Professional football in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area (the “Twin Cities”) began with the Minneapolis Marines/Red Jackets, an NFL team that played intermittently in the 1920s and 1930s. However, a new professional team in the area did not surface again until August 1959, when Minneapolis businessmen Bill Boyer, H.P. Skoglund, and Max Winter were awarded a franchise in the new American Football League (AFL). Five months later, in January 1960, after significant pressure from the NFL, the ownership group, along with Bernard H. Ridder Jr., reneged on its agreement with the AFL and then was awarded the National Football League’s 14th franchise, with play to begin in 1961. Ole Haugsrud was added to the NFL team ownership because, in the 1920s, when he sold his Duluth Eskimos team back to the league, the agreement allowed him 10 percent of any future Minnesota team. Coincidentally or not, the teams from Ole Haugsrud’s high school, Central High School in Superior, Wisconsin, were also called the Vikings and also had a similar purple-and-yellow uniform design and color scheme.
From the team’s first season in 1961 to 1981, the team called Metropolitan Stadium in suburban Bloomington home. The Vikings conducted summer training camp at Bemidji State University from 1961 to 1965. In 1966, the team moved to their training camp to Minnesota State University in Mankato. The training camp at Minnesota State was one of the longest continuously running training camp events in the NFL and is remembered as part of the golden era history of the team. The Vikings played their home games at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis from 1982 to 2013. The Vikings played their last game at the Metrodome on December 29, 2013, defeating the Detroit Lions 14–13 to end the season.
Since the team’s first season in 1961, the Vikings have had one of the highest winning percentages in the NFL. As of 2017, they have won at least three games in every season except in 1962, and are one of only six NFL teams to win at least 15 games in a regular season. The Vikings have won one NFL Championship, in 1969, before the league’s merger with the American Football League (AFL). Since the league merger in 1970, they have qualified for the playoffs 27 times, third-most in the league. The team has played in Super Bowls IV, VIII, IX, and XI, though failing to win any of them. In addition, they have lost in their last six NFC Championship Game appearances since 1978. The team currently has 14 members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The team was officially named the Minnesota Vikings on September 27, 1960; the name is partly meant to reflect Minnesota’s place as a center of Scandinavian American culture. From the start, the Vikings embraced an energetic marketing program that produced first-year season ticket sales of nearly 26,000 and an average home attendance of 34,586, about 85 percent of Metropolitan Stadium’s capacity of 40,800. Eventually, the capacity of Met Stadium was increased to 47,900. Bert Rose, former public relations director for the Los Angeles Rams, was appointed the team’s first general manager. The search for the first head coach saw the team court then-Northwestern University head coach Ara Parseghian, who, according to Minneapolis Star writer Jim Klobuchar—the Vikings’ first beat reporter for that newspaper—visited team management in the Twin Cities under the condition that his visit was to be kept secret from his current employer. His cover was blown by local columnist Sid Hartman, who reported the visit and forced Parseghian to issue denials. Philadelphia Eagles assistant Nick Skorich and a man with Minnesota ties who was working in the CFL, Bud Grant, were also candidates until a different Eagle, quarterback Norm Van Brocklin, was hired on January 18, 1961. Van Brocklin had just finished his career as a player on a high note, having defeated the Green Bay Packers in the 1960 NFL Championship Game.
Head Coach Bud Grant (1967–1983 and 1985)
The Vikings were upset by the Chiefs 23–7 in Super Bowl IV.
As a new franchise, the Vikings had the first overall selection in the 1961 NFL Draft, and they picked running back Tommy Mason of Tulane. They also took a young quarterback from the University of Georgia named Fran Tarkenton in the third round. Notable veterans acquired in the offseason were George Shaw and Hugh McElhenny. The Vikings won their first regular season game, defeating the Chicago Bears 37–13 on Opening Day 1961; Tarkenton came off the bench to throw four touchdown passes and run for another to lead the upset. Reality set in as the expansion team lost its next seven games on their way to a 3–11 record. The losing continued throughout much of the 1960s as the Vikings had a combined record of 32 wins, 59 losses, and 7 ties in their first seven seasons with only one winning season (8–5–1 in 1964).
