The Vikings are currently owned by Zygi Wilf, Mark Wilf, Jeffrey Wilf, Leonard Wilf, David Mandelbaum, Alan Landis and Reggie Fowler.
The Vikings have been conducting summer training camp at Minnesota State University, Mankato since 1966. From 1961-65 they held camp at Bemidji State University.
10 Fran Tarkenton
53 Mick Tingelhoff
70 Jim Marshall
77 Korey Stringer
80 Cris Carter
88 Alan Page
1 - 1969 (NFL)
4 - 1969 (WFC), 1973 (NFC), 1974 (NFC), 1976 (NFC)
17 - 1968 (NFL Central), 1969 (NFL Central), 1970 (NFC Central), 1971 (NFC Central), 1973 (NFC Central), 1974 (NFC Central), 1975 (NFC Central), 1976 (NFC Central), 1977 (NFC Central), 1978 (NFC Central), 1980 (NFC Central), 1989 (NFC Central), 1992 (NFC Central), 1994 (NFC Central), 1998 (NFC Central), 2000 (NFC Central), 2008 (NFC North), 2009 (NFC North)
25 - 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2012
Leslie Frazier 16-22-0
Brad Childress 39-35-0
Mike Tice 32-33-0
Denny Green 97-62-0
Jerry Burns 55-46-0
Bud Grant 7-9
Les Steckel 3-13-0
Bud Grant 161-99-5
Norm Van Brocklin 29-51-4
The Minnesota Vikings are based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings
compete in the National Football Conference of the National Football League
(NFL). They have been a member of the North Division since the NFL realigned
in 2002. Prior to the realignment, they had been a member of the Central
Division, also known as the Black & Blue Division. The Vikings have won one
NFL championship (Pre-1970 AFL-NFL Merger) losing 23-7 to the Kansas City
Chiefs in Super Bowl IV and were the first team to both play in and lose
four Super Bowls. The Vikings have won their division 17 times, third most
among teams currently playing in the NFL.
The club was founded in 1961 after the ownership group withdrew membership to the American Football League and agreed to join the NFL as an expansion team. The team played home games at Metropolitan Stadium through the 1981 NFL season and have played their home games at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome since 1982.
Pro football in 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 three Minneapolis businessmen Bill Boyer, H. P. Skoglund and Max Winter were awarded a franchise in the new American Football League. Five months later in January 1960, the ownership group along with Bernie Ridder forfeited its AFL membership 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 an agreement he had with the 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.
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-Notre Dame 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 in South Bend. 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 early in 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 University of Georgia named Fran Tarkenton in the third round. Notable veterans acquired in the offseason were Norm Snead 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.
On March 7, 1967, quarterback Fran Tarkenton was traded to the New York Giants for a 1st and 2nd-round 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 10th, the Vikings hired new head coach Bud Grant to replace Van Brocklin, who resigned following the 1966 NFL season. Grant came to the Vikings from the Canadian Football League as head coach for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who 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. The team had 12 straight victories, the longest single-season winning streak in 35 years. The Vikings defeated the Cleveland Browns, 27-7, in the 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 impressive enough that Alan Page won the NFL Most Valuable Player Award given by the Associated Press. He was only the second defensive player to win the award (the Lions' Joe Schmidt was co AP MVP in 1960).
In 1972 the Vikings traded Norm Snead, Bob Grim, Vince Clements and a 1st-round draft choice in 1972 and 1973 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. The Vikings then advanced to their second Super Bowl in franchise history, Super Bowl VIII, against the Miami Dolphins at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas. However, the Dolphins prevailed, 24-7.
The Vikings won the Central Division again in 1974 with a 10-4 record, which was a tie for the best record in the conference. In the playoffs they built on their cold weather reputation, defeating both the St. Louis Cardinals 30-14 and the Los Angeles Rams 14-10 in frozen Metropolitan Stadium. The Vikings played in their second 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 touchdown was controversial because many felt that Pearson pushed off on Vikings defensive back Nate Wright, which is pass interference, a violation of the rules. As the Metropolitan Stadium crowd was stunned to learn that no penalty was called, debris was thrown on the field for several minutes. One bottle struck a game official, rendering him unconscious.
The Vikings played in Super Bowl XI, their third 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.
In 1977, the Vikings again won the Central Division with a 9-5 record and advanced to their 4th NFC Championship Game in 5 years, but were defeated by the eventual Super Bowl Champion Cowboys, 23-6, at Texas Stadium. 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. Quarterback Fran Tarkenton retired following the season holding league passer records in attempts (6,467), completions (3,686), yards (47,003), and touchdowns (342).
In December, 1979, ground is broken for construction of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis.
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 to 1987. The Vikings played their final game at Metropolitan Stadium on December 20th to conclude the 1981 NFL season by losing to the Kansas City Chiefs, 10-6.
