 left. Coming out of the bye the Vikings struggles against the NFC North continued as they suffered losses to the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. With their season fading away, the Vikings got a boost from their special teams unit, scoring twice on blocked punts, while Bridgewater has two touchdown passes in a 35-13 win over the Carolina Panthers. A week later it would be the big play again that helped the Vikings win as Teddy Bridgewater connected with Jarius Wright on an 85 yard touchdown pass to beat the New York Jets in overtime 30-24 at TCF Bank Stadium. However, more frustration with in the division, saw the Detroit Lions rally from an early 14-0 deficit to beat the Vikings 16-14. The Vikings now just trying to get back to .500 to end the season, would get a big game from Teddy Bridgewater against the Miami Dolphins. However, Jeff Locke had a punt blocked with 41 seconds left in regulation to give Miami a 37-35 win. The Vikings would conclude the season with a 13-9 win over the Bears, ending their divisional losing streak, as they posted a 7-9 record giving hope of a brighter future.
2015: As work continued on their new stadium, the Minnesota Vikings hoped to continue to build momentum as they welcomed back Adrian Peterson, after missing most of the year with a suspension for a child abuse charge. The Vikings also hoped that Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater would build off a solid rookie season. Opening on Monday Night, the Vikings looked to be tired from the late start time as they were sluggish on both sides of the ball, falling to the San Francisco 49ers 20-3, as Peterson rushed for just 31 yards on ten carries. Adrian Peterson had a bunch better game in the Vikings home opener at TCF Bank Stadium, totaling 192 yards with 134 rushing and 58 yards receiving as the Vikings defeated the Detroit Lions 26-16. Peterson was solid again in Week 3, rushing for 126 yards with two touchdowns as the Vikings crushed the San Diego Chargers 31-14. Also highlighting the win was a 91-yard interception return from Chad Greenway. With Adrian Peterson scoring a 48-yard run, the Vikings rallied from a ten point deficit to tie the Denver Broncos at Mile High with five minutes left. After the Broncos regained the lead with a Field Goal, the Vikings had a 1:51 to answer, but a fumble from Teddy Bridgewater allowed Denver to hold on for a 23-20 win. Following a bye week the Vikings returned home and beat the Kansas City Chiefs 16-10 in a defensive battle with Blair Walsh providing the difference with three Field Goals. In Week 7, Teddy Bridgewater passed 316 yards with two touchdowns as the Vikings rallied from down 17-3 to beat the Lions 28-19 at Ford Field. Against the Chicago Bears on the road a week later, Teddy Bridgewater had a tough game as he was pounded by the Bears defense all game. Down 20-13, Bridgewater showed the ability to escape as he avoided a sack and hit Stefon Diggs on a 40-yard pass to even the score. After the Bears went three and out Teddy Bridgewater led the Vikings down the field once more, setting up Blair Walsh to win the game 23-20 on a 36-yard Field Goal as time expired. Walsh was the hero again when the Vikings returned home, hitting a 40-yard Field Goal in overtime as the Vikings beat the St. Louis Rams 21-18. With an 80-yard touchdown run, Adrian Peterson rushes for 203 yards as the Vikings moved into first place with a 30-14 win on the road against the Oakland Raiders. The Vikings stay atop the NFC North would not last long, as they were beaten by the Green Bay Packers at home 30-13. The Vikings would rebound to beat the Atlanta Falcons the following week 20-10 as Adrian Peterson rushed for 158 yards with two scores. Returning home the Vikings suffered their worst loss of the season, 38-7 at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. Just four days later, the Vikings faced another test against the Arizona Cardinals. Teddy Bridgewater had a solid game before a primetime audience passing for 335 yards as the Vikings rallied from down 20-10 in the fourth quarter. However, they would end up with a second straight loss as the Cardinals won the game 23-20 on a 47-yard kick by Chandler Catanzaro. Returning home the Vikings kept their playoff hopes alive with a 38-17 win over the Bears, as Teddy Bridgewater passed for 238 yards with four touchdowns. Following a 49-17 Sunday Night win over the New York Giants, the Vikings would go into Lambeau Field for the final game of the season with a playoff spot in their pocket, knowing a win would get them the division title. Early on the Vikings controlled the action, shutting down the Packers attack to take a 6-3 lead into halftime. In the third quarter, Adrian Peterson capped a scoring drive with a three yard run, while Captain Munnerlyn returned a fumble 55 yards to extend the lead to 20-3. The Packers offense came alive in the fourth quarter, scoring ten points, but it was not enough as Minnesota with a 20-13 win, captured the NFC North with a record of 11-5. Adrian Peterson would finish the season with a league best 1,485 yards for third rushing title of his career, while Teddy Bridgewater passed for 3,231 yards, toping 3,000 for the first time in his career.
