Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings are a professional American football team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings joined the National Football League (NFL) as an expansion team in 1960, and first took the field for the 1961 season.[4] The team competes in the National Football Conference (NFC) North division.[5]

Minnesota Vikings
Current season
Established January 28, 1960 (January 28, 1960)[1]
First season: 1961
Play in U.S. Bank Stadium
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Headquartered at TCO Performance Center
Eagan, Minnesota
League/conference affiliations

National Football League (1961present)

Current uniform
Team colorsPurple, gold, white[2][3]
Fight songSkol, Vikings
MascotViktor the Viking
Owner(s)Zygi Wilf
ChairmanZygi Wilf
PresidentMark Wilf
General managerRick Spielman
Head coachMike Zimmer
Team history
  • Minnesota Vikings (1961present)
Team nicknames
League championships (1†)
Conference championships (4)
Division championships (20)
Playoff appearances (29)
Home fields

During the 1960s, the Vikings' record was typical for an expansion franchise, but improved over the course of the decade, resulting in a Central Division title in 1968. In 1969, their dominant defense led to the Vikings' league championship, the last NFL championship prior to the merger of the NFL with the AFL.

The team plays its home games at U.S. Bank Stadium in the Downtown East section of Minneapolis.


Professional football in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area (the "Twin Cities") began with the Minneapolis Marines/Red Jackets, an NFL team that played intermittently in the 1920s and 1930s.[6] However, a new professional team in the area did not surface again until August 1959, when Minneapolis businessmen Bill Boyer, H.P. Skoglund, and Max Winter were awarded a franchise in the new American Football League (AFL). Five months later, in January 1960, after significant pressure from the NFL, the ownership group, along with Bernard H. Ridder Jr., reneged on its agreement with the AFL and then was awarded the National Football League's 14th franchise, with play to begin in 1961.[7] Ole Haugsrud was added to the NFL team ownership because, in the 1920s, when he sold his Duluth Eskimos team back to the league, the agreement allowed him 10 percent of any future Minnesota team.[8] Coincidentally or not, the teams from Ole Haugsrud's high school, Central High School in Superior, Wisconsin, were also called the Vikings and also had a similar purple-and-yellow uniform design and color scheme.[9]

From the team's first season in 1961 to 1981, the team called Metropolitan Stadium in suburban Bloomington home. The Vikings conducted summer training camp at Bemidji State University from 1961 to 1965. In 1966, the team moved to their training camp to Minnesota State University in Mankato.[10] The training camp at Minnesota State was one of the longest continuously running training camp events in the NFL and is remembered as part of the golden era history of the team. The Vikings played their home games at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis from 1982 to 2013. The Vikings played their last game at the Metrodome on December 29, 2013, defeating the Detroit Lions 14–13 to end the season.

Since the team's first season in 1961, the Vikings have had one of the highest winning percentages in the NFL.[11] As of 2017, they have won at least three games in every season except in 1962, and are one of only six NFL teams to win at least 15 games in a regular season. The Vikings have won one NFL Championship, in 1969, before the league's merger with the American Football League (AFL). Since the league merger in 1970, they have qualified for the playoffs 27 times, third-most in the league. The team has played in Super Bowls IV, VIII, IX, and XI, though failing to win any of them. In addition, they have lost in their last six NFC Championship Game appearances since 1978. The team currently has 14 members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[12][13]


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.[14] From the start, the Vikings embraced an energetic marketing program that produced first-year season ticket sales of nearly 26,000 and an average home attendance of 34,586, about 85 percent of Metropolitan Stadium's capacity of 40,800. Eventually, the capacity of Met Stadium was increased to 47,900. Bert Rose, former public relations director for the Los Angeles Rams, was appointed the team's first general manager. The search for the first head coach saw the team court then-Northwestern University head coach Ara Parseghian, who, according to Minneapolis Star writer Jim Klobuchar—the Vikings' first beat reporter for that newspaper—visited team management in the Twin Cities under the condition that his visit was to be kept secret from his current employer. His cover was blown by local columnist Sid Hartman, who reported the visit and forced Parseghian to issue denials. Philadelphia Eagles assistant Nick Skorich and a man with Minnesota ties who was working in the CFL, Bud Grant, were also candidates until a different Eagle, quarterback Norm Van Brocklin, was hired on January 18, 1961. Van Brocklin had just finished his career as a player on a high note, having defeated the Green Bay Packers in the 1960 NFL Championship Game.[14]

As a new franchise, the Vikings had the first overall selection in the 1961 NFL Draft, and they picked running back Tommy Mason of Tulane. They also took a young quarterback from the University of Georgia named Fran Tarkenton in the third round. Notable veterans acquired in the offseason were George Shaw and Hugh McElhenny. The Vikings won their first regular season game, defeating the Chicago Bears 37–13 on Opening Day 1961; Tarkenton came off the bench to throw four touchdown passes and run for another to lead the upset. Reality set in as the expansion team lost its next seven games on their way to a 3–11 record.[14] The losing continued throughout much of the 1960s as the Vikings had a combined record of 32 wins, 59 losses, and 7 ties in their first seven seasons with only one winning season (8–5–1 in 1964).[15][16]

