The Vikings Franchise Journey: A Historical Timeline

Vikings Timeline
Minnesota was granted an NFL franchise at the league owners’ meetings in Miami on Jan. 28, 1960. The team began play in 1961. Among the founding members were Max Winter, E. William Boyer, H.P Skoglund, Ole Haugsrud, and Bernard H. Ridder, Jr.
BERT ROSE NAMED FIRST GENERAL MANAGER – Former Los Angeles Rams Public Relations Director Bert Rose was named the team’s first general manager in 1960.
One of Bert Rose’s first moves was to suggest the name “Vikings” to the Board of Directors. The name was chosen because it represented both the aggressive spirit of a Viking and the Nordic culture of the northern Midwest.
He retired as a player in 1960 after 12 seasons in the NFL as a Hall of Fame quarterback.
Historical Timeline
Historical Timeline
On Dec. 27, 1960, the Vikings selected Tulane running back Tommy Mason with their first-ever draft pick. QB Fran Tarkenton was taken in the third round, and DB Ed Sharockman was selected in the fifth round.
Following the 1960 season, the Vikings could select three players from each team’s roster after allowing each team 30 of its 38 players to be protected. The Dallas team did not have to go through this process. Among the players selected were OL Grady Alderman (Detroit) and RB Hugh McElhenny (San Francisco).
The Vikings were assigned to the Western Conference on April 12, 1961, joining Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
On Aug. 5, 1961, the Vikings played the Dallas Cowboys in Sioux Falls, SD, in the first game in franchise history. The Cowboys won 38-13.
The Minnesota Vikings played the Los Angeles Rams in preseason action at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota, on Sept. 10, 1961. 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 on Sept. 17, 1961. Kicker Mike Mercer scored the first points in team history with a 12-yard field goal. Tarkenton completed 17-of-23 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns in his NFL debut. Bob Schnelker scored the team’s first touchdown on a 14-yard pass from Tarkenton.
Hugh McElhenny and Jerry Reichow became the first Vikings to play in the Pro Bowl on Jan. 14, 1962, when the Western Conference All-Stars beat the Eastern Conference squad, 31-30, at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
RB Tommy Mason was the first Vikings player to earn All-Pro recognition in 1963, after rushing for 763 yards and seven touchdowns on 166 carries (4.6 average).
Jim Finks was hired as the team’s second general manager in September, 1964, succeeding Bert Rose, who resigned in June. Finks previously served as Calgary’s general manager for 7 years in the Canadian Football League.
Minnesota won its final 3 regular-season games in 1964 to achieve the first winning season in team history. The Vikings finished tied for 2nd in the NFL Western Conference behind Baltimore with an 8-5-1 record.
MET EXPANDED – A new grandstand was built on the east side of Metropolitan Stadium to increase capacity from 41,200 to 47,200. The new seats were formally dedicated on Aug. 20, 1965, when Minnesota played Philadelphia.
As a result of the NFL’s realignment, Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit, and Green Bay formed the Central Division of the Western Conference on Dec. 2, 1966.
Van Brocklin resigned as Head Coach of the Vikings in February, 1967, following a 29-51-4 record in the Vikings’ first six years. In 1964, he led the team to a tie for 2nd place in the NFL Western Conference with an 8-5-1 record, his best season.
A 1st and 2nd round pick in 1967, a 1st round pick in 1968, and a 2nd round pick in 1969 are traded for Tarkenton to the NY Giants on March 7, 1967. Minnesota selected Clinton Jones and Bob Grim in ’67, Ron Yary in ’68, and Ed White in ’69 with these picks.
Bud Grant was named Vikings’ second head coach on March 10, 1967. He had led the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to four Grey Cup Championships in 10 years as head coach.
In 1968, the Vikings won the First Division title by beating the Philadelphia Eagles, 24- 17, at Franklin Field. The Vikings then listened to the Chicago-Green Bay game on the radio in their dressing room. In order to win the Vikings’ 1st Division, Chicago needed the Bears to lose. Chicago rallied from a 28-10 deficit in the fourth quarter, but ultimately lost 28-17.
On Dec. 22, 1968, the Colts defeated the Vikings, 24-14, in the Western Conference Championship Game at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, in the first playoff game in franchise history. Minnesota trailed 21-0 midway through the fourth quarter, but a late rally failed.
The Vikings won the second division title on Nov. 27, 1969, with a 27-0 shutout of Detroit at Tiger Stadium. Minnesota finished the season with the NFL’s best record (12-2) of ’69. The win over the Lions was the 10th of a 12-game winning streak, the longest in 35 years.