On March 7, 1967, quarterback Fran Tarkenton was traded to the New York Giants for a first-round and second-round draft choice in 1967, a first-round choice in 1968 and a second-round choice in 1969. With the picks, Minnesota selected Clinton Jones and Bob Grim in 1967, Ron Yary in 1968 and Ed White in 1969. On March 10, 1967 the Vikings hired new head coach Bud Grant to replace Van Brocklin, who had resigned on February 11, 1967. Grant came to the Vikings from the Canadian Football League as head coach for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, whom he led to four Grey Cup Championships in 10 years. Replacing Tarkenton at quarterback was eight-year CFL veteran and Grey Cup champion Joe Kapp. During the late 1960s, the Vikings built a powerful defense known as the Purple People Eaters, led by Alan Page, Carl Eller, Gary Larsen, and Jim Marshall. In 1968, that stingy defense earned the Vikings their first Central Division title and their first playoff berth.
In 1969, the Vikings secured a 12–2 record. The team had 12 straight regular-season victories after a season-opening loss to the New York Giants, which was the longest single-season winning streak in 35 years. The Vikings defeated the Cleveland Browns 27–7 in the last pre-merger NFL Championship Game on January 4, 1970, at Metropolitan Stadium. The Vikings became the first modern NFL expansion team to win an NFL Championship Game, and earned a berth in Super Bowl IV; however, the heavily favored Vikings lost that game to the Kansas City Chiefs, 23–7. The team MVP that season was Joe Kapp, who threw for seven touchdowns against the Baltimore Colts – still an all-time NFL record; however, Kapp refused to accept the award, stating, “There is not one most valuable Viking… there are 40 most valuable Vikings!”
The team continued to dominate in 1970 and 1971, reaching the playoffs behind the stubborn “Purple People Eaters” defensive line. In 1971, Alan Page won the NFL Most Valuable Player Award given by the Associated Press. He was the first defensive player to win the award.
The Vikings’ famed Purple People Eaters defensive line stopping a Rams rush in the 1977 NFC Divisional Playoff game.
On January 27, 1972, the Vikings traded Norm Snead, Bob Grim, Vince Clements and first-round draft picks in 1972 and 1973 to the New York Giants to reacquire the popular Fran Tarkenton. While the acquisitions of Tarkenton and wide receiver John Gilliam improved the passing attack, the running game was inconsistent and the Vikings finished with a disappointing 7–7 record. The Vikings addressed the problem by drafting running back Chuck Foreman with their first pick in the 1973 Draft. Co-owner Bill Boyer died on February 19, 1973 and was replaced on the team’s board of directors by his son-in-law Jack Steele.
The Vikings won their first nine games of 1973 and finished the season with a 12–2 record. They then advanced to their second Super Bowl in franchise history, Super Bowl VIII, against the Miami Dolphins at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas; however, the Dolphins prevailed, 24–7.
The Vikings won the Central Division again in 1974 with a 10–4 record. In the playoffs they built on their cold weather reputation, defeating both the St. Louis Cardinals 30–14 and the Los Angeles Rams 14–10 in frozen Metropolitan Stadium. The Vikings played in their second straight Super Bowl, Super Bowl IX (3rd overall), losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 16–6, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans on January 12, 1975.
Led by Tarkenton and running back Chuck Foreman, the 1975 Vikings got off to a 10–0 start and easily won another division title. However, the Vikings lost to the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs, 17–14, on a controversial touchdown pass from the Cowboys’ quarterback Roger Staubach to wide receiver Drew Pearson that became known as the Hail Mary. The touchdown was controversial because many felt that Pearson pushed off on Vikings defensive back Nate Wright, committing pass interference. As the Metropolitan Stadium crowd was stunned to learn that no penalty was called, debris was thrown on the field for several minutes. A Corby’s Whiskey bottle struck game official Armen Terzian, rendering him unconscious.
The Vikings played in Super Bowl XI, their third Super Bowl (fourth overall) in four years, against the Oakland Raiders at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on January 9, 1977. The Vikings, however, lost 32–14.
In 1977, the Vikings again won the Central Division with a 9–5 record and advanced to their 4th NFC Championship Game in 5 years, but were defeated by the eventual Super Bowl Champion Cowboys, 23–6, at Texas Stadium.
By 1978, age was taking its toll on the Vikings, but they still made the playoffs with an 8–7–1 record. There was no more playoff magic as the Rams finally defeated the Vikings, 34–10 in Los Angeles after having lost in their previous four playoff matchups (in 1969, ’74, ’76 and ’77). Quarterback Fran Tarkenton retired following the season holding league passer records in attempts (6,467), completions (3,686), yards (47,003), and touchdowns (342).
