View a historical timeline of the Vikings franchise.
FRANCHISE FOUNDED— Minnesota was granted an NFL franchise at the league owners’ meetings in Miami on Jan. 28, 1960. The team began play in 1961. The founding group consisted of Max Winter, E. William Boyer, H.P Skoglund, Ole Haugsrud and Bernard H. Ridder, Jr.
ROSE NAMED GENERAL MANAGER — In late summer, 1960, former Los Angeles Rams Public Relations Director Bert Rose was named the team’s first General Manager.
TEAM NICKNAMED — In one of his first moves with the team, Bert Rose recommended the nickname “Vikings” to the Board of Directors. The name was selected because it represented both an aggressive person with the will to win and the Nordic tradition in the northern Midwest.
FIRST HEAD COACH — Norm Van Brocklin was selected as the first head coach in franchise history. He retired as a player in 1960 after 12 seasons in the NFL as a Hall of Fame QB.
FIRST COLLEGE DRAFT — On Dec. 27, 1960, RB Tommy Mason of Tulane was taken with the 1st overall choice and the first-ever draft pick utilized by the Vikings. Also selected that year were QB Fran Tarkenton (3rd round) and DB Ed Sharockman (5th round).
EXPANSION DRAFT — Following the 1960 season, the Vikings were allowed to select 3 players from the roster of each team after each team was allowed to protect 30 of their 38 players. Dallas was exempt from this process. Among the players selected were OL Grady Alderman (Detroit) and RB Hugh McElhenny (San Francisco).
ASSIGNED CONFERENCE — On April 12, 1961, the NFL assigned the Vikings to the Western Conference. Minnesota joined Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles and San Francisco in the conference.
FIRST GAME — In the first game in franchise history, the Vikings played the Dallas Cowboys in a preseason game in Sioux Falls, SD, on Aug. 5, 1961. The Cowboys defeated the Vikings, 38- 13.
FIRST HOME GAME — The Minnesota Vikings played the Los Angeles Rams in preseason action at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, MN, on Sept. 10, 1961, the team’s first game in the Twin Cities. The Rams defeated the Vikings, 21-17.
FIRST REGULAR-SEASON GAME — In a stunning upset, the Vikings defeated the Chicago Bears, 37-13, at Metropolitan Stadium in the Vikings’ first NFL regular-season game on Sept. 17, 1961. Kicker Mike Mercer scored the first points in team history with a 12-yard field goal. Bob Schnelker scored the team’s first touchdown on a 14-yard pass from Fran Tarkenton. In his NFL debut Tarkenton came off the bench to complete 17-of-23 passes for 250 yards and 4 touchdowns.
FIRST PRO BOWLERS — On Jan. 14, 1962, RB Hugh McElhenny and WR Jerry Reichow became the first Vikings to compete in the Pro Bowl. They were part of the Western Conference All-Stars who beat the Eastern Conference squad, 31-30, at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
FIRST ALL-PRO — In 1963 RB Tommy Mason, who was the team’s first ever draft choice, was the first Vikings player to earn All-Pro recognition. He was a consensus pick after rushing for 763 yards and 7 touchdowns on 166 carries (4.6 avg.).
FINKS HIRED — In September, 1964, Jim Finks was named the team’s second general manager, succeeding Bert Rose, who resigned in June, 1964. Finks previously had served as general manager for Calgary of the Canadian Football League for 7 years.
FIRST WINNING SEASON — Minnesota won its final 3 regular-season games in 1964 to achieve the first winning season in team history with an 8-5-1 record. The Vikings tied for 2nd in the NFL Western Conference behind Baltimore.
MET EXPANDED — A new grandstand was constructed on the east side of Metropolitan Stadium that increased capacity from 41,200 to 47,200. The new seats were formally dedicated on Aug. 20, 1965, when Minnesota played Philadelphia in a preseason game.
NFL RE-ALIGNED — On Dec. 2, 1966, Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit and Green Bay were chosen to make up the newly-formed Central Division of the Western Conference of the NFL.
VAN BROCKLIN RESIGNS — After compiling a 29-51-4 record while leading the Vikings in their first six years of existence, Head Coach Norm Van Brocklin resigned in February, 1967. His best season was 1964, when he led the team to a tie for 2nd place in the NFL Western Conference with an 8-5-1 record.
TARKENTON TRADED — On March 7, 1967, QB Fran Tarkenton is traded to the NY Giants for a 1st and 2nd-round choice in 1967, a 1st-round choice in ‘68 and a 2nd-round choice in ‘69. With the picks Minnesota selected Clinton Jones and Bob Grim in ‘67, Ron Yary in ‘68 and Ed White in ‘69.
GRANT NAMED HEAD COACH — Bud Grant was named the second head coach in Vikings history on March 10, 1967. He came to Minnesota after leading the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to 4 Grey Cup Championships in 10 years as head coach.