On Dec. 27, 1969, Minnesota faced the LA Rams in the first-ever NFL playoff game hosted in their state and powered their way to a 23-20 victory; they overcame deficits of 17-7 at halftime and 20-14 in the fourth quarter for their first ever postseason win. The Vikings went on to make history in their next game: competing against the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Championship Game on Jan. 4, 1970 at Metropolitan Stadium, they became the first modern expansion team to claim an NFL Championship title as they trounced the Browns 27-7; leading 27-0 at one point during the match.
It was not only the Vikings’ first Super Bowl, but the first Super Bowl played by a modern expansion team as well. On Jan. 11, 1970, the Vikings lost to Kansas City, 23-7, in Super Bowl IV at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.
Third Division Title — The Vikings won their third straight division title on Dec. 5, 1970, by defeating the Bears, 16-13, at Metropolitan Stadium. Minnesota hosted San Francisco in a divisional playoff game, but lost, 17-14. With a 12-2 record, the Vikings won the league for a second consecutive season.
On Dec. 11, 1971, the Vikings defeated the Lions 29-10 at Metropolitan Stadium to win their 4th straight division title.
In the early days of the Vikings, Vikings RBs Hugh McElhenny and Tommy Mason were invited to the Pro Bowl. With an all-time record of 45-46-1, the Vikings-Packers border rivalry was one of the most even in NFL history. In 1971, Minnesota finished 11-3, tied with Dallas for the league’s best record. In a divisional playoff game, the Vikings fell to the eventual Super Bowl champion Cowboys, 20-12.
ALAN PAGE WINNED NFL MVP — The Associated Press awarded Alan Page the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 1971. For the third consecutive year, Page led a Vikings defense that limited opponents to fewer than 10 points per game, leading the league in scoring defense.
In 1972, the Vikings traded Norm Snead, Bob Grim, Vince Clements and a first-round pick in 1972 and 1973 to the NY Giants for Fran Tarkenton.
In 1972, E. William Boyer died. He played a central role in the effort to bring an NFL franchise to Minnesota. From 1960 to 1964, Boyer served as Vikings president and sat on the Board of Directors for the first 12 years of the team’s existence. His son-in-law, Jack Steele, replaced him on the Board of Directors.
FIFTH DIVISION TITLE — Vikings won nine straight games to win the NFC Central title before they lost a game in 1973. On Nov. 11, 1973, Minnesota clinched the division crown by defeating Detroit, 28-7, at Metropolitan Stadium. Minnesota finished with a 12-2 record, tied for the league’s best mark.
On January 13th 1974, the Vikings faced the Miami Dolphins in their second ever Super Bowl match-up, held at Rice Stadium in Houston. Unfortunately for Minnesota, the Dolphins won 24-7. The trip to Super Bowl VIII had been earned earlier that year, after defeating Dallas 27-10 in the NFC Championship game. Following this season, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jim Finks stepped down. In his nine years with the team, Finks led them to five division titles and two Super Bowls – as well as hiring Bud Grant as head coach in 1967.
In 1974, the Vikings won the NFC Central division by defeating the Saints, 29-9, at Metropolitan Stadium, while the Packers lost, 36-14, to Philadelphia. Minnesota had a 10-4 record, tied for the best in the league.
It was the Vikings’ second consecutive Super Bowl, and they lost 16-6 to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans on Jan. 12, 1975. On Dec. 29, 1974, Minnesota defeated the Los Angeles Rams, 14-10, to earn a spot in Super Bowl IX.
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In the spring of 1975, Max Winter, one of the franchise’s founders and president since 1965, took over the franchise’s active management. A general manager position was also given to Mike Lynn, who had been hired as an assistant to the president on Aug. 15, 1974.
WINNER OF THE NFC Central division on Thanksgiving Day, 1975, when the Lions lost to the Rams, 20-0, the Vikings clinched their seventh division championship in eight years. In the first half of the season, Minnesota won 10 straight games to finish with the best record in the NFL (12-2). On Dec. 28, 1975, a 50-yard touchdown pass by the Dallas Cowboys upset the Vikings, 17-14, in the divisional playoffs at Metropolitan Stadium.
In 1975, Fran Tarkenton was named NFL MVP after leading the Vikings to the league’s best record (12- 2). With a 91.7 passing rating, he led the NFC and finished 2nd in the NFL in passing. He completed 273-of-425 passes for 2,994 yards and 25 touchdowns, along with 13 interceptions.
In March 1976, Ole Haugsrud passed away. He was a key figure in the effort to bring an NFL franchise to Minnesota, serving on the Board of Directors for 16 years of its existence. His widow Margaret Haugsrud replaced him on the team’s Board of Directors.