On March 7, 1967, quarterback Fran Tarkenton was traded to the New York Giants for a first-round and second-round draft choice in 1967, a first-round choice in 1968 and a second-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.[1] On March 10, 1967 the Vikings hired new head coach Bud Grant to replace Van Brocklin, who had resigned on February 11, 1967. Grant came to the Vikings from the Canadian Football League as head coach for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, whom he led to four Grey Cup Championships in 10 years.[14][1] Replacing Tarkenton at quarterback was eight-year CFL veteran and Grey Cup champion Joe Kapp. During the late 1960s, the Vikings built a powerful defense known as the Purple People Eaters, led by Alan Page, Carl Eller, Gary Larsen, and Jim Marshall.[17] In 1968, that stingy defense earned the Vikings their first Central Division title and their first playoff berth.[14]

In 1969, the Vikings secured a 12–2 record.[1] The team had 12 straight regular-season victories after a season-opening loss to the New York Giants, which was the longest single-season winning streak in 35 years.[18] The Vikings defeated the Cleveland Browns 27–7 in the last pre-merger NFL Championship Game on January 4, 1970, at Metropolitan Stadium. The Vikings became the first modern NFL expansion team to win an NFL Championship Game,[1] and earned a berth in Super Bowl IV; however, the heavily favored Vikings lost that game to the Kansas City Chiefs, 23–7. The team MVP that season was Joe Kapp, who threw for seven touchdowns against the Baltimore Colts – still an all-time NFL record; however, Kapp refused to accept the award, stating, "There is not one most valuable Viking... there are 40 most valuable Vikings!"[19]


The team continued to dominate in 1970 (moving into the newly-formed NFC Central) and 1971, reaching the playoffs behind the stubborn "Purple People Eaters" defensive line. In 1971, Alan Page won the NFL Most Valuable Player Award given by the Associated Press.[20] He was the first defensive player to win the award.[21]

On January 27, 1972, the Vikings traded Norm Snead, Bob Grim, Vince Clements and first-round draft picks in 1972 and 1973 to the New York Giants to reacquire the popular Fran Tarkenton.[1] While the acquisitions of 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 on February 19, 1973 and was replaced on the team's board of directors by his son-in-law Jack Steele.[1]

The Vikings won their first nine games of 1973 and finished the season with a 12–2 record.[14] They 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.[1]

The Vikings won the Central Division again in 1974 with a 10–4 record.[1] 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.[14][1]

Led by Tarkenton and running back Chuck Foreman, the 1975 Vikings got off to a 10–0 start and easily won another division title.[14][1] 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.[22] The touchdown was controversial because many felt that Pearson pushed off on Vikings defensive back Nate Wright, committing pass interference. As the Metropolitan Stadium crowd was stunned to learn that no penalty was called, debris was thrown on the field for several minutes. A Corby's Whiskey bottle struck game official Armen Terzian, rendering him unconscious.[23]

The Vikings played in Super Bowl XI, their third Super Bowl (fourth overall) in four years, against the Oakland Raiders at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on January 9, 1977. The Vikings, however, lost 32–14.[1]

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,[1] but were defeated by the eventual Super Bowl Champion Cowboys, 23–6, at Texas Stadium.[14]

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[14] after having lost in their previous four playoff matchups (in 1969, '74, '76 and '77). Quarterback Fran Tarkenton retired following the season holding league passer records in attempts (6,467), completions (3,686), yards (47,003), and touchdowns (342).[24]

In December 1979, ground was broken for construction of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis.[1]


On May 15, 1981, the Vikings moved into a new facility in suburban Eden Prairie that housed 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.[1] The Vikings played their final game at Metropolitan Stadium on December 20 to conclude the 1981 NFL season by losing to the Kansas City Chiefs, 10–6.[14][1]

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.[1] The first touchdown in the new facility was scored by Joe Senser on an 11-yard pass from Tommy Kramer.[1] 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.[1] That year the defense led by Joey Browner began a dominant 10-year run as a premier NFL defensive back. The Vikings beat the St. Louis Cardinals 28-10 on August 6, 1983 at Wembley Stadium in London in the very first international game in the NFL.