FIRST DIVISION TITLE — On Dec. 15, 1968 the Vikings defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 24- 17, at Franklin Field then retired to the dressing room to listen to the Chicago-Green Bay game on the radio. Minnesota needed the Bears to lose to clinch the Vikings’ 1st Division title. Chicago tried to rally from a 28-10 4th quarter deficit but eventually fell 28-17.
FIRST PLAYOFF GAME — On Dec. 22, 1968, in the first playoff game in franchise history, the Colts defeated the Vikings, 24-14, in the Western Conference Championship Game at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium. Minnesota trailed 21-0 in the 4th quarter but a late rally fell short.
SECOND DIVISION TITLE — On Nov. 27, 1969, the Vikings shut out Detroit, 27-0, at Tiger Stadium to clinch the franchise’s 2nd division title. The victory over the Lions was the 10th of a 12-game win streak, the longest in the NFL in 35 years. Minnesota finished the season with the NFL’s best record (12-2) of ’69.
FIRST PLAYOFF WIN — On Dec. 27, 1969, in the first NFL playoff game in Minnesota, the Vikings came from behind to defeat the LA Rams, 23-20, in the Western Conference Championship Game. Minnesota overcame deficits of 17-7 at halftime and 20-14 in the 4th quarter for the franchise’s 1st postseason win. FIRST NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME — The Vikings defeated the Browns, 27-7, in the NFL Championship Game on Jan. 4, 1970, at Metro - politan Stadium. Minnesota became the 1st modern NFL expansion team to win an NFL Championship Game. The Vikings dominated the game, leading 27-0 at one point.
FIRST SUPER BOWL — On Jan. 11, 1970, the Vikings lost to Kansas City, 23-7, in Super Bowl IV at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. Not only was the game the 1st Super Bowl in franchise history, but it was the 1st Super Bowl played by a modern expansion team.
THIRD DIVISION TITLE — On Dec. 5, 1970, the Vikings defeated the Bears, 16-13, at Metropolitan Stadium to clinch their 3rd straight division title. Minnesota hosted San Francisco in a divisional playoff game but lost, 17-14. For the 2nd consecutive season, the Vikings had the league’s best record with a 12-2 mark.
FOURTH DIVISION TITLE — On Dec. 11, 1971, the Vikings defeated the Lions, 29-10, at Metropolitan Stadium to clinch their 4th straight division title. Minnesota finished the year with an
VIKINGS LORE RBs Hugh McElhenny and Tommy Mason earned trips to the Pro Bowl in the Vikings early years. The Vikings-Packers border rivalry is one of the most even in NFL history the alltime series standings at 45-46-1. 11-3 mark, which tied Dallas for the league’s best record in ‘71. The Vikings lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Cowboys, 20-12, in a divisional playoff game at Metropolitan Stadium.
PAGE NAMED NFL’S MVP — In 1971 Alan Page became the first defensive player to be named the Most Valuable Player of the National Football League by the Associated Press. Page headed a Vikings defense that held opponents to fewer than 10 points a game to lead the league in scoring defense for the 3rd consecutive year.
VIKINGS RE-ACQUIRE TARKENTON — In 1972 the Vikings traded Norm Snead, Bob Grim, Vince Clements and a 1st-round choice in ‘72 and ‘73 to the NY Giants for Fran Tarkenton.
BOYER DIES — In 1972 E. William Boyer passed away. He was one of the prime forces in the drive to bring an NFL franchise to Minnesota. Boyer was president of the Vikings from 1960-64 and sat on the Board of Directors for the first 12 years of the team’s existence. He was replaced on the team’s Board of Directors by his son-in-law Jack Steele.
FIFTH DIVISION TITLE — The Vikings began the ’73 season with 9 straight victories and clinched the NFC Central championship before they even lost a game. Minnesota clinched the division crown by defeating Detroit, 28-7, at Metropolitan Stadium on Nov. 11, 1973. The Vikings finished with a 12-2 mark, which tied for the best record in the league that year.
SECOND SUPER BOWL — On Jan. 13, 1974, the Vikings played in the 2nd Super Bowl in franchise history against the Miami Dolphins at Rice Stadium in Houston, TX. The Dolphins prevailed, 24-7. Minnesota earned the trip to Super Bowl VIII by defeating Dallas, 27-10, in the NFC Championship game. FINKS RESIGNS — After the 1973 season, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jim Finks resigned. Under Finks, who was hired in 1964, the Vikings won 5 division titles and appeared in 2 Super Bowls. He also hired Bud Grant as head coach in ‘67.
SIXTH DIVISION TITLE — On Dec. 1, 1974, the Vikings clinched the NFC Central crown by defeating the Saints, 29-9, at Metropolitan Stadium, while the Packers lost, 36-14, at Philadelphia. Minnesota tied for the best record in the NFC with a 10-4 mark.