In December 1979, ground was broken for construction of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis.
On May 15, 1981, the Vikings moved into a new facility in suburban 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 to 1987. The Vikings played their final game at Metropolitan Stadium on December 20 to conclude the 1981 NFL season by losing to the Kansas City Chiefs, 10–6.
“Two-minute” Tommy Kramer (1977–1989)
The Vikings played their first game at the Metrodome in a preseason matchup against the Seattle Seahawks on August 21, 1982 in a game Minnesota won, 7–3. The first touchdown in the new facility was scored by Joe Senser on an 11-yard pass from Tommy Kramer. The first 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 first regular-season touchdown in the facility on a 3-yard run in the 2nd quarter. That year the defense led by Joey Browner began a dominant 10-year run as a premier NFL defense. The Vikings beat the St. Louis Cardinals 28-10 on August 6, 1983 at Wembley Stadium in London in the very first international game in the NFL.
On January 27, 1984, Bud Grant retired as head coach of the Vikings. With a career regular-season record of 151–87–5 (.632) in 17 seasons with Minnesota, Grant led the franchise to 12 playoff appearances, 11 division titles, and four Super Bowls. Les Steckel, who was an offensive assistant with the Vikings for 5 seasons, was then named the 3rd head coach in franchise history. 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 1984 at age 38. However, the Vikings lost a franchise-worst 13 games. After the season Steckel was fired, and on December 18, 1984, Bud Grant came out of retirement and was rehired as the head coach of the Vikings.
On January 6, 1986, following the 1985 season, Bud Grant re-retired, this time permanently, as head coach of the Vikings. 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 Vikings to a 158–96–5 regular season record. Longtime Vikings assistant coach Jerry Burns was named the fourth head coach in team history on January 7, 1986. He served as the Vikings’ offensive coordinator from 1968 to 1985, when the team won 11 division titles and played in four Super Bowls. In his first season, the Vikings, led by the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Tommy Kramer, went 9–7, their first winning record in four years. On August 2, 1986, Fran Tarkenton was the first player who played the majority of his career with the Vikings to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Following the strike-shortened 1987 season, the 8–7 Vikings, who had finished 8–4 in regular games but 0–3 using strike-replacement players, pulled two upsets in the playoffs. They defeated the 12–3 New Orleans Saints 44–10 at the Louisiana Superdome in the Wild Card game. The following week, in the Divisional Playoff game, they beat the 13–2 San Francisco 49ers 36–24 at Candlestick Park. During that game, Anthony Carter set the all-time record for most receiving yards in a playoff game with 227 yards. The Vikings played the Washington Redskins in the NFC Championship Game on January 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. The Vikings’ hopes of a Super Bowl ended when Darrin Nelson dropped a pass from Wade Wilson on fourth down at the goal line.
On October 12, 1989, the Vikings acquired Herschel Walker from Dallas. The final result of the trade gave the Vikings Walker, third-round choice Mike Jones, fifth-round choice Reggie Thornton and 10th-round choice Pat Newman in 1990 and a third-round choice Jake Reed in 1991. Dallas received Issiac Holt, David Howard, Darrin Nelson, Jesse Solomon, Alex Stewart, a first-, second- and a sixth-round choice in 1990, first- and second-round choices in 1991 and a first-, second- and third-round choice in 1992. Two of those selections turned into Emmitt Smith and Darren Woodson. Walker’s performance fell short of expectations in his three seasons with the Vikings, while the Cowboys rode their draft picks to three Super Bowl victories in the early-to-mid-1990s.
Cris Carter’s Hall of Fame display. Carter was a Viking from 1990–2001.
On December 3, 1991, Jerry Burns announced his retirement effective at the end of the 1991 season. In six seasons as Head Coach of the Vikings, Burns compiled a career record of 52–43 (.547). He also led Minnesota to three playoff appearances, including a division title and an NFC Championship Game. Dennis Green was later named the fifth head coach in team history, after turning around a struggling Stanford University football program as head coach from 1989 to 1991. In his 10 seasons as the coach of the Vikings, Green won four NFC Central division titles, had eight playoff appearances, two NFC Championship Game appearances and an all-time record of 97–62. The Vikings therefore had the fifth highest winning percentage among all NFL teams during the regular season in the 1990s.