2015 Playoffs: Sometimes you win for losing and lose for winning and that may have been the case with the season finale against the Green Bay Packers. The Packers with their loss faced the mediocre Washington Redskins, while the Vikings hosted the two time NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks, who had beaten them 38-7 a month earlier. The only advantage for the Vikings was their game would be at home. It would be the Vikings final game at TCF Bank Stadium before their new domed stadium opened in the fall. Like Minnesota playoff games of the past, temperatures were unbearably cold, as kickoff was ?6 °F, the third coldest game in NFL history. On hand for the coin toss was legendary Vikings Coach Bud Grant who despite being 88 year old came onto the field sleeveless. Neither team could get anything going offensively in the first half, as the Vikings held a 3-0. Blair Walsh would add two more Field Goals in the third quarter to extend the lead to 9-0. The Seahawks offense would finally find its grove in the fourth quarter as they rallied to take a 10-9 lead. The Vikings though had a chance to answer and appeared to be on the way to win the game as they drove down to the Seattle nine. With 26 second left the Vikings just needed a 27-yard Field Goal to regain the lead, shorter than the new extra point. However, a rushed snap and a poor hold with the laces facing the kicker, led Blair Walsh to push the kick far left as the Seahawks held on to win 10-9.
2016: As they prepared to open their new downtown stadium, the Minnesota Vikings got devastating news as the season began when Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a complete tear of his knee ligaments in practice. Needing a quarterback, the Vikings acquired Sam Bradford from the Philadelphia Eagles just before the start of the season. With Bradford learning the playbook, Shaun Hill got the start as the Vikings opened the season on the road against the Tennessee Titans. Early on the Titans were in control leading 10-0 after the first quarter. The Vikings defense helped turn things around taking the lead before halftime on a 77-yard interception return by Eric Kendricks. While Blair Walsh kicked four field goals, the Vikings got a second defensive score from Danielle Hunter to win the game 25-16. The Vikings would open U.S. Bank Stadium in primetime against the Green Bay Packers. Packers drew first blood as Jordy Nelson caught a touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers. The Vikings defense would respond shutting the Packers down over the next two quarters, as Sam Bradford making his first start passed for 286 with two touchdowns to win the game 17-14. Not all news was good for the Vikings as Adrian Peterson suffered a knee injury that would cause him to miss 13 games. Overcoming early deficits continued to be the trend for the Vikings in Week 3, as they trailed the Carolina Panthers 10-0 on the road in the first quarter. Things began to turn in Minnesota’s favor when Hunter took down Cam Newton in the end zone for a safety. They cut further into the lead on a 54-yard punt return by Marcus Sherels. Shutting the Panthers down in the second half the Vikings took the lead on a Sam Bradford touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph, winning the game 22-10 to end Carolina’s 14-game home winning streak. On Monday against the New York Giants, the Vikings did not need any comebacks as they were in control the entire way, winning 24-10. The Vikings would continue their great start a week later, by crushing the Houston Texans 31-13 to go into the bye week as the last of the unbeatens at 5-0. The bye week served as a stopper to the Vikings momentum, as they suffered a 21-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 7. A week later their offense struggled again, suffering a 20-10 Monday Night loss to the Chicago Bears. Returning home, the Vikings suffered their most gut-wrenching loss of the season against the Detroit Lions. Trailing 13-9, the Vikings appeared to have things won when Rhett Ellison punched the ball into the end zone with 23 seconds left. The Lions, however, answered quickly getting the ball across midfield where Matt Prater tied the game with a 58-yard field goal. In overtime, the Lions would take the ball down the field and score a touchdown to win the game 22-16. Against the Washington Redskins a week later, the Vikings were in control at halftime, with a 20-14 lead as Sam Bradford had two touchdowns in the final minute of the second quarter. However, the Vikings offense ground to a halt in the second half, as Dustin Hopkins had four second-half field goals to win beat Minnesota 26-20. It would mark the final game for Blair Walsh who was cut after the game in which he missed an extra point as he continued to struggle to make field goals all season after his playoff miss. When they won their first five games defense was key, to end their four-game losing streak the Vikings turned to defense again, as they turned the game around in the second quarter on a 