THIRD SUPER BOWL — The Vikings played in their 2nd straight Super Bowl, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 16-6, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans on Jan. 12, 1975. Minnesota earned a trip to Super Bowl IX by defeating the Los Angeles Rams, 14-10, at Metropolitan Stadium on Dec. 29, 1974.
FRONT OFFICE CHANGES — In the spring of 1975, Max Winter, one of the team’s founders and its president since 1965, took over active management of the franchise. In addition, Mike Lynn, who was hired as an assistant to the president on Aug. 15, 1974, was named the team’s general manager.
SEVENTH DIVISION TITLE — The Vikings clinched their 3rd straight NFC Central title and their 7th division championship in 8 years on Thanksgiving Day Nov. 27, 1975, when the Lions lost to the Rams, 20-0. Minnesota won 10 consecutive games to start the season and finished the year with the best record (12-2) in the NFL. The Vikings were upset, 17-14, in the divisional playoffs at Metropolitan Stadium on Dec. 28, 1975, when the Dallas Cowboys scored on a last minute 50-yard touchdown pass.
TARKENTON NAMED LEAGUE MVP — Quarter back Fran Tarkenton was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player for 1975 after leading the Vikings to the league’s best record (12- 2). He led the NFC and finished 2nd in the NFL in passing with a 91.7 rating. He completed 273- of-425 passes for 2,994 yards and 25 touchdowns with 13 interceptions.
HAUGSRUD DIES — Ole Haugsrud passed away in March, 1976. He was one of the prime forces in the drive to bring an NFL franchise to Minnesota. Haugsrud sat on the Board of Directors for 16 years of the team’s existence. He was replaced on the team’s Board of Directors by his widow Margaret Haugsrud.
EIGHTH DIVISION TITLE — The Vikings clinched their 4th consecutive NFC Central championship and their 8th division title in 9 years by defeating the Packers, 17-10, at Milwaukee County Stadium on Nov. 21, 1976. Minnesota finished the season with the best record in the NFC at 11-2-1.
FOURTH SUPER BOWL — The Vikings played in their 3rd Super Bowl in 4 years against the Oakland Raiders at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA, on Jan. 9, 1977. Minnesota lost, 32-14. The Vikings earned a trip to Super Bowl XI by defeating the Rams, 24-13, at Metropolitan Stadium on Dec. 26, 1976, in what ended up being the last Vikings playoff game at the Met.
KAPLAN NAMED TO BOARD — In 1977 team attorney Sheldon Kaplan was named to the Vikings Board of Directors. He replaced Bernard H. Ridder, Jr., who was one of the team’s 5 founders.
NINTH DIVISION TITLE — The Vikings clinched the NFC Central crown on the season’s final weekend by defeating the Lions, 30-21, in Detroit on Dec. 17, 1977. Minnesota wrapped up its 5th straight NFC Central title and its 9th division crown in 10 seasons.
FOURTH NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME — On Jan. 1, 1978 the Vikings played Dallas in their 4th NFC Championship Game in 5 years at Texas Stadium. Minnesota lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champs, 23-6.
CHANGES ON BOARD — John Skoglund and Vikings General Manager Mike Lynn were named to the team’s Board of Directors replacing Margaret Haugsrud and H.P. Skoglund, who was one of the team’s founders. Haugsrud joined the board in 1976, replacing her husband Ole, who passed away.
10TH DIVISION TITLE — Despite losing in the regular-season finale to the Raiders, 27-20, on Dec. 17, 1978, at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the Vikings captured the NFC Central title when the Packers, who played at the same time as Minnesota, lost to the Rams, 31-14, at the LA Coliseum. It was the Vikings’ 6th straight NFC Central crown and their 10th division championship in 11 years.
METRODOME GROUND BREAKING — In December, 1979, ground was broken for construction of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. The stadium, which will house both the Vikings and Twins, was scheduled to open in April, 1982.
11TH DIVISION TITLE — Minnesota clinched its 7th NFC Central title in 8 years by defeating the Browns, 28-23, at Met Stadium on Dec. 14, 1980. It also was the Vikings’ 11th division title in 13 seasons. Minnesota lost to the NFC Champion Eagles, 31-16, at Veterans Stadium on Jan. 3, 1981 in the divisional playoffs.
WINTER PARK OPENS — On May 15, 1981, the Vikings moved into a new facility in 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 1965-87.
FAREWELL MET — On Dec. 20, 1981, the Vikings hosted the Chiefs in Minnesota’s final game at Metropolitan Stadium. The Vikings lost, 10-6. The final points at the stadium were scored on a 33-yard field goal by Minnesota kicker Rick Danmeier. The last Vikings touchdown at Met Stadium was scored on a 6-yard run by Ted Brown against Green Bay on Nov. 29, 1981.
