EAGAN, Minn. – As part of the NFL's celebration of its 100thseason, Vikings.com is producing 10 different top 10 lists over the course of the 2019 season to help commemorate 100 special moments in franchise history. We'll cover legendary players, rivalry games and miraculous moments alike.
We began with the top 10 seasons in franchise history and followed with the top 10 moments against the Packers, top 10 moments against the Bears, top 10 rookie seasons,top 10 moments against the Lionsandtop 10 moments in prime time_.
The Vikings are halfway through the 2019 season and currently have 25 touchdowns (13 passing, 12 rushing) to their name. Twenty-five is the most through eight games since Minnesota racked up 26 offensive touchdowns with Brett Favre through the first half of the 2009 season.
The last time the Vikings scored 12 rushing touchdowns through the first eight games? 1976.
Some of this year's touchdowns have been followed by celebrations, including a foot-race across the end zone between Stefon Diggs and Dalvin Cook. So this got us thinking … what are the top 10 TD celebrations in franchise history?
For this list, Vikings.com's Craig Peters, Eric Smith and I awarded 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for second place, and so on. The maximum number of points for a topic is 30. Interestingly, our top picks all were against NFC North teams.
Editor's note: Because of the increase in organized touchdown celebrations in recent seasons, most of the options on our list occurred during the past few years.
We also polled some of the Vikings, who gave us THEIR top three picks. Check out their responses at the bottom.
Here's how our list played out:
1. Thanksgiving Dinner – at Lions, 11/23/17 (30 points)
Who says you have to miss Thanksgiving dinner just because you're playing a football game on the holiday?
The Vikings traveled to Detroit for a Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Lions, and the game proved to be a close one.
Minnesota did take an early 13-0 lead, however. Less than two minutes after a touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph that put the Vikings on the board, quarterback Case Keenum rushed for a 9-yard score himself.
Keenum plopped down in the Lions end zone and was joined "around the table" by Rudolph, Adam Thielen, Jerick McKinnon, Jarius Wright, Stefon Diggs, Nick Easton, Pat Elflein and Laquon Treadwell.
In one replay of the celebration, a mic picks up Keenum saying, "Where's the turkey," prompting Diggs to leave the frame for just a moment before returning with the football and leaping over his teammates and into the center of the table.
Meanwhile, other players dished up imaginary plates and feasted early during a game they'd go on to win 30-23.
2. Duck, Duck Gray Duck – at Bears, 10/9/17 (22 points)
When a touchdown celebration sparks as much debate as this one did, it's hard not to vote it pretty high on the list.
Keenum scrambled to buy a little time and arced a pass to Rudolph, who made the catch in the end zone at Soldier Field. It was clear the ensuing celly had been planned out ahead of time.
Rudolph started a game of "Duck, Duck, Gray Duck," jogging around a circle formed by teammates Diggs, Thielen, Mike Remmers, Latavius Murray, Blake Bell, Pat Elflein and even veteran guard Joe Berger.
Plenty of dispute about the name of the game followed that night and beyond.
So, which is it? Duck, Duck, Goose … or Duck, Duck, Gray Duck? This Minnesotan will always stick by the latter.
T3. Limbo – vs Packers, 11/25/18 (19 points)
The Limbo celebration also had a high level of player involvement.
Kirk Cousins tossed a pass to Cook, who maneuvered his way around a couple defenders en route to the end zone. The running back enthusiastically waved over his teammates and gave instructions to Thielen and guard Tom Compton. Thielen was hoisted up as the "limbo bar" between Compton and Treadwell, who was joined by Rashod Hill.
Cook them shimmied beneath Thielen, followed by Diggs. Oh, and don't worry – 6-foot-7 Brian O'Neill got his turn in, too, before the group lowered Thielen back to the turf.
T3. Moss Moon – at Packers, 1/9/05 (19 points)
This well-known celebration predates any others on our list by at least 10 years.
The Vikings (8-8) and Packers (10-6) met at Lambeau Field for the Wild Card round of the playoffs, and Minnesota upset Green Bay to advance to the Divisional Round.
The Vikings held a 7-point lead in the fourth quarter, and with 10 minutes remaining in the game, Daunte Culpepper connected with Randy Moss for a 34-yard touchdown that ended up being the final score of the day.
Moss celebrated briefly with Nate Burleson before trotting over to the goal post, turning away from the crowd, bending over and pretending to pull his pants down and "moon" the crowd.