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.[1] 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.[1] However, the Vikings lost a franchise-worst 13 games.[14] After the season Steckel was fired, and on December 18, 1984, Bud Grant came out of retirement and was rehired as the head coach of the Vikings.[1]

On January 6, 1986, following the 1985 season, Bud Grant re-retired, this time permanently, 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.[25] Longtime Vikings assistant coach Jerry Burns was named the fourth head coach in team history on January 7, 1986.[1] He served as the Vikings' offensive coordinator from 1968 to 1985, when the team won 11 division titles and played in four Super Bowls. In his first season, the Vikings, led by the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Tommy Kramer, went 9–7,[14] their first winning record in four 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.[1][24]

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,[26] pulled two upsets in the playoffs. They defeated the 12–3 New Orleans Saints 44–10 at the Louisiana Superdome in the Wild Card game.[27] The following week, in the Divisional Playoff game, they beat the 13–2 San Francisco 49ers 36–24 at Candlestick Park.[28] During that game, Anthony Carter set the all-time record for most receiving yards in a playoff game with 227 yards.[29] The Vikings played the Washington Redskins in the NFC Championship Game on January 17, 1988, at RFK Stadium. Trailing 17–10, the Vikings drove to the Redskins' 6-yard line with a little over a minute left in the game, but failed to get the ball into the end zone. The Vikings' hopes of a Super Bowl ended when Darrin Nelson dropped a pass from Wade Wilson on fourth down at the goal line.[30]

On October 12, 1989, the Vikings acquired Herschel Walker from Dallas. The final result of the trade gave the Vikings Walker, third-round choice Mike Jones, fifth-round choice Reggie Thornton and 10th-round choice Pat Newman in 1990 and a third-round choice Jake Reed in 1991. Dallas received Issiac Holt, David Howard, Darrin Nelson, Jesse Solomon, Alex Stewart, a first-, second- and a sixth-round choice in 1990, first- and second-round choices in 1991 and a first-, second- and third-round choice in 1992. Two of those selections turned into Emmitt Smith and Darren Woodson. Walker's performance fell short of expectations in his three seasons with the Vikings, while the Cowboys rode their draft picks to three Super Bowl victories in the early-to-mid-1990s.[31]


On December 3, 1991, Jerry Burns announced his retirement effective at the end of the 1991 season. In six seasons as Head Coach of the Vikings, Burns compiled a career record of 52–43 (.547).[32] He also led Minnesota to three playoff appearances, including a division title and an NFC Championship Game.[33] Dennis Green was later named the fifth head coach in team history, after turning around a struggling Stanford University football program as head coach from 1989 to 1991.[34] In his 10 seasons as the coach of the Vikings, Green won four NFC Central division titles, had eight playoff appearances, two NFC Championship Game appearances and an all-time record of 97–62.[35] The Vikings therefore had the fifth highest winning percentage among all NFL teams during the regular season in the 1990s.[36]


1998 was a year to remember for the franchise. With a spectacular offense led by quarterback Randall Cunningham (who replaced an injured Brad Johnson), running back Robert Smith, veteran wide receiver Cris Carter, and explosive rookie Randy Moss, the Vikings set a then-NFL record by scoring a total of 556 points, never scoring fewer than 24 in a game. The Vikings finished the season 15–1, their only loss was to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27–24 in Week 9.[37] In the playoffs, the Vikings rolled past the Arizona Cardinals 41–21,[38] and came into the Metrodome heavily favored for their NFC title showdown with the Atlanta Falcons, who had gone 14–2 in the regular season. After kicker Gary Anderson, who had just completed the first perfect regular season in NFL history (not missing a single extra point or field goal attempt the entire year), missed a 38-yard field goal attempt with just over 2 minutes remaining, the Falcons' ensuing drive tied the game. This led to a controversial decision by head coach Dennis Green to run out the clock and let the game go to overtime. Though the Vikings won the coin toss, Atlanta went on to win it 30–27 in overtime on Morten Andersen's 38-yard field goal.[39] The Vikings became the first 15–1 team to fail to reach the Super Bowl. The Falcons lost Super Bowl XXXIII to John Elway and the Denver Broncos.[40]


Cunningham resumed duties again in 1999, but after a lukewarm 2–4 start, Jeff George replaced him as starting quarterback. He finished the season with an 8–2 record, and led the Vikings into the postseason once again, with an overall team record of 10–6.[41] Minnesota beat Dallas in the Wild Card game 27–10,[42] and faced playoff newcomer Kurt Warner and the St. Louis Rams in the Divisional matchup. The game was a shootout that Minnesota led 17–14 at halftime, but the Rams outscored Minnesota 35–20 in the second half to win 49–37.[43] St. Louis would go on to win Super Bowl XXXIV.[44]


The Vikings entered the decade by winning the divisional championship and an appearance in the NFC Championship game, where they were defeated 41–0 by the New York Giants. The following season, they struggled by posting a 5–11 record in 2001.[45] The team made the playoffs again in 2004,[46] but did not win a divisional title again until 2008. Since the merger, the 2000s became the decade with the fewest playoff berths for the franchise.[36]