Main article: 1998 Minnesota Vikings season
1998 was a year to remember for the franchise. With a spectacular offense led by quarterback Randall Cunningham (who replaced an injured Brad Johnson), running back Robert Smith, veteran wide receiver Cris Carter, and explosive rookie Randy Moss, the Vikings set a then-NFL record by scoring a total of 556 points, never scoring fewer than 24 in a game. The Vikings finished the season 15–1, their only loss was to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27–24 in Week 9. In the playoffs, the Vikings rolled past the Arizona Cardinals 41–21, and came into the Metrodome heavily favored for their NFC title showdown with the Atlanta Falcons, who had gone 14–2 in the regular season. After kicker Gary Anderson, who had just completed the first perfect regular season in NFL history (not missing a single extra point or field goal attempt the entire year), missed a 38-yard field goal attempt with just over 2 minutes remaining, the Falcons’ ensuing drive tied the game. This led to a controversial decision by head coach Dennis Green to run out the clock and let the game go to overtime. Though the Vikings won the coin toss, Atlanta went on to win it 30–27 in overtime on Morten Andersen’s 38-yard field goal. The Vikings became the first 15–1 team to fail to reach the Super Bowl. The Falcons lost Super Bowl XXXIII to John Elway and the Denver Broncos.
Randy Moss (1998–2004 and 2010)
Main article: 1999 Minnesota Vikings season
Cunningham resumed duties again in 1999, but after a lukewarm 2–4 start, Jeff George replaced him as starting quarterback. He finished the season with an 8–2 record, and led the Vikings into the postseason once again, with an overall team record of 10–6. Minnesota beat Dallas in the Wild Card game 27–10, and faced playoff newcomer Kurt Warner and the St. Louis Rams in the Divisional matchup. The game was a shootout that Minnesota led 17–14 at halftime, but the Rams outscored Minnesota 35–20 in the second half to win 49–37. St. Louis would go on to win Super Bowl XXXIV.
The Vikings entered the decade by winning the divisional championship and an appearance in the NFC Championship game, where they were defeated 41-0 by the New York Giants. The following season, they struggled by posting a 5–11 record in 2001. The team would make the playoffs again in 2004, but would not win a divisional title again until 2008. Since the merger, the 2000s became the decade with the fewest playoff berths for the franchise.
Main article: 2000 Minnesota Vikings season
In 2000, the Vikings went 11–5. The Vikings were 11–2 after 14 weeks, but slumped briefly, losing their last three to the Rams, Packers and Colts while starting quarterback Daunte Culpepper was hampered by injury. Nonetheless, the Vikings made the playoffs for the fifth straight year. After easily beating the Saints in the Divisional game 34–16, they traveled to New York City to face the Giants in the NFC Championship Game. Though they were the road team, the Vikings were favored to win the game (since most considered their 11–2 record with Culpepper more indicative than their 0–3 record when he was out); instead, the Vikings were defeated 41–0, their worst defeat in playoff history. Robert Smith, who ran for 1,521 yards that season, retired at the end of the year after only playing eight NFL seasons.
In 2001, after a disappointing 5–11 season, the Vikings bought out the contract of Dennis Green, despite his successful coaching tenure with the team. Mike Tice coached the final game of 2001, losing to the Ravens 19–3. Tice was named the permanent coach after the season, but he would not lead the Vikings back to the playoffs until 2004.
During the 2003 season, the Vikings came close to getting into the playoffs. However, the Arizona Cardinals completed a game-winning touchdown on 4th-and-28 with 0:00 left, knocking the Vikings out of the playoffs. The moment of Arizona’s touchdown was actually the first moment the entire season in which the Vikings hadn’t led their division. The Vikings became the second team in football history to miss the playoffs after getting off to a 6–0 start, following the 1978 Washington Redskins.
In 2004, Daunte Culpepper amassed MVP-like statistics, throwing for 4,717 passing yards (leading the NFL), 39 passing touchdowns (a Viking record), and 5,123 total yards (an NFL record). In the wild card game, the Vikings defeated the rival Green Bay Packers in their first-ever playoff meeting, 31–17. In doing so, the Vikings became the second team in NFL history to have a .500 record (8–8) in the regular season and win a playoff game (The St. Louis Rams did the same thing only a day earlier). In the divisional round, the Vikings were defeated by the eventual NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles.