The Vikings won their eighth division title in nine years by defeating the Packers, 17-10, at Milwaukee County Stadium on Nov. 21, 1976, claiming their fourth consecutive NFC Central championship and eighth division title in nine years. With a record of 11-2-1, Minnesota finished the season with the best record in the NFC.
On Jan. 9, 1977, the Minnesota Vikings played in their third Super Bowl in four years against the Oakland Raiders at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. Minnesota lost 32-14. In what ended up being the last Viking playoff game at Metropolitan Stadium, the Vikings defeated the Rams 24-13 to qualify for Super Bowl XI on Dec. 26, 1976.
Sheldon Kaplan was named to the Vikings Board of Directors in 1977, replacing Bernard H. Ridder, Jr., one of the team’s five founders.
THIRD DIVISION TITLE – The Vikings clinched the NFC Central title with a 30-21 victory over the Lions in Detroit on Dec. 17, 1977. It was Minnesota’s fifth straight NFC Central title and ninth division crown in ten years.
The Vikings played Dallas in their fourth NFC Championship Game in five years at Texas Stadium on Jan. 1, 1978. Minnesota lost to the eventual Super Bowl champs, 23-6.
John Skoglund and Vikings General Manager Mike Lynn have been named to the board of directors, replacing Margaret Haugsrud and H.P. Skoglund, who was one of the team’s founders. Haugsrud replaced her husband Ole, who passed away in 1976, on the board.
A 10TH DIVISION TITLE — The Vikings won 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 on Dec. 17, 1978, at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Vikings won their sixth straight NFC Central championship and 10th division title in 11 years.
Ground was broken for the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis in December 1979. It was scheduled to open in April 1982.
A 28-23 victory over the Browns at Met Stadium on Dec. 14, 1980, clinched Minnesota’s seventh NFC Central title in eight years, and made it the Vikings’ 11th division title in 13 years. In the divisional playoffs on Jan. 3, 1981, Minnesota lost to the NFC Champion Eagles, 31-16, at Veterans Stadium.
In 1981, the Vikings moved into a new facility in Eden Prairie that houses offices, locker rooms, and practice fields. Winter Park is named after Max Winter, one of the Vikings founders who served as the team’s president from 1965 to 1987.
On Dec. 20, 1981, the Vikings hosted the Chiefs in Minnesota’s final game at Metropolitan Stadium. Minnesota lost to Green Bay 10-6. A 33-yard field goal by Minnesota kicker Rick Danmeier provided the final points at Met Stadium. On Nov. 29, 1981, Ted Brown scored the last Viking touchdown at Met Stadium.
In a preseason match with Seattle, the Vikings played their first game at the Metrodome on Aug. 21, 1982. Minnesota won 7-3. The first touchdown in the new facility was scored by Joe Senser on an 11-yard pass from Tommy Kramer. In 1982, the Vikings defeated Tampa Bay 17-10 in their first regular season game at the Metrodome. On a 3-yard run in the second quarter, Rickey Young scored the first regular-season touchdown in the facility.
In a strike-shortened nine-game 1982 season, the Vikings won three-of-their-last-four regular-season games to make the playoffs.
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FIRST DOME PLAYOFF GAME — The Vikings defeated Atlanta 30-24 on Jan. 9, 1983, to win the first playoff game at the Metrodome. On Jan. 15, 1983, the Vikings lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Redskins, 21-7, in the NFC semi-finals at RFK Stadium. Bud Grant led the Vikings to four Super Bowls and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994.
Grant retired from coaching the Vikings on Jan. 27, 1984. He led the Vikings to 12 playoff appearances, 11 division titles, and four Super Bowls in 17 seasons. His career regular-season record was 151-87-5 (.632).
On Jan. 29, 1984, Les Steckel became the Vikings’ third head coach after serving as an offensive assistant for five years. At age 38, Steckel was the youngest head coach in NFL history when he joined the Vikings in 1979 after serving as an assistant with the 49ers.
On Dec. 18, 1984, Bud Grant was rehired as Vikings head coach. He replaced Les Steckel, who guided the team in 1984 after Grant retired following the 1983 season.
BUDDY RETIRES — Bud Grant retired as head coach of the Vikings on Jan. 6, 1986 after the 1985 season. With 168 career wins, including playoffs, he was the 6th winningest coach in NFL history when he retired after the 1983 season. In 18 seasons, he led the team to 158-96-5 in the regular season.
He served as the Vikings offensive coordinator from 1968-85, when the team won 11 division titles and played in four Super Bowls.
ENSHRINED — Fran Tarkenton became the first Vikings player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 2, 1986. Following the 1978 season, he retired with NFL career records for passing yards (47,003), completions (3,686) and touchdown passes (34). The team won six NFC Central titles, four NFC championships and three Super Bowls under his leadership.