METRODOME OPENS — The Vikings played their 1st game at the Metrodome in a preseason matchup against Seattle on Aug. 21, 1982. Minnesota prevailed, 7-3. The 1st touchdown in the new facility was scored by Joe Senser on an 11-yard pass from Tommy Kramer. The 1st 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 1st regular-season touchdown in the facility on a 3-yard run in the 2nd quarter.
12TH PLAYOFF APPEARANCE — In a strikeshortened 9-game 1982 season, the Vikings won 3-of-their-last-4 regular-season games to earn a post-season berth.
FIRST DOME PLAYOFF GAME — On Jan. 9, 1983, the Vikings defeated Atlanta, 30-24, in a 1st-round game that was the 1st playoff matchup in the Metrodome. Minnesota lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Redskins, 21-7, in the NFC semi-finals at RFK Stadium on Jan. 15, 1983. Bud Grant coached the Vikings to 4 Super Bowls and was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994.
GRANT RETIRES — On Jan. 27, 1984, Bud Grant retired as Head Coach of the Vikings. In 17 seasons Grant led Minnesota to 12 playoff appearances, 11 division titles and 4 Super Bowls. His career regular-season record was 151-87-5 (.632).
STECKEL HIRED — Les Steckel, who was an offensive assistant with the Vikings for 5 seasons, was named the 3rd head coach in franchise history on Jan. 29, 1984. 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 ‘84 at age 38.
GRANT RETURNS— On Dec. 18, 1984, Bud Grant was re-hired as the head coach of the Vikings. He replaced Les Steckel who guided the team in 1984 after Grant retired following the 1983 season.
GRANT RE-RETIRES — On Jan. 6, 1986 following the 1985 season, Bud Grant retired as head coach of the Vikings. He originally retired after the 1983 season but returned in ‘85. 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 team to a 158-96-5 regular-season record.
BURNS HIRED — Longtime Vikings assistant coach Jerry Burns was named the 4th head coach in team history on Jan. 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.
TARKENTON ENSHRINED — On Aug. 2, 1986, Fran Tarkenton became the 1st player who spent the majority of his career with the Vikings to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He retired following the 1978 season with NFL career records for passing yards (47,003), completions (3,686) and touchdown passes (342). He led the team to 6 NFC Central titles, 4 NFC Championship Games and 3 Super Bowls.
13TH PLAYOFF APPEARANCE — Despite a strike replacement unit that saddled the Vikings with 3 losses, the team made the playoffs as a wild-card entrant with an 8-7 record in 1987. It was the team’s 1st postseason appearance under Jerry Burns, who was in his 2nd season as the Vikings head coach.
FIFTH NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME — The Vikings played the Redskins in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 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. Minnesota upset New Orleans, 44-10, at the Superdome and San Francisco, 36-24, at Candlestick Park in the first 2 rounds of the playoffs to earn a trip to the conference title game.
BOARD ADDS MEMBERS — Four people were added to the Vikings Board of Directors in 1988. Joining Max Winter, John Skoglund, Jack Steele, Sheldon Kaplan and Mike Lynn were Wheelock Whitney, Jaye Dyer, Irwin Jacobs and Carl Pohlad.
PAGE ENSHRINED — On July 30, 1988, Alan Page became the 2nd player who spent the majority of his career with the Vikings to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Drafted by Minnesota in the 1st round in 1967, Page made the Pro Bowl 9 times. In 1971 he became the 1st defensive player to be named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player by Associated Press. Page played on teams that won 10 NFC Central titles and played in 4 Super Bowls.
14TH PLAYOFF APPEARANCE — The Vikings won 6-of-their-last-7 games in 1988 to earn a wild-card berth into the playoffs. Minnesota finished with an 11-5 record then defeated the Rams, 28-17, on December 26 in a firstround playoff game at the Metrodome. The Vikings fell the following week to eventual Super Bowl Champion San Francisco, 34-9, at Candlestick Park.
REMAINING FOUNDER LEAVES BOARD — In 1989, Max Winter, the last of the original 5 Vikings’ founders on the team’s Board of Directors, left the board. He also served as the team’s president from 1965-87. He was replaced on the board by Gerald Schwalbach.
WALKER ACQUIRED — On Oct. 12, 1989, the Vikings acquired Herschel Walker from Dallas for Issiac Holt, David Howard, Darrin Nelson, Jesse Solomon, Alex Stewart, a 1st-round choice in 1992, conditional 1st-round choices in 1990 and ‘91, conditional 2nd-round choices in 1990, ‘91 and ‘92, and a conditional 3rd-round choice in 1992. The final result of the trade gave the Vikings Walker, a 3rd (Mike Jones), 5th (Reggie Thornton) and 10th-round choice (Pat Newman) in 1990 and a 3rd-round choice in 1991 (Jake Reed), while Dallas received all 5 players, 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.