On March 2, 2005, Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss was traded to the Oakland Raiders for linebacker Napoleon Harris and the Raiders’ first round draft pick. After struggling to a disappointing 2–5 start to the 2005 season, Vikings lost quarterback Daunte Culpepper to a season-ending knee injury. This injury was a very significant part to this Minnesota Vikings team due to the fact they also lost Moss. The dynamic duo from years earlier were now gone and a new leader would eventually emerge. The Vikings finished the 2005 season with a 9–7 record. However, this season would be more notable for off-the-field events. In October, 17 team members were part of a party of about 90 that went out on a pleasure cruise on local Lake Minnetonka. The incident erupted into scandal when media reported that a number of the players had performed sex acts and that prostitutes had been flown in. Four players were ultimately charged with misdemeanors related to the party.
Mike Tice was let go after the 2005 season and was replaced by Brad Childress. This was one of many significant front office moves made by the new ownership team, led by Zygi Wilf.
All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson was selected 7th overall by the Vikings in the 2007 NFL Draft.
Minnesota began the 2006 season 4–2 (with Childress becoming the first Vikings coach to start his career 2–0), but would finish the year at 6–10, receiving the 7th pick in the NFL Draft; with it, the Vikings selected Adrian Peterson out of the University of Oklahoma.
Peterson’s first career touchdown was a 60-yard screen pass against the Atlanta Falcons in his first career game. When the Vikings played the Chicago Bears in Week 6, Peterson broke the record for single game All-Purpose (rushing, receiving, kick returning) yards (361 total yards, 224 rushing). In Week 9, Peterson broke the NFL single game rushing record set by Jamal Lewis in 2003 by rushing for 296 yards against the San Diego Chargers. Despite a strong push in the middle of the season, winning five straight games, the Vikings lost their final two games to finish the season at 8–8 and missed the playoffs.
In Week 13 of the 2008 season against the Bears, Gus Frerotte hooked up with Bernard Berrian and set the record for longest play in franchise history with a 99-yard touchdown pass. In the 2009 season, Adrian Peterson led the NFL with 1760 rushing yards, breaking the franchise record. The Vikings clinched the NFC North championship for the first time after defeating the New York Giants 20–19 in Week 17, when kicker Ryan Longwell made the game-winning field goal. Peterson had 19 carries for 109 yards and added a touchdown during the game.
On January 4, 2009, the Vikings hosted the Philadelphia Eagles for the Wild Card round, their first home playoff game in eight years. The Eagles led the Viking 16–14 at halftime and, coming off a 44–6 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, went on to defeat the Vikings 26–14. The Eagles would go on to defeat the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants in the Divisional round, only to lose to the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game.
Since 2006, the Vikings have been known especially for their strong run defense (#1 in the NFL in 2006, 2007, and 2008; they are the first NFL team to accomplish this since the AFL–NFL merger in 1970), anchored by the Williams Wall consisting of defensive tackle Kevin Williams and nose tackle Pat Williams (no relation). With the addition of sack-leader Jared Allen in 2008, the dominant front four began being called by several nicknames, including “Thunder and Plunder” and “Shock and AWE” (an acronym of their surname initials).
Brett Favre played for the Vikings in 2009 and 2010.
On August 18, 2009, after months of speculation and negotiations, twice-retired veteran quarterback Brett Favre, who until 2007 had played 16 years for division archrival Green Bay Packers, signed a two-year, $25 million deal with the Vikings.
On October 5, 2009, the Vikings hosted the Green Bay Packers as Favre played his former team for the first time. With a 30–23 victory on Monday Night Football, the Vikings moved to a 4–0 record. Favre became the first quarterback in NFL history to defeat all 32 current teams as a starter. Over 21.8 million viewers tuned in to watch the game, beating the previous record for a cable television program set by a game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys in 2008 (18.6 million viewers).