With an 8-7 record in 1987, the Vikings made the playoffs as a wild-card entrant despite a strike replacement unit that saddled them with three losses. Under the leadership of Jerry Burns, who was in his second season as head coach, it was the Vikings’ first postseason appearance.
A fifth NFC championship game was played at RFK Stadium on Jan. 17, 1988, between the Vikings and the Redskins. With just over a minute left in the game, the Vikings drove to the Redskins’ 6-yard line but failed to score. In the first two rounds of the playoffs, Minnesota defeated New Orleans 44-10 at the Superdome and San Francisco 36-24 at Candlestick Park to qualify for the conference title game.
Wheelock Whitney, Jaye Dyer, Irwin Jacobs and Carl Pohlad were added to the Vikings Board of Directors in 1988, joining Max Winter, John Skoglund, Jack Steele, Sheldon Kaplan and Mike Lynn.
PAGE ENSHRINED — Alan Page was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on July 30, 1988, becoming the second player to spend most of his career with the Vikings. Minnesota drafted Page in the first round in 1967, and he made nine Pro Bowl appearances. In 1971, Page was named NFL’s Most Valuable Player by the Associated Press for the first time. He played on teams that won ten NFC Central titles and played in four Super Bowls.
A wild card berth to the playoffs was earned by the Vikings in 1988 after winning six of their last seven games. In a first round playoff game at the Metrodome on December 26, Minnesota defeated the Rams, 28-17, after finishing with an 11-5 record. As a result, the Vikings fell 34-9 to eventual Super Bowl champion San Francisco.
Max Winter, the last of the original 5 Vikings founders on the board, left the board in 1989. He also served as the team’s president from 1965-87. Gerald Schwalbach replaced Winter on the board.
On October 12, 1989, the Vikings acquired Herschel Walker from Dallas in a trade involving a total of five players, plus round-specific draft picks for 1990 and 1991. Minnesota ended up with Walker along with 3rd (Mike Jones), 5th (Reggie Thornton) and 10th-round (Pat Newman) choices in 1990 as well as a 3rd-round pick in 1991 (Jake Reed). Dallas was given all five players from the deal, plus 1st, 2nd and 6th-round selections in 1990; 1st and 2nd-round picks in ’91; and finally a 1st, 2nd and 3rd-round option for 1992.
As the Vikings defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 29-21 on Christmas Day 1989, they won their 12th division title since 1968 at the Metrodome. A 10-6 Viking record led to the Vikings losing to eventual Super Bowl champion San Francisco, 41-13, in the divisional playoffs on Jan. 6, 1990, at Candlestick Park. It was Minnesota’s 15th postseason appearance in 22 years.
Roger Headrick became the Vikings’ president and chief executive officer on Jan. 1, 1991. As the club’s day-to-day manager, he replaced Mike Lynn. Headrick and Philip Maas were also appointed to the board of directors as a replacement for Jack Steele and Sheldon Kaplan.
On Dec. 3, 1991, Vikings head coach Jerry Burns announced his retirement. During his six seasons, Burns compiled a career record of 52-43 (.547). He also led Minnesota to three playoff appearances, including a division title and the NFC championship game.
A reorganization of the team’s ownership structure took place on Dec. 16, 1991. The Vikings President/CEO Roger Headrick, John Skoglund, Jaye Dyer, Philip Maas, Mike Lynn, Wheelock Whitney, James Binger, Bud Grossman, Elizabeth MacMillan, and Carol Sperry bought the shares of Irwin Jacobs and Carl Pohlad.
GREEN NAMED HEAD COACH – On Jan. 10, 1992, Dennis Green became the 5th head coach in team history after turning around Stanford University’s struggling football program as head coach from 1989 to 1991.
The Vikings won their 13th division title on Dec. 20, 1992, by defeating the Steelers 6-3 at Three Rivers Stadium. The Minnesota Vikings also made their 16th playoff appearance since 1968. Additionally, Dennis Green won the most games (11) and won the 1st division title as the team’s first-year head coach. On Jan. 2, 1993, the Vikings lost to the defending Super Bowl champion Redskins, 24-7, in a first-round playoff game at the Metrodome.
For the first time since 1974, the Vikings qualified for the Wild-Card playoffs after winning their final three regular-season games. In 1994, Minnesota lost to the Giants in a first-round playoff game at Giants Stadium, 17-10. It was the team’s 17th postseason appearance since 1968.