12TH DIVISION TITLE — The Vikings captured their 12th division title since 1968 by defeating the Cincinnati Bengals, 29-21, at the Metrodome in a Monday night game on Christmas Day in 1989. It also was Minnesota’s 15th postseason appearance in the past 22 years. The Vikings finished the season with a 10-6 record but lost to eventual Super Bowl Champion San Francisco, 41-13, at Candlestick Park in the divisional playoffs on Jan. 6, 1990.
HEADRICK NAMED TEAM PRESIDENT — On Jan. 1, 1991, Roger Headrick became president and Chief Executive Officer of the Vikings. He replaced Mike Lynn as the person in charge of day-to-day operations of the club. In addition Headrick and Philip Maas replaced Jack Steele and Sheldon Kaplan on the board of directors.
BURNS RETIRES — On Dec. 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.
CHANGES ON BOARD — On Dec. 16, 1991, the team’s ownership structure was reorganized. Irwin Jacobs and Carl Pohlad sold their shares to a group consisting of Vikings President/CEO Roger Headrick, John Skoglund, Jaye Dyer, Philip Maas, Mike Lynn, Wheelock Whitney, James Binger, Bud Grossman, Elizabeth MacMillan and Carol Sperry.
GREEN NAMED HEAD COACH — On Jan. 10, 1992, Dennis Green was named the 5th Head Coach in team history. He came to Minnesota after turning around a struggling Stanford University football program as head coach there from 1989-91.
13TH DIVISION TITLE — On Dec. 20, 1992 the Vikings defeated the Steelers, 6-3, at Three Rivers Stadium to earn the franchise’s 13th division title. It also was Minnesota’s 16th playoff season since 1968. Dennis Green also posted the most victories (11) and the 1st division title by a 1st-year head coach in team history. The Vikings lost to the defending Super Bowl champion Redskins, 24-7, in a 1st-round playoff game at the Metrodome on Jan. 2, 1993.
17TH PLAYOFF APPEARANCE — For the first time since 1974, the Vikings won their final 3 regular-season games to earn a Wild-Card playoff berth. It was the team’s 17th postseason appearance since 1968. Minnesota lost to the Giants, 17-10, in Giants Stadium in a first-round playoff game on Jan. 9, 1994.
MOON ACQUIRED — On April 14, 1994 the Vikings traded a 4th-round draft choice in 1994 and a 3rd-round draft choice in 1995 to the Houston Oilers for quarterback Warren Moon, who has thrown for more yardage and touchdowns as a professional than any other player. He set team season records for passing yards (4,264) in ‘94 and for completions (377) and touchdown passes (33) in ‘95.
GRANT ENSHRINED — On July 30, 1994, Bud Grant was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He coached the Vikings from 1967-83 then again in ’85. During his tenure Minnesota made the playoffs 12 times, won 11 division titles and played in 4 Super Bowls. Grant was the first person to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame.
14TH DIVISION TITLE — On the final day of the 1994 regular season, the Vikings defeated the 49ers, 21-14, in a Monday night game to earn their 2nd NFC Central title in 3 seasons and their 3rd straight playoff berth. It also was Minnesota’s 14th division title and 18th postseason appearance since 1968. Dennis Green became only the 7th NFL coach to lead his team to the playoffs in his first 3 seasons.
FINKS ENSHRINED — Former Vikings General Manager Jim Finks was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on July 25, 1995. During his decade with Minnesota, the team won 5 division titles and appeared in 2 Super Bowls. Finks passed away on May 8, 1994, and was inducted posthumously, represented by his family.
WINTER PASSES AWAY — Max Winter, who served as the owner and President of the Vikings from 1965-87, passed away on July 26, 1996. He was one of the prime forces bringing an NFL franchise to Minnesota and was a big factor in the building of the Metrodome and Vikings QB Tommy Kramer started 110 games for the team and attracting Super Bowl XXVI to the Twin Cities.
19TH PLAYOFF APPEARANCE — On Dec. 15, 1996, the Vikings defeated the Buccaneers, 21- 10, in the Metrodome. After a Washington loss to Arizona later that day, Minnesota was guaranteed a playoff berth for the 19th time since 1968 and the 4th in 5 seasons under Dennis Green. The Vikings lost, 40-15, to the Dallas Cowboys in a first-round game at Texas Stadium on Dec. 28, 1996.
20TH PLAYOFF APPEARANCE — On Dec. 21, 1997, the Vikings beat the Colts in the regular season finale to reach the playoffs for the 20th time in team history and the 5th time in 6 seasons under Dennis Green. The Vikings went on the road and came back from 16 points down to defeat the NY Giants 23-22 at the Meadowlands on Dec. 27, 1997. It was the biggest comeback win in team playoff history and the 5th biggest postseason comeback in NFL history. The following week the Vikings lost, 38-22, to the San Francisco 49ers at 3Com Park in the Divisional Playoffs on Jan. 3, 1998.