The Vikings beat the New York Giants, 44–7, in Week 17 to help the team clinch the second seed in the conference and a first round-bye with an Eagles loss later that same day. The Vikings ended the regular season with a 12–4 record, their best record since 2000 and the first 11-plus win season since their record-setting 1998 campaign. The Vikings played the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round on January 17, 2010, and won the game by a score of 34–3, advancing the Vikings to the NFC Championship game, the ninth in franchise history. This would also be the first NFC Championship game for the team since the 2000 season. Minnesota would travel to New Orleans the following week to face the top-seeded Saints in the first conference championship game held at the Superdome. Despite out-gaining the Saints on offense by nearly a twofold margin, the Vikings were severely hindered by five turnovers, including a Favre interception in the final minute of the fourth quarter in Saints territory. They were ousted in overtime, 31–28, as the Saints won the coin toss and kicked a 40-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime.[note 1]
Minnesota Vikings 50th Anniversary logo: 2010
In the first week of the 2010 NFL regular season, the Vikings played the defending Super Bowl champions, the New Orleans Saints. The Vikings lost 14–9. In Week 2, the Vikings played the Miami Dolphins and lost 14–10. The Vikings defeated the Detroit Lions 24–10 in the third week of the season. After a week four bye-week, the Vikings received star wide receiver Randy Moss in a trade with the New England Patriots. Even with the addition of Moss, the Vikings lost to the New York Jets 29–20 in Week 5. The Vikings won a crucial victory against another struggling team in the form of the Dallas Cowboys 24–21, but in Week 7 the Vikings lost to the arch-rival Green Bay Packers 28–24. In Week 9, the Vikings played the Arizona Cardinals at home and won 27–24 in overtime, coming back from a 24–10 deficit in the final four minutes of regulation. Favre threw for a career-high 446 passing yards. The Vikings then went on to face the Chicago Bears, but were defeated, and then went on to be blown out 31–3 at home by the Packers the following game. Head coach Brad Childress was fired the following Monday. With Leslie Frazier filling in for the fired Childress, the Vikings won two games in a row. One against the Washington Redskins on the road, and a blowout win over the Buffalo Bills at home.
Jared Allen played for the Vikings from 2008 to 2013.
After a winter storm dropped nearly 17 inches of snow in the Minneapolis/St Paul area the Saturday before the Vikings December 12 home game versus the New York Giants and 30 mph gusts drove snow removers off the dome’s roof overnight, several panels were damaged as the weight of the snow caused the roof to collapse. After viewing the damage, Vikings management and the NFL decided to move the game to Monday and play it at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Because of on-going repairs to the roof of the Metrodome, the Vikings played their December 20 game versus the Chicago Bears at TCF Bank Stadium. Favre threw the final touchdown pass of his career (to Percy Harvin) in this game. The game was played 29 years to the day after the last outdoor game at old Met Stadium. On December 26, the NFL announced that the game versus the Philadelphia Eagles was being postponed to Tuesday, December 28, 2010 because of blizzard conditions. This marks the third consecutive venue or date change for a Vikings game and was the first NFL game played on a Tuesday since 1964. The Vikings proceeded to upset the dynamic Eagles offense, led by a resurgent Michael Vick, 24–14 with rookie Joe Webb at the helm. The Vikings finished the season 6–10 with a 20–13 loss against the Detroit Lions.
The 2010–11 season was a step down for the Minnesota Vikings. After coming within a few plays of Super Bowl XLIV, Minnesota ended the 2010 season with a 6–10 record and a last place finish in the NFC North for the first time since 1990. During the season, the Vikings had many distractions, including trading for Randy Moss and then waiving him only a month later, Brett Favre’s NFL investigation for allegedly sending inappropriate text messages to Jets’ employee Jenn Sterger while he was with the team in 2008, the Metrodome’s collapse and resulting venue changes, and finally head coach Brad Childress’ firing on November 22 following a 31–3 loss at the hands of the rival Green Bay Packers.
After serving as the interim head coach for the final six games of the season (finishing with a 3–3 record), defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was officially named the head coach on January 3, 2011, after signing a three-year contract. On January 17, Brett Favre retired for the third, and officially last, time, leaving the team in search for a long term replacement at the quarterback position. Wasting no time after being appointed head coach, Frazier began to restructure the team’s coaching staff, including letting go of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and hiring Mike Singletary as linebackers coach and Bill Musgrave as the new offensive coordinator. Their first round draft pick was Christian Ponder, a quarterback from Florida State University. The team finished with a 3–13 record, tied with the 1984 Vikings for the second worst record in franchise history.
In 2012, Adrian Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards – 8 less than Eric Dickerson’s single-season record.
During the 2012 NFL Draft, the team selected USC lineman Matt Kalil with the 4th overall pick after a trade with the Cleveland Browns, and Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith in the first round. Both players were instrumental in helping the Vikings reach the playoffs for the 27th time in franchise history, as was fellow draftee, sixth-round selection Blair Walsh. After beating the Packers in the final game of 2012 to reach the playoffs as the NFC’s sixth seed, the Vikings lost 24–10 to the Packers in the rematch at Lambeau Field in the Wild Card round. The team was forced to play backup Joe Webb during the game after Ponder was sidelined due to an arm injury sustained from the previous week. Peterson was later named the league’s MVP, after rushing for 2,097 yards, the second most rushing yards in a season in NFL history.