For Warren Moon, who has thrown for more yards and touchdowns than any other player in the NFL, the Vikings traded a 4th-round draft choice in 1994 and a 3rd-round draft choice in 1995 to the Houston Oilers on April 14, 1994. In 1994, he passed for 4,264 yards and in 1995, he passed for 3,77 yards and scored 33 touchdowns.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted Bud Grant on July 30, 1994. Grant coached the Vikings from 1967-83 and again in 1985. He made the playoffs 12 times, won 11 division titles and played in 4 Super Bowls during his tenure. He is the first person to be elected to both the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In 1994, the Vikings won their second NFC Central title in three seasons and their third consecutive playoff berth on Monday night by defeating the 49ers, 21-14. In addition to winning its 14th division and making 18 postseason appearances since 1968, Dennis Green became the 7th NFL coach to lead his team to the playoffs in his first three years.
FINKS ENSHRINED — Former Vikings General Manager Jim Finks was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on July 25, 1995. In his decade with Minnesota, Finks won 5 division titles and two Super Bowls. He died on May 8, 1994, and his family represented his family at his posthumous induction.
The Vikings’ owner and President, Max Winter, passed away on July 26, 1996. The Vikings QB Tommy Kramer started 110 games for the team and brought Super Bowl XXVI to Minnesota as one of his prime forces in bringing the NFL franchise to Minnesota. He also played a major role in the building of the Metrodome.
At the Metrodome, the Vikings defeated the Buccaneers, 21-10, on Dec. 15, 1996. Minnesota was guaranteed a playoff berth after a loss by Washington to Arizona later that day, its fourth in five seasons under Dennis Green since 1968. On Dec. 28, 1996, the Vikings fell to the Dallas Cowboys, 40-15, in a first-round game at Texas Stadium.
The Vikings made their 20th post-season appearance on Dec. 21, 1997, after beating the Colts in the regular season finale. Under head coach Dennis Green they were making their 5th playoff appearance in 6 seasons. On Dec. 27, 1997 the Vikings trailed the NY Giants 16 points and pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in team playoff history and NFL history – winning 23-22 at the Meadowlands. However they were unable to push on and lost to San Francisco a week later 38-22 in the Divisional Playoffs at 3Com Park.
Paul Krause was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 1, 1998. He played free safety for the Vikings from 1968-79 and for the Redskins from 1964-67. In his 15-year career, Krause has intercepted 81 passes. He has been selected to 8 Pro Bowls.
Minnesota Vikings 10 owners unanimously voted on July 3, 1998, to accept the bid of Texas businessman B.J. “Red” McCombs to purchase the Vikings.
McCOMBS APPROVED BY NFL – 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 McCombs.
Dennis Green’s contract was extended by three years on September 5, the day before the season opener against Tampa Bay.
With their 26-16 win at Tennessee in the regular-season finale, the Vikings became just the third team in NFL history to go 15-1 through the regular season and became the best in team history for 15 wins. In addition, the Vikings broke the old NFL scoring record of 541 set in 1983 by the Washington Redskins to score 556 points.
The Vikings’ 6th NFC Championship game saw them host Atlanta in the Metrodome for a berth in Super Bowl XXXIII. After a 27-27 draw in regulation, the Falcons snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a 30-27 overtime win. The 1999 season proved to be a successful one for Minnesota, as they reversed their fortunes to finish 10-6 and earned their 22nd Playoff appearance. A first-round home contest against Dallas saw Robert Smith set the team record for post-season rushing yards (140) in their 27-10 triumph. However, St. Louis eventually saw off Minnesota 49-37 at their TWA Dome encounter in the Divisional Round en route to winning Super Bowl XXXIV.
CARTER AWARDED MAN OF THE YEAR — On January 29, 2000, Cris Carter received the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award for civic involvement, charity work and high character during Super Bowl week in Atlanta as the first recipient. Payton, a Hall of Fame running back who passed away in 1999, was honored with the award.
Robert Smith broke Chuck Foreman’s 20-year-old career rushing record in the team’s 28-16 win at Chicago (10/15/00). With 6,818 yards, Smith finished his career. In addition to setting a new team record with 1,521 rushing yards on the season, he has scored 29 career 100-yard games, which is a new team record.
A luncheon to introduce the Vikings 40th Anniversary Team was held on November 30 in celebration of the Vikings’ 40th season as an NFL football team in 2000. The Vikings won 24-17 that night and Cris Carter caught his 1,000th NFL pass on a 4 yard TD from Daunte Culpepper. Carter was the second player in NFL history to reach 1,000 career receptions.
The Vikings scored an 11-5 regular-season record in 2000, won 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.
INTRODUCTION – On August 4, 2000, Ron Yary was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Yary played 14 seasons with Minnesota and played in 4 Super Bowls and 7 Pro Bowls.