100-yard interception return by Xavier Rhodes. Later, they got 104-yard kickoff return by Cordarrelle Patterson to start the second half as they beat the Arizona Cardinals 30-24. Four days later, the Vikings tasted frustration again, as a crucial Sam Bradford interception led to the Lions winning 16-13 on a pair of Matt Prater field goals in the last two minutes. A week later, the Vikings were without Coach Mike Zimmer who had emergency eye surgery. He would not have wanted to watch anyway as the Vikings dropped to 6-6 with a 17-15 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, as Bradford was unable to complete the two-point try after getting the Vikings into the end zone with 25 seconds left. The Vikings kept their fading playoff hopes alive in Week 14, with a 25-16 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, as Kai Forbath kept them in the game with four field goals, as they took the lead for good on a touchdown by Matt Asiata. Adrian Peterson returned to action in Week 15 and saw limited action, carrying the ball six times for 22 yards as the Vikings were beaten by the Indianapolis Colts 34-6 at home. It would be the final carries of Peterson’s Vikings career as he was inactive the final two games of the season. The Vikings playoff hopes would die a week later, as they suffered a 38-25 loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field, despite Sam Bradford had his best game of the season with 382 yards with three touchdowns. The Vikings would finish the season at 8-8, beating the Bears 38-10 in the season finale, as they became a rare team to miss the playoffs after starting 5-0.
2017: The Minnesota Vikings entered the 2017 season with a lot of uncertainty as to what way they were going with their team. Teddy Bridgewater, their franchise quarterback who they had high hopes for, was coming off a horrific knee injury in which he was sidelined for all of the 2016 season and was still uncertain when he could return. This led to Sam Bradford being their Week 1 quarterback, who played well, passing for 346 with three touchdowns in a 29-19 season-opening Monday Night win against the New Orleans Saints and former Viking Adrian Peterson. Unfortunately for Minnesota, Bradford suffered a non-contact injury during the game and was forced to sit the next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, thrusting journeyman Case Keenum into the mix. Keenum struggled in his first start as the Vikings lost the game 26-9. However, he bounced back in his first home start, passing for 369 yards with three touchdowns as the Vikings beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-17. Week 4 saw the Vikings lose another key player, as rookie running back Dalvin Cook, who rushed for 354 yards in his first four games suffered a season-ending knee injury as the Vikings lost to the Detroit Lions 14-7. Without Cook, Minnesota turned to Jerick McKinnon, who had a key 68-yard touchdown run as the Vikings edged the Chicago Bears 20-17 in a Monday Night matchup at Soldier Field. At U.S. Bank Stadium the whole picture in the NFC North changed drastically as Anthony Barr delivered a hit that broke Aaron Rodgers collarbone, sidling the Green Bay Packers MVP quarterback the rest of the season. The Vikings would win the game 23-10 and moved into first place. In Week 7 it was the Kai Forbath show, as the Vikings kicker had six field goals to beat the Baltimore Ravens 24-16. In London, the Vikings improved to 6-2 with a 33-16 win over the winless Cleveland Browns. Following their bye week, the Vikings got a big game from Case Keenum, who hour four touchdown passes to beat the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field 38-30. Back home in Week 11, defense was the key in a battle of division leaders, as the Vikings beat the Los Angeles Rams 24-7, scoring 17-unanswered points in the fourth quarter, highlighted by a 65-yard touchdown reception by Adam Thielen. On Thanksgiving, the Vikings feasted on the Lions 30-23, moving their record to 9-2 on the season. The Vikings winning ways continued in Week 13, as they shut down the Atlanta Falcons and improved to 10-2 with a 14-9 win on the road. The Vikings winning streak came to an end the following week, with a 31-24 loss in a back and forth game against the Carolina Panthers. Returning home the Vikings bounced back with a 34-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals with Eric Kendricks setting the tone early with a 31-yard pick six. Late in the game, fans in Minnesota got a thrill as Teddy Bridgewater returned and finished the game in a mop-up role. In a Sunday Night game against the Packers at Lambeau Field, the Vikings reveled in their roles as villains shutting out the Packers 16-0. The Vikings would end the season with a 23-7 win over the Bears, posting a record of 13-3 to earn a playoff bye, as they hoped to become the first team to play in the Super Bowl at their home stadium. A key to the Vikings success was the best scoring defense in the league, allowing league-best 16.1 points per game.