In 2000, the Vikings went 11–5. The Vikings were 11–2 after 14 weeks, but slumped briefly, losing their last three to the Rams, Packers and Colts while starting quarterback Daunte Culpepper was hampered by injury. Nonetheless, the Vikings made the playoffs for the fifth straight year. After easily beating the Saints in the Divisional game 34–16, they traveled to New York City to face the Giants in the NFC Championship Game. Though they were the road team, the Vikings were favored to win the game (since most considered their 11–2 record with Culpepper more indicative than their 0–3 record when he was out); instead, the Vikings were defeated 41–0, their worst defeat in playoff history.[47] Robert Smith, who ran for 1,521 yards that season,[48] retired at the end of the year after only playing eight NFL seasons.[49]


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.[50] Tice was named the permanent coach after the season, but he would not lead the Vikings back to the playoffs until 2004.[51] In 2002, as part of the league's realignment with the addition of the Houston Texans, the Vikings and their other traditional NFC Central rivals became part of the newly-formed NFC North.

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).[52] In the wild card game, the Vikings defeated the rival Green Bay Packers in their first-ever playoff meeting, 31–17.[53] 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.[54]

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.[55]

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.[56]


Minnesota began the 2006 season 4–2 (with Childress becoming the first Vikings coach to start his career 2–0), but finished the year at 6–10,[57] receiving the 7th pick in the NFL Draft; with it, the Vikings selected Adrian Peterson out of the University of Oklahoma.[58]

Peterson's first career touchdown was a 60-yard screen pass against the Atlanta Falcons in his first career game. When the Vikings played the Chicago Bears in Week 6, Peterson broke the record for single game All-Purpose (rushing, receiving, kick returning) yards (361 total yards, 224 rushing). In Week 9, Peterson broke the NFL single game rushing record set by Jamal Lewis in 2003 by rushing for 296 yards against the San Diego Chargers.[59] Despite a strong push in the middle of the season, winning five straight games, the Vikings lost their final two games to finish the season at 8–8 and missed the playoffs.[60]

In Week 13 of the 2008 season against the Bears, Gus Frerotte hooked up with Bernard Berrian and set the record for longest play in franchise history with a 99-yard touchdown pass.[61] In the 2009 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.[62] Peterson had 19 carries for 109 yards and added a touchdown during the game.

On January 4, 2009, the Vikings hosted the Philadelphia Eagles for the Wild Card round, their first home playoff game in eight years. The Eagles led the Viking 16–14 at halftime and, coming off a 44–6 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, went on to defeat 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.[63]

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).[64] 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).[65]


On August 18, 2009, after months of speculation and negotiations, twice-retired veteran quarterback Brett Favre, who until 2007 had played 16 years for division archrival Green Bay Packers, signed a two-year, $25 million deal with the Vikings.

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.[66] Favre became the first quarterback 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).[67]

The Vikings beat the New York Giants, 44–7, in Week 17 to help the team clinch the second seed in the conference and a first round-bye with an Eagles loss later that same day.[66] The Vikings ended the regular season with a 12–4 record, their best record since 2000 and the first 11-plus win season since their record-setting 1998 campaign.[66] 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 the 2000 season. 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 minute of the fourth quarter in Saints territory. They were ousted in overtime, 31–28, as the Saints won the coin toss and kicked a 40-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime.[note 1]

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.[68] 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, coming back from a 24–10 deficit in the final four minutes of regulation. Favre threw for a career-high 446 passing yards.[69] The Vikings then went on to face the Chicago Bears, but were defeated, and then went on to be blown out 31–3 at home by the Packers the following game. Head coach Brad Childress was fired the following Monday.[70] 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.[71]

After a winter storm dropped nearly 17 inches of snow in the Minneapolis/St Paul area the Saturday before 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.[72] 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.[73] Favre threw the final touchdown pass of his career (to Percy Harvin) in this game. 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.[74] 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.[75] The Vikings proceeded to upset the dynamic Eagles offense, led by a resurgent Michael Vick, 24–14 with rookie Joe Webb at the helm.[76] The Vikings finished the season 6–10 with a 20–13 loss against the Detroit Lions.[68]


The 2010–11 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.[77] During the season, the Vikings had many distractions, including trading for Randy Moss and then waiving him only a month later,[78] Brett Favre's NFL investigation for allegedly sending inappropriate text messages to Jets' employee Jenn Sterger while he was with the team in 2008,[79] the Metrodome's collapse and resulting venue changes,[80] and finally head coach Brad Childress' firing on November 22 following a 31–3 loss at the hands of the rival Green Bay Packers.[68]

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 3–13 record, tied with the 1984 Vikings for the second worst record in franchise history.