GREEN REPLACED BY TICE — Mike Tice replaced Dennis Green on the Vikings’ sideline on January 4, 2002. Green led the Vikings to four NFC Central Division titles and twice played in the NFC Championship game. He coached the 2001 regular season finale at Baltimore. In eight of his ten seasons, Green’s teams made the playoffs.
The Vikings named Mike Tice their 6th Head Coach on January 10, 2002. Tice is the 3rd of the Vikings’ 6 Head Coaches to be promoted from within the team’s coaching ranks.
As part of the NFL realignment, the Houston Texans joined as an expansion franchise in 2002, expanding the League to 32 teams. After years in the NFC Central, the Vikings moved into the newly-formed NFC North. The NFL realigned into 8 divisions of four teams each.
In 2002, the Minnesota Vikings led the NFL in rushing for the first time in team history with an impressive 2,507 yards and an average of 156.7 yards per game. RB Michael Bennett was only one reason for their success as his 1,296 yards set him up to be chosen for the Pro Bowl. The Vikings achieved a number of records that season including the most rushing touchdowns with 26, highest average per carry (5.3), and total first downs (350). Furthermore, they made history by becoming the first team to ever win a game through a successful two-point conversion when Culpepper scored on a two-point run with less than five seconds left in their victory against New Orleans. Culpepper himself accomplished multiple feats in 2002 including most attempts (106), highest yardage (609) and TD runs as a quarterback (10) – all new team records.
OFFENSE RANKS #1 – The 2003 Vikings were the first team in franchise history to finish the season with the #1 ranked offense in the NFL, averaging 393.4 yards per game and scoring 26.0 points per game.
Carl Eller was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 8, 2004. He was a member of the Purple People Eaters defense.
In May 2005, fellow NFL owners unanimously approved the investment group led by brothers Zygmunt and Mark Wilf as the new owners of the Vikings. Former owner Red McCombs, who had owned the club since 1998, was replaced by the Wilf family, who own a real estate development firm in New Jersey. In addition to Leonard Wilf, Reggie Fowler, David Mandelbaum, and Alan Landis, the Wilfs ownership group includes cousin Leonard Wilf, Reggie Fowler, and David Mandelbaum.
The Vikings named Brad Childress their seventh head coach in franchise history on January 6, 2006. He brought seven years of experience with the Philadelphia Eagles to the team, where he served as offensive coordinator from 2002-05. During this time, the Eagles earned NFC East titles in 2001, ’02, ’03 and ’04 and competed in Super Bowl XXXIX. Moreover, Childress was highly influential in the development of five-time Pro Bowl selection QB Donovan McNabb. Before coaching for the Eagles, he was at the University of Illinois from 1978-84 and taught offense to the Wisconsin Badgers from 1991-98.
The Vikings unveiled their new uniforms on April 27, 2006 before a large crowd at the Mall of America. The new uniforms are the most dramatic change in the team’s history.
C Matt Birk, G Steve Hutchinson, DT Kevin Williams, and DT Pat Williams all earned Pro Bowl honors for the 2006 Vikings.
Adrian Peterson broke the team record for rushing yards in a game with 224 at Chicago (10/14/07) in just his 5th NFL game. In the next three weeks, he set another NFL record with 296 yards against San Diego (11/4/07). As a result, he led the NFC in rushing with 1,341 yards, was named All-Pro, NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, started in the Pro Bowl and won the game MVP award.
7 Vikings earn Pro Bowl trips — The Vikings have sent 7 players to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, the most since 2000. C Matt Birk, G Steve Hutchinson, S Darren Sharper, FB Tony Richardson, DT Kevin Williams, DT Pat Williams and RB Adrian Peterson represented the team.
A BLOCKBUSTER TRADE LANDS ALLEN — In exchange 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 picks, Kansas City agreed to trade DE Jared Allen to the club. At the Vikings Draft Party days after the trade, Allen was introduced to a boisterous crowd of fans.
The Vikings won their first NFC North title since the realignment of the NFC Central in 2002 by winning 9 games in the last 12 games and capturing their first division title since 2000. For the first time since 2000, the Vikings hosted a playoff game.
It was Adrian Peterson’s first year as a Viking to lead the NFL in rushing with 1,760 yards rushing to set a team record. He broke the 100-yard barrier ten times during the season and became the fifth NFL player to rush for more than 3,000 yards in his first two seasons (3,101).
A RUSHING DEFENSE DYNASTY — For the first time since the 1970 merger, the Vikings have ranked No. 1 in the NFL against the run for three straight seasons. They gave up just 76.9 yards per game.
As one of the Vikings’ original stockholders and staunch supporters, Don McNeely passed away in March of 2009. McNeely was revered for his philanthropic efforts as well as his role in building the Vikings tradition. In addition to supporting the arts ardently, McNeely also gave large donations to St. John’s University, the Warner Nature Center, and the Como Conservatory.