In the 2013 season, the Vikings finished with five wins, ten losses, and one tie, with no road wins. Notable moments include acquired free agent Matt Cassel outplaying Christian Ponder at the quarterback position and the defense allowing a league-worst 480 points, coming within four points of matching the franchise’s worst set in 1984. This was also the last season played at the Metrodome as a new stadium deal was reached. Leslie Frazier was fired after the regular season ended.
The Vikings moved to U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016
The team hired former Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer to replace Leslie Frazier as head coach on January 16, 2014. Former Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner replaced Bill Musgrave, and George Edwards replaced Alan Williams as defensive coordinator. In the 2014 NFL Draft, the Vikings selected Anthony Barr, a linebacker out of UCLA, and Teddy Bridgewater, a quarterback out of the University of Louisville. Bridgewater would later lose the starting job to Matt Cassel only to become the starter for the Vikings when Cassel was lost to a season-ending foot injury in week 3. Star running back Adrian Peterson only played in one regular season game due to his ongoing child abuse trial, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell placing Peterson on the Commissioner’s Exempt List indefinitely. On April 16, 2015, the league released a statement issuing Peterson’s reinstatement to occur on April 17, 2015. The Vikings concluded their season with seven wins and nine losses, winning only one game against a divisional opponent, although Bridgewater set a franchise record for wins by a rookie starting quarterback. On January 3, 2016, the Vikings beat divisional rival Green Bay 20–13 to win the NFC North for the first time since 2009. The Vikings, led by their top 5 defense, ended the 2015 season with an 11–5 record, and a #3 seed in the playoffs. However, they lost to the Seattle Seahawks 10–9 after Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal in the third coldest game in NFL playoff history.
The Vikings were responsible for a historic milestone in the late rounds of the 2016 NFL draft. Their sixth-round selection, German wide receiver Moritz Böhringer, was the first European player ever to be drafted by an NFL team without having previously played at any level in North America. After Teddy Bridgewater went down with a knee injury in the preseason of 2016, the Vikings traded their 2017 first round pick and a conditional fourth round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Sam Bradford, who threw for 20 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 3,877 yards, and led the Vikings to an 8-8 season. Following the knee injury, the Vikings declined to pick up the 5th year option for Teddy Bridgewater. Running back Adrian Peterson went down to injury in Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers with a torn meniscus and was placed on the Injured Reserve until Week 15. On February 28, 2017, the Vikings announced they would not exercise Peterson’s 2017 contract option which made him a free agent. Had they exercised the option, Peterson would be owed $18 million for the 2017 season. On April 25, 2017, the New Orleans Saints signed Peterson to a 2-year, $7 million contract, ending his tenure with the Vikings since his debut in 2007 as a rookie. He holds several Vikings records including most career rushing touchdowns, career rushing yards, and most rushing yards in a season.
In the summer of 2017, the Vikings ownership announced they would end the 52-year annual tradition of summer training camp in Mankato, Minnesota at Minnesota State University, Mankato as they built a large new headquarters, training facility and area property development in Eagan, Minnesota on the site of the former Northwest Airlines offices to be completed in the spring of 2018 in time for the 2018 summer training camp.
The Vikings won the NFC North for the second time in three years in 2017, finishing with a 13–3 record that saw them go into the playoffs as the number 2 seed in the NFC. In the divisional round, they came up against the New Orleans Saints. With less than 10 seconds remaining in the game and trailing by a single point, the Vikings lined up on 3rd-and-10 on their own 39-yard line. Quarterback Case Keenum threw the ball to wide receiver Stefon Diggs inside field goal range near the right sideline, giving the receiver a chance to get out of bounds with just enough time for a game-winning field goal attempt; however, safety Marcus Williams missed his attempted tackle, allowing Diggs to run down the sideline unopposed for the first walk-off game-winning touchdown in NFL playoff history. On KFAN 100.3, radio announcer Paul Allen dubbed the play the ‘Minneapolis Miracle’. The Vikings went on to the NFC Championship for the opportunity to play in Super Bowl LII in their own stadium, only to lose 38–7 to the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.