KRAUSE ENSHRINED — On August 1, 1998, Paul Krause was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Krause played free safety with the Vikings from 1968-79 and the Redskins from 1964-67. He holds the NFL record for career interceptions with 81. Krause was selected to 8 Pro Bowls in his 15-year career.
BOARD AGREES TO SELL — On July 3, 1998, The Minnesota Vikings 10 owners voted unanimously to accept the bid of Texas businessman B.J. “Red” McCombs to purchase the Vikings.
NFL APPROVES McCOMBS — On July 28, 1998, the NFL owners unanimously approved Red McCombs’ purchase of the Vikings, finalizing the change of ownership from the 10 previous owners to sole ownership by McCombs.
GREEN CONTRACT EXTENDED — Head Coach Dennis Green received a 3-year contract extension on September 5, the day before the 1998 opener vs. Tampa Bay.
VIKINGS 15 WINS BEST IN TEAM HISTORY — The Vikings won their 15th NFC Central Division title and became only the 3rd team in NFL history to go 15-1 through the regular season with their 26-16 win at Tennessee in the regular-season finale. The Vikings also established a new NFL scoring record with 556 points, breaking the old mark of 541 set by the 1983 Washington Redskins.
SIXTH NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME — The Vikings hosted Atlanta in the 6th NFC Championship game in franchise history with a berth in Super Bowl XXXIII on the line. The teams played to a 27-27 deadlock during regulation, forcing the game into overtime where the Falcons claimed a 30-27 win. It was the first NFC Championship game played in the Metrodome. 22ND PLAYOFF APPEARANCE — The Vikings turned their 1999 season around, winning eight of the final 10 games to finish 10-6 and host a 1st-round playoff game vs. Dallas. Robert Smith set a team post-season record with 140 rushing yards in the 27-10 win over the Cowboys. The Vikings fell 49-37 to eventual Super Bowl XXXIV champion St. Louis in the Divisional Round at the TWA Dome.
CARTER NAMED MAN OF THE YEAR — Cris Carter was honored as the first recipient of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award for civic involvement, charity work and displaying high character on January 29, 2000, in a ceremony during Super Bowl week in Atlanta. The award was re-named after Payton, a Hall of Fame running back who died in 1999.
SMITH BREAKS TEAM RUSHING RECORD — Robert Smith surpassed Chuck Foreman’s 20- year-old career rushing record in the team’s 28- 16 win at Chicago (10/15/00). Smith ended his career with 6,818 yards. He also established a new team record with 1,521 rushing yards on the season and holds the team record with 29 career 100-yard games.
40th ANNIVERSARY TEAM ANNOUNCED — The Vikings celebrated their 40th season of NFL football in 2000, highlighted by a luncheon on November 30 to introduce the Vikings 40th Anniversary Team. That night the Vikings topped Detroit 24-17 and Cris Carter caught his 1,000th pass on a 4-yard TD from Daunte Culpepper. Carter was only the 2nd player in NFL history to record 1,000 career receptions.
15TH DIVISION TITLE — The Vikings overcame every critic’s expectations in 2000 to post an 11- 5 regular-season record, win the franchise’s 15th NFC Central title and made the 23rd playoff appearance in team history, ending in the 7th NFC Championship game at Giants Stadium.
YARY ENSHRINED — On August 4, 2000, Ron Yary was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Yary played 14 seasons with Minnesota and played in 4 Super Bowls and 7 Pro Bowls during his career.
TICE REPLACES GREEN — On January 4, 2002, Mike Tice replaced Dennis Green on the sideline for the Vikings. Tice coached the 2001 regular season finale at Baltimore. Green assembled a 97-62 regular season record at the helm of the Vikings. Green led the team to 4 NFC Central Division titles and twice played in the NFC Championship game. Green’s teams made the playoffs in 8 of his 10 seasons.
TICE NAMED HEAD COACH — On January 10, 2002 Mike Tice was named the 6th Head Coach in Vikings history. Tice is the 3rd of the 6 Vikings Head Coaches to be promoted from within the team’s coaching ranks but is the 1st Head Coach to have played for the Vikings.
NFL RE-ALIGNS — The 2002 season marked the re-alignment of the NFL as the League expanded to 32 teams when the Houston Texans joined as an expansion franchise. The NFL realigned into 8 divisions of 4 teams each. The Vikings moved into the newly-formed NFC North after years in the NFC Central.
VIKINGS LEAD NFL IN RUSHING — The 2002 Vikings led the NFL in rushing for the first time in team history with 2,507 yards for the season, an average of 156.7 yards per game. Second-year RB Michael Bennett ranked 2nd in team history with 1,296 rushing yards and earned a berth in the Pro Bowl. The Vikings set team records for rushing TDs (26), average per carry (5.3) and total first downs (350). The team also established an NFL mark by becoming the 1st team to make a successful 2-point conversion to win a game when Daunte Culpepper scored on a 2-point run with :05 remaining in the game to give the Vikings a 32-31 win at New Orleans on December 15, 2002. Culpepper proved to be a dangerous runner himself in 2002, setting team records for attempts (106), yards (609) and rushing TDs (10) by a QB.