ENSHRINED — G Randall McDaniel was inducted into the Hall of Fame on August 8, 2009. After being selected in 1988 as a first-round pick by the Vikings, McDaniel started 12 consecutive Pro Bowls (1989-2000), started 202 consecutive games, and missed only 2 games in his entire career.
On August 18, 2009, Brett Favre signed with the Vikings after being a long-time nemesis of his. With a passer rating of 107.2, Favre went on to have the best season of his career, throwing for 4,202 yards, 33 TDs, and 7 INTs, as well as setting the NFL record for consecutive games started, previously held by Vikings legend Jim Marshall.
The Vikings won back-to-back NFC North division titles for the first time since 1977-78 with a 12-4 record during the regular season.

As a rookie, Percy Harvin was named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year, Pro Football Weekly/PFWA Offensive Rookie of the Year, and Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year. He ranked as the NFL rookie with 60 receptions for 790 yards and shared the NFL rookie lead with 2,081 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns on kick returns. 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. Four members of the unit made their first Pro Bowl – Heath Farwell, Bryant McKinnie, Sidney Rice, and Percy Harvin. The team included Brett Favre, Steve Hutchinson, Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, and Antoine Winfield.
The Vikings played in the eighth NFC Championship game in franchise history in New Orleans to earn the right to play in Super Bowl XLIV. In regulation, the teams tied 28-28, forcing the game into overtime, where the Saints won 31-28 with a 40-yard field goal in the extra period.
Following a 14-year career, including 11 years as a Viking (1990-2000), DT John Randle was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 7, 2010. In his 11 Vikings seasons, he led or tied for the team lead in sacks nine times, making him the NFL Team of the Decade for the 1990s.
When Head Coach Brad Childress was replaced after 10 games in 2010, Defensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach Leslie Frazier took over as interim head coach. Frazier won his first game as interim head coach on 11/28/10 at Washington.
The 2010 season for the Minnesota Vikings came to a chaotic conclusion due to heavy snows and inclement weather. On December 12th, the Metrodome roof collapsed in the early hours of the morning, forcing both remaining home games to be relocated. The Vikings faced off against the New York Giants at Ford Field on December 13th and squared off with the Chicago Bears in a Monday Night Football match-up at TCF Bank Stadium on December 20th. The team also had a road game versus Philadelphia that was postponed due to adverse weather conditions from Sunday night, December 26th, to Tuesday night, December 28th.
Vikings legends reunited for a festive occasion, commemorating the 50th season of the franchise. As part of the celebration, the top 50 players in team history were unveiled before a rousing mid-game ceremony at TCF Bank Stadium on Monday Night Football against Chicago on December 20, 2010. The chilly yet fitting atmosphere marked 30 years to the date since the last outdoor home game at Met Stadium.
On Monday, January 3, 2011, the day following the 2010 regular season finale, Leslie Frazier was named the Head Coach after serving as Interim Head Coach for the final six games of the 2010 season. As a result of a weather-related collapse of the Metrodome, Frazier led the team through some trying times, winning three games in his interim role.
Defensive end Jared Allen broke the team’s sack record in 2011 and had one of the most productive seasons of his career. With 22.0 sacks, Allen broke Chris Doleman’s NFL record of 21.0 sacks in a season. He fell just .5 sacks short of Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record.

RICK SPIELMAN NAMED GENERAL MANAGER – Rick Spielman was named the Vikings’ General Manager on January 3, 2012. He previously served as the team’s Vice President of Player Personnel between 2006 and 2011.
A 15-year career that included 10 seasons with the Vikings led Chris Doleman to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 4, 2012. At the time of his retirement, his 150.5 sacks were ranked fourth all-time in the NFL.
STADIUM DEAL APPROVED— A bill for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium was approved by the Minnesota legislature in May 2012 and signed by Governor Mark Dayton. On the current Metrodome site, the new stadium will be constructed by the Vikings, the State of Minnesota, and the City of Minneapolis. The stadium site is expected to be broken ground in Spring 2013, and it is expected to be completed by the NFL season in 2016.
Adrian Peterson had an exceptional season, coming back from a devastating knee injury at end of 2012 to set the new record for the Vikings franchise and post the 2nd highest rushing season ever seen in NFL history with 2,097 yards. Peterson kicked off the season by breaking Robert Smith’s Vikings career rushing mark, and then earned himself Associated Press MVP title, AP Offensive Player of the Year award, 1st-Team All-Pro honor and Pro Bowl acknowledgement. Truly remarkable.