During the 2012 NFL Draft, the team selected USC lineman Matt Kalil with the 4th overall pick after a trade with the Cleveland Browns,[81] and Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith in the first round.[82][83] Both players were instrumental in helping the Vikings reach the playoffs for the 27th time in franchise history,[84] as was fellow draftee, sixth-round kicker Blair Walsh.[85] 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.[86] The team was forced to play backup Joe Webb during the game after Ponder was sidelined due to an arm injury sustained from the previous week.[87] Peterson was later named the league's MVP, after rushing for 2,097 yards,[88] the second most rushing yards in a season in NFL history.[89]

In the 2013 season, the Vikings finished with five wins, ten losses, and one tie, with no road wins. Notable moments include acquired free agent Matt Cassel outplaying Christian Ponder at the quarterback position and the defense allowing a league-worst 480 points, coming within four points of matching the franchise's worst set in 1984. This was also the last season played at the Metrodome as a new stadium deal was reached. Leslie Frazier was fired after the regular season ended.


The team hired former Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer to replace Leslie Frazier as head coach on January 16, 2014.[90] Former Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner replaced Bill Musgrave,[91] and George Edwards replaced Alan Williams as defensive coordinator. In the 2014 NFL Draft, the Vikings selected Anthony Barr, a linebacker out of UCLA, and Teddy Bridgewater, a quarterback out of the University of Louisville. Bridgewater would later lose the starting job to Matt Cassel[92] only to become the starter for the Vikings when Cassel was lost to a season-ending foot injury in week 3. Star running back Adrian Peterson only played in one regular season game due to his ongoing child abuse trial, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell placing Peterson on the Commissioner's Exempt List indefinitely. On April 16, 2015, the league released a statement issuing Peterson's reinstatement to occur on April 17, 2015.[93] The Vikings concluded their season with seven wins and nine losses, winning only one game against a divisional opponent, although Bridgewater set a franchise record for wins by a rookie starting quarterback. On January 3, 2016, the Vikings beat divisional rival Green Bay 20–13 to win the NFC North for the first time since 2009. The Vikings, led by their top 5 defense, ended the 2015 season with an 11–5 record, and a #3 seed in the playoffs. However, they lost to the Seattle Seahawks 10–9 after Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal in the third coldest game in NFL playoff history.

The Vikings were responsible for a historic milestone in the late rounds of the 2016 NFL draft. Their sixth-round selection, German wide receiver Moritz Böhringer, was the first European player ever to be drafted by an NFL team without having previously played at any level in North America.[94] After Teddy Bridgewater went down with a knee injury in the preseason of 2016, the Vikings traded their 2017 first round pick and a conditional fourth round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Sam Bradford, who threw for 20 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 3,877 yards, and while starting the season a league best 5-0, completed the season 3-8 for a season total of 8-8.[95] Following the knee injury, the Vikings declined to pick up the fifth-year option on Bridgewater. Running back Adrian Peterson went down to injury in Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers with a torn meniscus and was placed on the Injured Reserve until Week 15. On February 28, 2017, the Vikings announced they would not exercise Peterson's 2017 contract option which made him a free agent. Had they exercised the option, Peterson would be owed $18 million for the 2017 season.[96] On April 25, 2017, the New Orleans Saints signed Peterson to a 2-year, $7 million contract, ending his tenure with the Vikings since his debut in 2007 as a rookie.[97] He holds several Vikings records including most career rushing touchdowns, career rushing yards, and most rushing yards in a season.[98]

In the summer of 2017, the Vikings ownership announced they would end the 52-year annual tradition of summer training camp in Mankato, Minnesota at Minnesota State University, Mankato as they built a large new headquarters building, training facility and area property development in Eagan, Minnesota on the site of the former Northwest Airlines offices completed in the spring of 2018 in time for the 2018 summer training camp that July.[99][100]

The Vikings won the NFC North for the second time in three years in 2017, finishing with a 13–3 record that saw them go into the playoffs as the number 2 seed in the NFC. In the divisional round, they came up against the New Orleans Saints. With less than 10 seconds remaining in the game and trailing by a single point, the Vikings lined up on 3rd-and-10 on their own 39-yard line. Quarterback Case Keenum threw the ball to wide receiver Stefon Diggs inside field goal range near the right sideline, giving the receiver a chance to get out of bounds with just enough time for a game-winning field goal attempt; however, safety Marcus Williams missed his attempted tackle, allowing Diggs to run down the sideline unopposed for the first walk-off game-winning touchdown in NFL playoff history.[101] On KFAN 100.3, radio announcer Paul Allen called the play the 'Minneapolis Miracle'.[102][103] The Vikings went on to the NFC Championship for the opportunity to play in Super Bowl LII in their own stadium, only to lose 38–7 to the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

Logo and uniforms

The Vikings' trademark horned helmet and purple-and-gold uniforms were designed by Los Angeles Examiner cartoonist Karl Hubenthal. Bert Rose and Norm Van Brocklin both knew Hubenthal from their days with the Los Angeles Rams organization. Hubenthal also designed the original Norseman logo.[104]