Joe Buck's response to the celebration – "That is a disgusting act by Randy Moss" – has lived in infamy since.
5. Freeze Tag – vs Saints, 1/14/18 (18 points)
I'm sure most of us played Freeze Tag at one point or another in our childhood, so the Vikings excellent execution of the game was not only entertaining but at least mildly nostalgic.
With a 10-0 lead in the second quarter, Keenum handed off to Murray, who twisted and fought his way through defenders and into the purple of the end zone. The running back bounced up after being tackled and "tagged" Keenum, who immediately froze in place.
Murray than tagged fullback C.J. Ham and O'Neill. The three teammates posed perfectly in place – Keenum for an impressively long time – before running back to the bench with an early 17-0 lead.
6. Harrison Celly "Fail" – vs Giants, 12/27/15 (15 points)
At the end of the day, points are all that matter.
In a game that the Vikings eventually ran away with, safety Harrison Smith added a defensive touchdown to for Minnesota's highest single-game points total under Head Coach Mike Zimmer (49).
Smith read the play, snagged a pass by Giants QB Eli Manning intended for receiver Rueben Randle, and returned the ball 35 yards for the pick-six.
Smith then wound up for a spike in the end zone, but the ball somehow got away from him and ended up less "spike" and more "fluttering fall." But something tells us the Pro Bowl safety wasn't too worried about the touchdown celebration fail.
7. Soccer Slide – at Browns (London), 10/29/17 (14 points)
The Vikings didn't score a touchdown at Twickenham Stadium until late in the second quarter, and when they did, it was Thielen's first of the season.
Keenum rolled to his right and fired an 18-yard pass to Thielen in the back-right corner of the end zone. After the score, Thielen gave a nod to London "football" fans with a classic soccer slide, raising his arms above his head in celebration. The receiver was named "Man of the Match."
8. Leapfrog Over Washington – at Redskins, 11/12/17 (12 points)
Keeping with the "childhood game" theme of 2017 celebrations, the team broke out Leapfrog at Washington.
Minnesota trailed 17-14, and Keenum found Thielen through traffic for a 7-yard score to take back the lead.
Thielen immediately crouched down to start the game, followed by Elflein and Nick Easton, who lined up ahead of him. The trio was leapfrogged first by Diggs, then Thielen and McKinnon.
9. Kirk's "Dad-Arm Dance" – vs Cardinals, 10/14/18 (11 points)
Late in the third quarter against the Cardinals, Cousins kept the football and ran it seven yards into the end zone to extend the Vikings lead to 17 points. What followed was his own rendition of Thielen's "dead-arm dance" that the receiver surfaced after a touchdown reception just four minutes earlier.
Cousins added a classic Diggs move to the end of his "dad-arm dance" for good measure.
10. Diggs Mimics Moss – vs Saints, 9/11/17 (5 points)
When the Vikings opened the 2017 regular season at home against the Saints, Diggs would have no way of knowing that he would star in the Minneapolis Miracle against the same team four months later.
But the receiver also played a part in Minnesota's Week 1 defeat of New Orleans, scoring two touchdowns on the evening. The first was an 18-yard pass from Sam Bradford to a wide-open Diggs in the end zone.
After the score, Diggs gave a nod to one of the greatest to ever do it with his celebration that mimicked Moss, who had sounded the Gjallarhorn before the game.
We gave five players a list of the above celebrations (in no particular order) and asked them to pick their top three. Here's what they said:
1. Duck, Duck, Gray Duck
2. Leapfrog at Washington
3. Harrison Celly "Fail"
1. Harrison Celly "Fail"
2. Thielen Soccer Slide
3. Duck, Duck, Gray Duck
1. Freeze Tag
3. Randy Moss Moon
2. Thielen Soccer Slide
3. Thanksgiving Dinner
1. Duck, Duck, Gray Duck
2. Thanksgiving Dinner
3. Leapfrog at Washington
"I liked the Duck, Duck, Gray Duck. I was a rookie when we did that, and it was one of my first celebrations. I didn't know about the whole 'Gray Duck' [background], so after we did that and there was a big controversy, that was fun. We were all sitting in the end zone, Rudy was going around and we just played, I call it Duck, Duck, Goose just like when we were kids. … I thought that Leapfrog was pretty cool. We're all just out there having fun, playing games, and you can't help but have a huge smile after executing the perfect leapfrog in the end zone." – Elflein