VIKINGS OFFENSE RANKS #1 — The 2003 Vikings became the 1st squad in franchise history to finish the season with the #1 ranked offense in the NFL, averaging 393.4 yards per game and scoring an average of 26.0 points per game.
ELLER ENSHRINED — On August 8, 2004, Carl Eller was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Eller, the Vikings career sacks leader, was a member of the vaunted Purple People Eaters defense.
WILF FAMILY TAKES OWNERSHIP — An investment group led by brothers Zygmunt and Mark Wilf were unanimously approved as the new owners of the Vikings by their fellow NFL owners on May 25, 2005. The Wilfs, owners of a real estate development company in New Jersey, took ownership in mid-June from former owner Red McCombs, who had owned the club since 1998. Joining the Wilfs ownership group is cousin Leonard Wilf, Reggie Fowler, David Mandelbaum and Alan Landis.
CHILDRESS TAKES THE HELM — The Vikings named Brad Childress the 7th head coach in the history of the franchise on January 6, 2006. Childress comes to the Vikings after seven seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, spending the 2002-05 seasons as offensive coordinator. The Eagles won NFC East titles in 2001, ‘02, ‘03 and ‘04 and represented the NFC in Super Bowl XXXIX against New England. During his tenure with the Eagles, Childress was instrumental in the development of 5-time Pro Bowl selection QB Donovan McNabb. Childress began his coaching career at the University of Illinois from 1978-84 and tutored the Wisconsin Badgers offense from 1991-98.
VIKINGS UNVEIL NEW UNIFORMS — The franchise made the most dramatic change to its uniforms in the history of the team during the 2006 offseason. The team unveiled the new uniforms before an enthusiastic crowd at Mall of America on April 27, 2006.
VIKINGS SEND 4 LINEMEN TO PRO BOWL — The 2006 Vikings strong play along the defensive and offensive lines was recognized league-wide as C Matt Birk, G Steve Hutchinson, DT Kevin Williams and DT Pat Williams all earned Pro Bowl honors.
ROOKIE RUNS TO RECORDS — In only his 5th NFL game, rookie RB Adrian Peterson broke the team record for rushing yards in a game with 224 at Chicago (10/14/07). Three weeks later he topped that by setting the NFL single-game rushing record with 296 yards vs. San Diego (11/4/07). He went on to lead the NFC in rushing with 1,341 yards, was named All-Pro, NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, started in the Pro Bowl and took home game MVP honors.
SOLID 7 EARN PRO BOWL TRIPS — The Vikings sent 7 players to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, the most to earn the honor since the 2000 season. The team was represented by C Matt Birk, G Steve Hutchinson, S Darren Sharper, FB Tony Richardson, DT Kevin Williams, DT Pat Williams and RB Adrian Peterson.
BLOCKBUSTER TRADE LANDS ALLEN — The Vikings struck a deal with Kansas City to trade 2007 NFL sack leader DE Jared Allen to the club for the Vikings 1st-round (#17) pick in the 2008 Draft, a pair of 3rd-round picks in 2008 and a swap of 6th-round choices. Allen was introduced to a boisterous crowd of fans at the Winter Park facility as part of the Vikings Draft Party days after the trade.
VIKINGS CLAIM FIRST NFC NORTH TITLE — The Vikings rattle off 9 wins in their last 12 games to capture their 1st division title since 2000 and the team’s 1st NFC?North Championship since the NFC?Central was realigned in 2002. The Vikings hosted a playoff game for the 1st time since 2000.
PETERSON LEADS NFL IN RUSHING — Second-year RB Adrian Peterson set a team record with 1,760 yards rushing to become the 1st-ever Viking to lead the NFL?in rushing. Peterson broke the 100-yard barrier 10 times during the season and became just the 5th player in NFL?history to rush for more than 3,000 yards in his 1st 2 seasons (3,101).
RUSHING DEFENSE DYNASTY — The Vikings become the first defense since the 1970 merger to rank No. 1 in the NFL?against the run for 3 straight years. Minnesota gave up just 76.9 yards per game to lead the league.
VIKINGS LOSE FOUNDING FATHER — One of the Vikings original stockholders and most-adamant supporters, Don McNeely passed away in March of 2009. In addition to his role in helping build the Vikings tradition, McNeely was revered as one of Minnesota’s great philanthropists. McNeely was an ardent supporter of the arts and also donated large gifts to the Minnesota State Fair, St. John’s University, the Warner Nature Center and the Como Conservatory.
McDANIEL ENSHRINED — G Randall McDaniel was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 8, 2009. McDaniel started 12 consecutive Pro Bowls (1989-2000), started 202 consecutive games and missed only 2 games his entire career after being a 1st-round pick by the Vikings in 1988.