From the team's debut in 1961 to 1995, the Vikings' logos and uniforms essentially remained the same. Reflecting Minnesota's Scandinavian cultural heritage, one of the team's two primary logos consists of a profile of a blond Norseman, while the other consists of a white Viking horn.[105]

The team's helmet is purple with a Viking horn logo on each side.[106] Each horn is outlined in gold. The horn logo was slightly revised in 2006. The original uniform design consisted of white pants, gold trim, and either purple or white jerseys. From 1962 to 1964, the Vikings wore purple pants with their white jerseys (The Vikings, with their new uniform, still wear, on occasion, purple pants with yellow and white trim). In a design that was unique among American football teams, the white jerseys had a completely different stripe pattern, which was over the shoulders, than the purple ones, which was around the sleeve cuff. These unique shoulder stripes on the white jerseys did not appear until 1969, the year they went to their first Super Bowl. There have also been minor changes to the uniform design throughout the years, such as changing the color of the face mask from gray to white in 1980, and then to purple in 1985. In addition, the Norseman logo was added to the sleeves in 1996, and the purple jersey stripes were toned down with that change; the TV numbers, previously located on the jersey sleeves, moved up to the shoulders as well that year. The Vikings continued to wear black shoes until Les Steckel became head coach in 1984; they were the last NFL team to make the change from black to white shoes. In 2006, the team returned to black shoes for first time since the 1983 season.[107][108]

The Vikings tweaked their Norseman logo, which involved updating the shading, altering the shape and base of the horns, thickening the mustache and face, making the gold tones brighter, and shortening the braid. The new logo was unveiled on February 14, 2013.[109][110] On March 28, the team reported that new uniforms will be unveiled on April 25.[111]

On April 25, 2013, the Minnesota Vikings unveiled the club's new uniforms during its annual NFL Draft party.[112]

From 1969 through 1973, the Vikings had an alternate purple jersey without stripes for warm-weather games.[107][108]

The team's uniforms were redesigned in 2006, the first significant change in the franchise's 46-year history. Although the team colors remained the same, trim lines were added to the outside shoulders and sleeves, and the sides of the jerseys and pants. In addition the horn on the helmet was slightly more defined. Included in the new design are both white and purple pants, the purple pants have not been regularly used since 2007, but resurfaced twice in 2010.[107]

The team wore black armbands for the last four games in 1978 in memory of Jack "Jocko" Nelson, an assistant coach who died during the season. In 1985 the team wore a 25 years patch on their jerseys. In 1989, they wore a "40 for 60" patch honoring the 1969 NFL championship team. They wore a 35 years patch in 1995, 40 years in 2000 and 45 years in 2005. They also wore patches in 1999 for assistant coach Chip Myers who died in the offseason and in 2001 for Korey Stringer. The Vikings, like other teams, wore NFL 50th and 75th anniversary patches in 1969 and 1994.[113]

All-purple uniforms

On October 11, 1964, for a home game against the Detroit Lions, the Vikings decided to wear their road uniform of white jerseys and purple pants; however, the Lions mistakenly only brought their white jerseys to Minnesota. The game began with both teams wearing white, but it proved too confusing, and ahead of the second quarter, the Vikings changed into their purple jerseys; however, they did not change their pants, resulting in the first time the Vikings wore all-purple for a game.[114] It was not until 43 years later, on December 17, 2007 (a Monday Night Football game against the Chicago Bears) that the Vikings again donned both purple jerseys and purple pants—the first time they wore all-purple intentionally. They repeated this three years later, the wearing all-purple for the November 7, 2010 home game against the Arizona Cardinals.[115]

The NFL introduced "Color Rush" uniforms for all 32 teams in the 2016 season, specifically for Thursday Night Football games. The Vikings had an all-purple uniform with gold numbers and stripes on the pants, which made its only appearance in Week 13 at home to the Dallas Cowboys.[116]


Current mascot

After several failed attempts at developing an official team-owned mascot, the Vikings finally introduced Viktor the Viking during the 2007 Vikings' season.[117] Team officials had long indicated that they were after a mascot concept that would primarily appeal to the team's younger fan base.[118] Viktor the Viking, a muscle-bound, blond-haired and mustachioed character, wears a Vikings' #1 jersey and an oversized Vikings helmet with protruding horns and a small yellow nose guard.

