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Memorable Mondays: Allen Steals Show, Foreman Smashes Steelers

Posted Jul 17, 2017

We have nine weeks before the Vikings host the Saints on Monday Night Football for the 2017 regular-season opener, so Vikings.com’s writers are taking a look each week at a “memorable Monday” in franchise history.

Minnesota is 27-32 all-time on MNF, and the Vikings are scheduled to play twice on the series that launched in 1970.

We’ll continue the series with the ninth-ever appearance on Monday Night Football by the Vikings, when Minnesota hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 4, 1976, at Metropolitan Stadium. It was the teams’ first meeting since Super Bowl IX on Jan. 12, 1975, to end the 1974 season.

Click here for last week’s recap.

Vikings 17, Steelers 6

Weather: Partly cloudy, cool | Temp: 55 degrees Fahrenheit | Wind: NW 8 mph

Tickets distributed: 48,446 | Attendance: 47,809 | Time of game: 2:35

PIT 6 0 0 0 | 6

MIN 0 7 0 10 | 17

This game featured two of the decade’s most dynastic teams and eventual Hall of Fame coaches in Pittsburgh’s Chuck Noll and Minnesota’s Bud Grant.

It would have pitted a pair of Hall of Fame quarterbacks, if not for Fran Tarkenton being sidelined for the Vikings.

It was cornerback Nate Allen, however, who stole the show.

Allen recorded two of the Vikings four interceptions of Terry Bradshaw, who completed just 10 of 22 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown. His passer rating was 32.6. Allen blocked the extra point attempt after Pittsburgh’s only score of the game in the first quarter and recovered a fumble deep in Steelers territory after a botched punt.

The first interception by Allen gave the Vikings the ball at the Steelers 36-yard line and precipitated the first of two rushing touchdowns by Chuck Foreman.

Allen’s fumble recovery gave Minnesota the ball at the Pittsburgh 11, and Foreman spun his way into the end zone two plays later. Allen’s final interception included a 30-yard return to the Pittsburgh 38 and allowed Minnesota to run out the final 1:52.

Allen is tied with Robert Griffith (1998), Jack Del Rio (1992) and Ed Sharockman (1971) for the most interceptions by a Viking in a Monday Night Football game.

In addition to the heroics from Allen, Nate Wright intercepted Bradshaw to end Pittsburgh’s first possession at the Minnesota 25. The play-by-play noted, “Bradshaw pass deep R side for [Lynn] Swan stolen in the air by N. Wright.”

Linebacker Jeff Siemon recorded the other interception after securing a pass tipped by Jim Marshall.

Hall of Famers Alan Page (3.0 sacks) and Carl Eller (1.0 sack) each blocked field goal attempts, and Doug Sutherland also sacked Bradshaw.

Minnesota turned to Foreman to carry the load in absence of Tarkenton. Foreman answered the bell with 148 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, averaging 5.4 yards per attempt. The output is a Vikings record for rushing yards in a Monday Night Football game.

Foreman had a long of 18 yards and scored on runs from 8 yards in the second quarter and from 4 yards in the fourth quarter en route to his fifth of six straight selections to the Pro Bowl.

Fred Cox rounded out the Vikings scoring with a 43-yard field goal in the fourth quarter with 4:08 remaining. Minnesota settled for three to cap a possession that started at the Pittsburgh 24 after Page recovered a fumble forced by Eller.

The Vikings improved to 3-0-1 in what became an 11-2-1 season. Minnesota won its third NFC Championship in four seasons, but fell to the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XI.