The Vikings played their first game at the Metrodome in a preseason
matchup against the Seattle Seahawks on August 21, 1982 in a game Minnesota
won, 7-3. The first touchdown in the new facility was scored by Joe Senser
on an 11 yard pass from Tommy Kramer. The first 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 first regular-season touchdown in
the facility on a 3 yard run in the 2nd quarter.
On January 27, 1984, Bud Grant retired as head coach of the Vikings. With a career regular-season record of 151-87-5 (.632) in 17 seasons with Minnesota, Grant led the franchise to 12 playoff appearances, 11 division titles, and four Super Bowls. Les Steckel, who was an offensive assistant with the Vikings for 5 seasons, was then named the 3rd head coach in franchise history. 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. However, the Vikings lost a franchise-worst 13 games. After the season Steckel was fired, and on December 18, 1984, Bud Grant was rehired 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. On August 2, 1986, Fran Tarkenton was the first player who played the majority of his career with the Vikings, to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
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' six yard line with a little over a minute left in the game but failed to get the ball into the end zone. Darren Nelson dropped a pass from Wade Wilson at the goal line to officially end the Vikings' hopes of a Super Bowl.
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.
1990-1999On 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. Dennis Green was later 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.
The 2000 Minnesota Vikings season was the team's 40th season in the
National Football League.
The team was led by first-year starting quarterback Daunte Culpepper and running back Robert Smith, who ran for a team record 1,521 yards and 7 touchdowns. The Vikings started out 7-0 and 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.
Despite the rough patch, the Vikings 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.
In 2001, after a disappointing 5–11 season, the Vikings bought out the
contract of Dennis Green, despite his successful coaching tenure with the
team. Mike Tice coached the final game of 2001, losing to the Ravens 19–3.
Tice was named the permanent coach after the season, but he would not lead
the Vikings back to the playoffs until 2004.
During the 2003 season, the Vikings came close to getting into the playoffs. However, the Arizona Cardinals completed a game-winning touchdown on 4th-and-28 with 0:00 left, knocking the Vikings out of the playoffs. The moment of Arizona's touchdown was actually the first moment the entire season in which the Vikings hadn't led their division. The Vikings became the second team in football history to miss the playoffs after getting off to a 6–0 start, following the 1978 Washington Redskins.
In 2004, Daunte Culpepper amassed MVP-like statistics, throwing for 4,717 passing yards (leading the NFL), 39 passing touchdowns (a Viking record), and 5,123 total yards (an NFL record). In the wild card game, the Vikings defeated the rival Green Bay Packers in their first-ever playoff meeting, 31–17. In doing so, the Vikings became the second team in NFL history to have a .500 record (8–8) in the regular season and win a playoff game (The St. Louis Rams did the same thing only a day earlier). In the divisional round, the Vikings were defeated by the eventual NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles.
On March 2, 2005, Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss was traded to the Oakland Raiders for linebacker Napoleon Harris and the Raiders' first round draft pick. After struggling to a disappointing 2–5 start to the 2005 season, Vikings lost quarterback Daunte Culpepper to a season-ending knee injury. This injury was a very significant part to this Minnesota Vikings team due to the fact they also lost Moss. The dynamic duo from years earlier were now gone and a new leader would eventually emerge. The Vikings finished the 2005 season with a 9–7 record. However, this season would be more notable for off-the-field events. In October, 17 team members were part of a party of about 90 that went out on a pleasure cruise on local Lake Minnetonka. The incident erupted into scandal when media reported that a number of the players had performed sex acts and that prostitutes had been flown in. Four players were ultimately charged with misdemeanors related to the party.
Mike Tice was let go after the 2005 season and was replaced by Brad Childress. This was one of many significant front office moves made by the new ownership team, led by Zygi Wilf.
Minnesota began the 2006 season 4–2 (Childress became the first coach in
Vikings history to start 2–0 in his first year), but would finish the year
at 6–10, receiving the 7th pick in the NFL Draft; with it, the Vikings
selected Adrian Peterson out of the University of Oklahoma.
Peterson's first career touchdown was a 60-yard screen pass in his first career game against the Atlanta Falcons. When the 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. 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. Peterson had 19 carries for 109 yards and added a touchdown during the 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 AWE" (an acronym of their surname initials).
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. 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 team 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. This would also be the first NFC Championship game for the team 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 5. The Vikings won a crucial victory against another struggling team in the form of the Dallas Cowboys 24–21, but in Week 7 the Vikings lost to the arch-rival Green Bay Packers 28–24. In Week 9, 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 defeated, and then went on to be blown out 31–3 in a rematch with the Packers the following game. 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. One 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 a step down for the Minnesota 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 for the first time
since 1990. 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 quarterback from Florida State University. The team finished with a franchise tying worst 3-13 record. During the 2012 NFL Draft, the team selected USC 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 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.