FAVRE SIGNS WITH VIKINGS — A long-time nemesis, Brett Favre signed with the Vikings on August 18, 2009. Favre went on to have the best statistical season of his career, throwing for 4,202 yards, 33 TDs and 7 INTs with a 107.2 passer rating, while also setting the NFL record for consecutive games started, a mark formerly held by Vikings legend Jim Marshall.
BACK-TO-BACK DIVISION TITLES — The Vikings finished the regular season with a 12-4 mark to capture its 2nd consecutive NFC North title. It marked the first time Minnesota achieved the feat since 1977-78.
HARVIN NAMED ROOKIE OF THE YEAR — Rookie WR/KR Percy Harvin burst on the scene and earned Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year and was also named Pro Football Weekly/PFWA Offensive Rookie of the Year and Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year. Harvin set team records with 2,081 all-purpose yards and 2 TDs on kick returns, while sharing the NFL rookie lead with 60 receptions for 790 yards. He earned a Pro Bowl berth as a return man.
NFL-BEST 10 VIKINGS EARN PRO BOWL BERTHS — The Vikings led the NFL and tied a team record with 10 players earning Pro Bowl honors. The unit featured 4 players who made their 1st Pro Bowl- Heath Farwell, Bryant McKinnie, Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin. They were joined by Brett Favre, Steve Hutchinson, Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen, Kevin Wiliams and Antoine Winfield.
EIGHTH NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME — The Vikings traveled to New Orleans in the 8th NFC Championship game in franchise history for a chance to play in Super Bowl XLIV in South Florida. The teams played to a 28-28 tie in regulation, forcing the game into OT where the Saints hit a 40-yard FG in the extra period to claim a 31-28 victory.
RANDLE ENSHRINED — DT John Randle was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 7, 2010 following a 14-year career, including 11 years as a Vikings (1990-2000). He was named to NFL Team of the Decade for the 1990s and led or tied for the team lead in sacks 9 times in his 11 Vikings seasons.
FRAZIER REPLACES CHILDRESS AFTER 10 GAMES— Defensive Coordinator/Asst. Head Coach Leslie Frazier took over coaching the team after 10 games in 2010 when Head Coach Brad Childress was replaced. Frazier won his 1st game as Interim Head Coach on 11/28/10 at Washington.
ROOF COLLAPSE CAUSES CHAOTIC END TO 2010— Heavy snows and inclement weather caused the Metrodome roof to collapse in the early morning hours of December 12, 2010, forcing the final 2 home games of the 2010 season to be moved from the facility. The Vikings played host to the NY Giants in Detroit at Ford Field on 12/13 and the club’s final home game was played at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium, a Monday Night Football contest against Chicago on 12/20. The team also had a road game against Philadelphia postponed due to weather from Sunday night, 12/26, to Tuesday night, 12/28.
50 GREATEST VIKINGS CAPS 50TH SEASON CELEBRATION— Vikings legends reunited for a celebration of the storied history of the Vikings’ franchise during a weekend of activities leading up to the Monday Night Football game versus Chicago on December 20, 2010. The team unveiled the 50 greatest Vikings and they were introduced to fans at halftime of the snowy game at TCF Bank Stadium. The snowy atmosphere was fitting and marked the first outdoor home game for the Vikings since the 1981 Met Stadium finale on 12/20/81, 30 years to the day.
FRAZIER NAMED HEAD COACH— After serving as Interim Head Coach for the final 6 games of the 2010 season, Leslie Frazier was named the Head Coach on Monday, January 3, 2011, the day after the 2010 regular season finale. Frazier posted a 3-3 record in the interim role and directed the club during some trying times as the team lost its home field due to a weather-related collapse of the Metrodome.
ALLEN BREAKS TEAM SACK RECORD— DE Jared Allen had one of the best seasons for a pass rusher in NFL history in 2011. Recording 22.0 sacks, Allen broke Chris Doleman’s team record of 21.0 sacks in a season and fell just .5 sack short of the NFL’s single-season sack record held by Michael Strahan.
SPIELMAN NAMED GENERAL MANAGER— On January 3, 2012, Rick Spielman was named the team’s General Manager. He had previously been the Vikings Vice President of Player Personnel from 2006-2011.
DOLEMAN ENSHRINED— DE Chris Doleman was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 4, 2012 following a 15-year career, including 10 with the Vikings. His 150.5 sacks was ranked fourth all-time in the NFL at the time of his retirerment.
NEW STADIUM DEAL APPROVED— In May 2012, a bill for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium was passed through the Minnesota legislature and signed by Governor Mark Dayton. Funded by the Vikings, the State of Minnesota, and the City of Minneapolis, the new stadium will be located on the current Metrodome site. Groundbreaking on the stadium site is expected in Spring 2013 with project completion in time for the 2016 NFL season.