As part of the #NFL100 campaign celebrating the league's centennial season, NFL Network on Friday released debuted its new content series, NFL 100 Greatest.
The first episode breaks down Nos. 51-100 of the 100 greatest plays in NFL history, including five Vikings moments.
The series will air Weeks 2-11 with two, one-hour episodes airing back-to-back each Friday night and will count down the greatest across five categories: Plays (Sept. 13 & Sept. 20), Games (Sept. 27 & Oct. 4), Characters (Oct. 11 & Oct. 18), Game-Changers (Oct. 25 & Nov. 1) and Teams (Nov. 8 & Nov. 15).
The NFL and the Associated Press (AP) came together to select the 100 greatest in the five categories, comprising an 80-person blue-ribbon panel. In addition to the rankings, NFL Films conducted more than 400 interviews with celebrities, current NFL stars and Legends.
78. "Miracle at the Met": Kramer to Rashad (Dec. 14, 1980)
Trailing the Browns 23-22 and with just five seconds left on the clock, the Vikings had one shot at the end zone.
Quarterback Tommy Kramer dropped back near the Minnesota 48, wound up and let fly a Hail Mary spiral toward a crowd of players. The ball was tipped by a Browns defender, and as it came back down, Vikings receiver Ahmad Rashad pulled it in by the fingertips of his left hand at the 1-yard line and backed into the end zone for a touchdown.
"Absolutely one of the great, dramatic finishes of any football game, anywhere," WCCO play-by-play personality Ray Scott said.
The Vikings 28-23 victory clinched the NFC Central and a playoff berth.
68. Randy Moss Lateral for TD (Oct. 19, 2003)
The Vikings looked to be in a nearly impossible situation: third-and-24, deep in their own territory and with time winding down in the first half.
Quarterback Daunte Culpepper took the snap, rolled out to the right and stopped at the Minnesota 40-yard line for a deep pass to receiver Randy Moss.
Moss made the catch at the 11 but was immediately corralled by a Broncos defender. As he was being pulled to the ground, Moss flipped the rock over his shoulder to Moe Williams. The running back caught the ball in stride and ran into the end zone in front of a roaring Metrodome crowd.
"The improvisation of Randy Moss would win him an academy award," said "Voice of the Vikings" Paul Allen on the play-by-play.
Moss was recently interviewed by NFL Films about the play and said the following:
"I remember being on one side, seeing him roll out to the right [on the video board]. Then I saw him take that crow hop like you do in baseball, and then he threw it. I looked up in the air and saw it was way short. So I had to come back for the ball, and knowing that I was nowhere near the end zone, just out of my peripheral, I saw just a purple jersey.
"Well, purple was purple. That means it's a teammate of mine," he continued. "So just out of instinct, I basically tossed it over my shoulder – and the play is history. That was just a good heads-up play by two guys."
67. Brett Favre's 'Buzzer Beater' Pass to Greg Lewis (Sept. 27, 2009)
Minnesota needed a touchdown to win, and Brett Favre delivered in his first home game for the Vikings.
The former division foe made the game's 12 remaining seconds count. On third down and with the 49ers leading by 4, Favre got out of the pocket, stepped through pressure and fired. The ball was caught by receiver Greg Lewis behind a pair of San Francisco defenders in the very back of the end zone.
It's a play call that will live in infamy by Allen: "Oh. My. Heavens. Brett Favre, Greg Lewis. How do you like that?"
Comedian and Vikings fan Nick Swardson recalled the play, calling it "the most insane thing I've ever seen in a football game." To add to the mystique of the moment, the highlight-reel catch was Lewis' first for Minnesota.
"And there was no other Viking around," Swardson said. "I don't even know what Brett Favre was thinking, but that's what makes quarterbacks legends – they have this other sixth sense."
65. Adrian Peterson Stiff-Arms to TD (Sept. 13, 2009)
In the Vikings 2009 season opener against the Browns, running back Adrian Peterson put the game to bed with an incredible 64-yard touchdown run.
Peterson broke multiple tackles on the run and stiff-armed Browns cornerback Eric Wright on the final stretch to the end zone.
"I remember how embarrassed I was for our defense. Adrian Peterson looked like he was out there playing against pee-wee football players," former Browns tackle Joe Thomas recalled of the afternoon. "We wouldn't have been able to tackle him if the field was a thousand yards long, even if we had guys coming off the sideline."
Peterson re-lived the play:
"I'll never forget getting my shoulders square and seeing Brodney Pool coming right at me," Peterson said. "He dove, and I was able to jump-cut and break to the sideline. As I get to the sideline, there was a defender there (Wright), so I just kind of stopped – and just shoved him out of bounds.
"I was so determined on that play. It was just me doing whatever I needed to do to get to the end zone," he added.
53. Tarkenton's Pass Tipped for TD (Oct. 30, 1966)
"Scramblin' Fran" Tarkenton earned his nickname with his feet and lived up to it throughout his NFL career.
"Fran was a football genius, I thought. He would take the ball, and if a guy wasn't open, he would run or buy time until he found an open guy," Vikings Hall of Famer Carl Eller said. "It was a matter of survival for Fran."
Among Tarkenton's many big plays occurred in Minnesota's second meeting with San Francisco in 1966.
The Vikings quarterback extended the play for multiple seconds, seeming to scramble all over the place before slinging the ball downfield.
The football was nearly intercepted by a 49ers defender but was bobbled and caught by halfback Preston Carpenter for the 40-yard touchdown.