Historic mascots

From 1970 to 1992, truck driver Hub Meeds dressed as a Viking and served as the team mascot.[119][120] Meeds asked to become the mascot after being accidentally let onto the field by security during Super Bowl IV in New Orleans.[121]

From 1994 to 2015, the team mascot was Ragnar (played by Joseph Juranitch) and was based on the legendary Viking Ragnar Lodbrok.[122] Juranitch admits to being somewhat of an eccentric—he holds the current world record for fastest time shaving a beard with an axe,[123] but hasn't shaved his beard since he won the Ragnar job among 3,000 applicants.[124] Ragnar drove onto the field at the beginning of a game dressed in Viking garb, on a motorcycle,[123][124] while a cheerleader used to ride a snowmobile. Although never one to shy away from confrontations with opposing players, notably Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson,[125][126] he had a soft spot for Brett Favre while the quarterback started for the rival Green Bay Packers.[127] In 2015, the Vikings announced that they were not able to reach a new contract agreement with Juranitch which he wanted $20,000 per game,[128] and released him.[129][130]

Another mascot associated with the Vikings was "Vikadontis Rex", a purple foam dinosaur.[131] Vikadontis was the official mascot of the Minnesota Vikings Children's Fund and took part in the 1995 Celebrity Mascot Olympics. Vikadontis was retired starting with the 2000 season. The team also had an NFL Huddles mascot in the mid-1980s, (somewhat similar to Viktor the Viking). Krazy George was also employed as a cheerleader from 1982 to 1985.[132]


Fight song

"Skol, Vikings" is the fight song of the Minnesota Vikings.[133] It was introduced around the time the team was founded in 1961. It is always played whenever the team scores a touchdown, field goal or safety, at the end of each half, and upon victory.

The song "Purple and Gold" was recorded in 2010 by Minneapolis native Prince to be used as a fight song for the Minnesota Vikings.[134]


The Vikings have rivalries with all three of the other NFC North teams, but due to geographic and cultural proximity, their foremost rival is the Green Bay Packers. Some sources cite this rivalry as the biggest overall in the NFC North apart from the Packers–Bears rivalry (which dates back several more decades to 1920).[135]

Helga hats

Vikings fans are known to dress up in "Helga hats", purple hats with white horns and blonde braids, mimicking the helmets popularly believed to have been worn by Viking warriors. The original Helga Hats are still hand assembled in the Twin Cities area.[136]

Vikings horn

During home games, the Vikings' Gjallarhorn is loudly played and sounds often after the team has made a big play, gets a first down, or scores a touchdown. The team often also uses the horn during its pre-game ceremonies.[137]

Skol Chant

The "Skol Chant" is a cheer that is used in U.S. Bank Stadium for Minnesota Viking games. It involves fans clapping their hands above their heads and yelling "Skol", in response to the beat of a drum.[138] The chant is a slightly modified take on the Viking War Cry used at the Iceland national football team's games and popularized by the Iceland supporters at UEFA Euro 2016.[139]


Current roster

Minnesota Vikings roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice squad

Rookies in italics

Roster updated December 11, 2019
Depth chartTransactions
53 active, 4 inactive, 10 practice squad

AFC rostersNFC rosters

Retired numbers

Minnesota Vikings retired numbers
No. Player Position Tenure Retired
10Fran TarkentonQB1961–1966
October 7, 1979
53Mick TingelhoffC1962–1978November 25, 2001
70Jim MarshallDE1961–1979November 28, 1999
77Korey StringerOT1995–2000November 19, 2001
80Cris CarterWR1990–2001September 14, 2003
88Alan PageDT1967–1978September 25, 1988
  • posthumous

Pro Football Hall of Famers

Minnesota Vikings Hall of Famers[140]
No. Name Position(s) Tenure Inducted
1Warren MoonQB1994–19962006
3Jan StenerudK1984–19851991
4Brett FavreQB2009–20102016
7Morten AndersenK20042017
10Fran TarkentonQB1961–1966
22Paul KrauseS1968–19791998
39Hugh McElhennyRB1961–19621970
44Dave CasperTE19832002
53Mick TingelhoffC1962–19782015
56Chris DolemanDE1985–1993, 19992012
58Jim LangerC1980–19811987
64Randall McDanielG1988–19992009
65Gary ZimmermanOT1986–19922008
73Ron YaryOT1968–19812001
80Cris CarterWR1990–20012013
81Carl EllerDE1964–19782004
84Randy MossWR1998–2004, 20102018
88Alan PageDT1967–19781988
93John RandleDT1990–20002010
Coaches and Executives
Name Position(s) Tenure Inducted
Jim FinksGeneral manager1964–19731995
Bud GrantHead coach1967–1983, 19851994

italics = played only a minor portion of their career with the Vikings, and are recognized primarily based upon achievements with other teams