2017 NFL Playoffs: The Minnesota Vikings took on the New Orleans Saints in a highly anticipated matchup between possibly the two best remaining teams. The Vikings had defeated the Saints in Week 1 of the season 29-19, however, both teams looked very different the second time around. The Vikings had Sam Bradford behind center and Dalvin Cook making his career debut. On the other side of the ball, Alvin Kamara was just a young rookie running back out of Tennessee, battling former Viking Adrian Peterson for a backup spot. It was safe to say that the landscape of both teams looked entirely different. In the first half, Minnesota pounded the ball early in the game and built a 17-0 lead at the end of the second quarter behind rushing touchdowns from both Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray. Despite the early lead, Minnesota was known for their heartbreaking losses in big moments and most knew that this game was far from over. The Saints came out firing in the second half with Drew Brees and Michael Thomas connecting twice to close the gap to 17-14. Fast forward to the three-minute mark in the fourth quarter and the score is 21-20 Saints after a Kai Forbath field goal from Minnesota and an impossible acrobatic touchdown grab from Alvin Kamara over the arms of linebacker Eric Kendricks. In a minute and a half, the Vikings were able to march down the field to give Forbath another opportunity from 53 yards out which he was able to drill right down the middle to make it 23-21 Minnesota. However, this left enough time on the clock for Drew Brees and company to have a two-minute drill of their own and was able to convert a 43-yard attempt with just 25 seconds left in the game to put the Saints up 24-23. It was at that moment that the air was sucked out of the stadium and Vikings fan were on their way to yet another heartbreaking defeat. That was until one of the most miraculous and immaculate plays to ever have happened in NFL history. With ten seconds to go, facing third down and the ball on their own 39-yard line, just about all hope was lost and Minnesota was down to their final out. Case Keenum snapped the ball, dropped back in the pocket facing a four-man rush, stepped up and delivered a prayer on what was designed to be an out route to Stefon Diggs. While Diggs was going up to make the catch, Saints safety, Marcus Williams overshoots the outstretched receiver causing him to take out the only other defender in the vicinity, giving Diggs a free path to the end zone. Diggs was then able to waltz down 61 yards to the end zone and deliver a killing blow with no time left. This play labeled the Minneapolis Miracle will forever go down in the history of both Vikings and the NFL as one of the most historic and improbable finishes of all time. The Vikings went on to face The Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship for the chance to go back to Minnesota and be the first team to host their own Super Bowl. The Vikings scored on the first drive of the game, however, were outshined by the Eagles from there on as Philly was able to put up 38 unanswered points and delivered a crushing defeat to Minnesota in the championship game. Minnesota may have had the fairytale ending the week before, but Philly was the Cinderella team of the playoffs and backup quarterback Nick Foles was able to take his team to the first ever Super Bowl Championship in the franchise’s history. Despite the strong year from Case Keenum, the Vikings decided to go in a different direction at quarterback, signing free agent Kirk Cousins, who had been with the Washington Redskins.
-Written by Oliver J. Minor
©MMXVIII Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Football League. This site is not affiliated with the Minnesota Vikings or the NFL. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on August 15, 2002. Last updated on August 28, 2018 at 11:50 pm ET.