When the Vikings face Dallas on Sunday in the NFC Divisional Playoff game, it will mark the 7th all-time meeting between the clubs in the postseason, matching the 7 games against the Rams for the most-played rivalry in team playoff history.
The Vikings and Cowboys have carved their places in NFL lore by fielding some of the most dominant teams of the past decades. From 1969-78, the Vikings or Cowboys represented the NFC in the Super Bowl 9 times in that 10-season span. The Vikings played in Super Bowls IV, VIII, IX and XI while Dallas was in Super Bowls V, VI, X, XII and XIII.
The history of the Vikings and Cowboys in the preseason also has a significant place in team history. The 1st-ever Vikings team to take the field did so on 8/5/61 in the preseason opener for the franchise against the Cowboys in a game played in Sioux Falls, SD before a crowd of 4,954.
For a decade, the Vikings and Cowboys represented the class of the NFC, with teams that both followed stoic football men onto the field each week - future Hall of Fame coaches Bud Grant and Tom Landry. For 2 football-frantic communities on opposite ends of Interstate 35, the connections run deep.
The two storied teams have had 31 Pro Football Hall of Famers go through their program at one point and each franchise has some of the most loyal fans in all of sports.
SUPER BOWL SHUFFLES: The Vikings or Cowboys were a fixture for the NFC in Super Bowls during the 1970s.
Super Bowl IV (1/11/70)............... Kansas City 23, Minnesota 7
Super Bowl V (1/17/71)................ Baltimore 16, Dallas 13
Super Bowl VI (1/16/72)............... Dallas 24, Miami 3
Super Bowl VIII (1/13/74).............. Miami 24, Minnesota 7
Super Bowl IX (1/12/75)............... Pittsburgh 16, Minnesota 6
Super Bowl X (1/18/76)................ Pittsburgh 21, Dallas 7
Super Bowl XI (1/8/77)................. Oakland 32, Minnesota 14
Super Bowl XII (1/15/78)............... Dallas 27, Denver 10
Super Bowl XIII (1/21/79).............. Pittsburgh 35, Dallas 31
The importance of playoff of playoff football is not lost on the 2009 Vikings, especially those players who grew up following the team from deep in the heart of Texas.
“This will be the biggest game I’ve played in to this date,” said Pro Bowl RB
“The playoffs are on a totally different scale from regular season games. Everyone steps their games up and the intensity is at a much higher level - on the field and in the stadium. The urgency with the players is much higher, everyone’s playing harder, everything you’ve worked for is on the line. I love it.”
The last time these teams met in a playoff game was the 1999 Wild Card round when the Cowboys visited Minnesota. Having these critical games at home also adds to the excitement. Veteran TE
“This is the best time of the year,” said Winfield. “You know you win or go home, there’s no tomorrow anymore. It’s very important to get this game at home. I love how we play at home. We’re 8-0 in front of our crowd and they play a huge part in these games. The energy around a playoff game makes it so much more intense.
“We’re facing a good Dallas team that’s among the hottest teams in football right now. Having them at our place will be huge, the noise is going to be a big factor in this game.”