Ring of Honor

Minnesota Vikings Ring of Honor[141]
No. Name Position(s) Tenure Inducted
10Fran TarkentonQB1961–1966
September 9, 1998
22Paul KrauseS1968–1979November 15, 1998
28Ahmad RashādWR1976–1982October 1, 2017
30Bill BrownRB1962–1974September 26, 2004
44Chuck ForemanRB1973–1979September 30, 2007
47Joey BrownerS1983–1991October 27, 2013
53Mick TingelhoffC1962–1978November 25, 2001
55Scott StudwellLB1977–1990November 29, 2009
56Chris DolemanDE1985–1993, 1999October 23, 2011[142]
59Matt BlairLB1974–1985October 25, 2012[143]
64Randall McDanielG1988–1999December 17, 2006
70Jim MarshallDE1961–1979November 28, 1999
73Ron YaryOT1968–1981September 9, 2001
77Korey StringerOT1995–2000November 19, 2001
80Cris CarterWR1990–2001September 14, 2003
81Carl EllerDE1964–1978November 10, 2002
83Steve JordanTE1982–1994October 24, 2019[144]
84Randy MossWR1998–2004, 2010September 11, 2017[145]
88Alan PageDT1967–1978September 20, 1998
93John RandleDT1990–2000November 30, 2008
Coaches and Executives
Name Position(s) Tenure Inducted
Jerry BurnsHead coach1986–1991November 6, 2005
Jim FinksGeneral manager1964–1973October 18, 1998
Bud GrantHead coach1967–1983, 1985November 8, 1998
Dennis GreenHead coach1992–2001September 23, 2018
Fred ZamberlettiMedical adviser1961–2011December 20, 1998

25th Anniversary Team (1985)

40th Anniversary Team (2000)

50 Greatest Vikings (2010)

In connection with the team's 50th anniversary, the Vikings announced a group of 50 top players on December 19, 2010.[146]

All-Mall of America Field Team (2013)

In 2013, in recognition of their final season at the Metrodome, the Vikings organized a fan vote to determine the best players at each position to play for the team in their time at the stadium. They named 12 players on offense, 11 on defense, four special teams players and a head coach.[147]



Special teams

Head Coach


Head coaches

NameYearsWonLostTiesWinning %Postseason
Norm Van Brocklin1961–196629514.345
Bud Grant1967–1983151875.6211968–71, 1973–78, 1980, 1982
Les Steckel19843130.188
Bud Grant1985790.438
Jerry Burns1986–199152430.5471987–89
Dennis Green1992–200197620.6101992–94, 1996–2000
Mike Tice2001–200532330.4922004
Brad Childress2006–201039350.5272008, 2009
Leslie Frazier2010–201321321.3982012
Mike Zimmer2014–present47321.5942015, 2017

Current staff

Minnesota Vikings staff
Front office
  • Owner/chairman – Zygi Wilf
  • Owner/president – Mark Wilf
  • Owner/vice chairman – Leonard Wilf
  • General manager – Rick Spielman
  • Vice president of player personnel/assistant general manager – George Paton
  • Executive vice president of football operations – Rob Brzezinski
  • Consultant – Bud Grant
Head coaches
Offensive coaches
  • Offensive coordinator – Kevin Stefanski
  • Quarterbacks – Klint Kubiak
  • Running backs – Kennedy Polamalu
  • Wide receivers – Drew Petzing
  • Tight ends – Brian Pariani
  • Run game coordinator/offensive line – Rick Dennison
  • Assistant offensive line – Andrew Janocko
  • Offensive quality control – Christian Jones
  • Offensive quality control – AC Patterson
Defensive coaches
Special teams coaches
  • Special teams coordinator – Marwan Maalouf
  • Assistant special teams – Ryan Ficken
  • Kicking consultant - Nate Kaeding
Strength and conditioning
  • Head strength and conditioning – Mark Uyeyama
  • Assistant strength and conditioning – Derik Keyes
  • Assistant strength and conditioning – Chaz Mahle

Coaching staff
More NFL staffs

AFC East
NFC East

Radio and television

The Vikings' flagship radio station is KFXN-FM (100.3), which uses the branding "KFAN" based on its former calls on 1130 AM before a format flip between the AM and FM stations before the 2011 season; 1130 AM also continues to broadcast game play-by-play as KTLK.

The games are also heard on the "KFAN Radio Network" in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota, as well as many other outlets. Paul Allen has been the play-by-play announcer since the 2002 NFL season with Pete Bercich filling in as analyst, who began his first season in 2007.[148]

Telecasts of preseason games not shown on national networks are aired on KMSP (Channel 9) in the Twin Cities with a simulcast of KFAN's radio broadcast while Fox Sports North shows a tape delay later.[149]

Radio affiliates


See also


  1. Due in part to this outcome, during the subsequent off-season the NFL rules committee adjusted the overtime rules for the 2010 postseason, and in 2011 for both regular season and postseason games. The new rules state that unless the first possession of overtime ends in a touchdown or safety, both teams must have the opportunity to possess the ball. Under the new rules, the Vikings would have had an opportunity to possess the ball after the Saints kicked a field goal on the overtime's first possession in the NFC Championship).[66]


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