In 2013, the Vikings improved from a 3-13 mark in 2012 to go 10-6 and earn a Wild Card Playoff berth, the biggest single-season win improvement in team history.
WR Cris Carter was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 4, 2013. Carter was a four-time All-Pro and eight-time Pro Bowler during his 16-year NFL career.
On September 29, 2013, the Vikings played their first home regular season game outside of the United States at London’s Wembley Stadium in the International Series. They won 34-27 against Pittsburgh. Previously, the Vikings played a preseason game at Wembley in 1982 against the St. Louis Cardinals.
A ROOKIE CORDARRELLE PATTERSON SETS UNBREAKABLE RECORD — With his 109-yard touchdown against Green Bay on October 27, 2013, Cordarrelle Patterson tied an NFL record for the longest play in NFL history and set the record for longest KO return with just his 7th career game. The only other 109-yard play was in 2007 against the Vikings at Mall of America Field when Antonio Cormartie returned a Vikings missed kick for a touchdown 109 yards.
On December 3, 2013, Vikings ownership and management, state leaders and elected officials officially broke ground on the new stadium building project.’s fan voting selected a 27-member team and head coach of Vikings alumni who played most of their careers at Mall of America Field at HHH Metrodome.

FINAL GAME IN THE DOME – Following 32 years as home to the Vikings, Mall of America Field at HHH Metrodome played host to its final game in 2013. Minnesota defeated Detroit 14-13 to send the stadium out on a high note.
MIKE ZIMMER HIRED AS NINTH COACH IN TEAM HISTORY — The Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive coordinator was hired on January 15, 2014, becoming the ninth coach in Vikings’ history. With 20 years of NFL experience and a Super Bowl victory with Dallas, the veteran defensive coach brings a wealth of experience to Minnesota.
MINNESOTA AWARDED SUPER BOWL LII AT NEW STADIUM IN 2018 — Minnesota won the bid for Super Bowl LII when it was selected as the host community on May 20, 2014. Although the game will take place at the New Minnesota Stadium, the entire Twin Cities metropolitan area will also be
Provide accommodations for the week-long celebration.
A PRESEASON GAME vs. the Oakland Raiders on August 8, 2014 marked the Vikings’ return to outdoor football. While a new Minnesota Stadium is being constructed with completion scheduled in time for the 2016 season, the Vikings returned to playing outdoors for two seasons at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota. It was their first season playing outdoors since 1981 that the Vikings went 5-3.
On September 7, 2014, Head Coach Mike Zimmer won his first game in dominating fashion, defeating the St. Louis Rams 34-6.
The iconic new Minnesota Stadium has been selected to host the 2019 NCAA Men’s Final Four, scheduled for April 6-8, 2019. Minnesota won the high profile event after a multi-year bid process announced on November 14, 2014.
Outside the new Minnesota Stadium, the Vikings and the city of Minneapolis unveiled Bud Grant Way in his honor at an unveiling ceremony on December 1, 2014.
C Mick Tingelhoff was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 8, 2015. Over the course of his 17-year career, Tingelhoff played in 240 consecutive games without missing a match. In addition to being named to six consecutive Pro Bowls, Tingelhoff was a 7-time All-League selection. It will be the fourth time the Vikings will take part in the Hall of Fame Game as part of Tingelhoff’s enshrinement.
ZIMMER CAPTURES 1ST NFC NORTH TITLE — The Vikings won three straight games to end the regular season on Jan. 3, 2016, including a 20-13 win at Lambeau Field over the Packers. Minnesota’s first NFC North title and first playoff appearance since 2012 were secured by the road win.
RUSHING TITLE FOR ADRIAN PETERSON – For the third time in his career, Adrian Peterson led the NFL in rushing yards with 1,485 in 2015.
In the coldest game in franchise history, the Vikings defeated the Seattle Seahawks in the Wildcard Round on Jan. 10, 2016. During the last outdoor game in Minnesota, the temperature at kickoff was minus-6 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind chill was negative 25. There was a capacity crowd at TCF Bank Stadium.
The U.S. Bank Stadium opened its doors in July 2016 on the site of the Metrodome. The stadium hosted Luke Bryan and Metallica concerts as well as an international soccer match in August 2016.
The Vikings will host the San Diego Chargers in a preseason game on Aug. 28, 2016 and the Green Bay Packers in the first regular season game at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sept. 18, 2016.
NIFTY NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME BERTH — The Vikings overcame key injuries early in the season to notch a 13-3 regular season and advance to the NFC Championship Game, earning the second NFC North title and second playoff berth in head coach Mike Zimmer’s four seasons. First playoff game at U.S. Bank Stadium in NFC Divisional Round playoffs, Vikings hosted New Orleans.

SUPER BOWL LII HITS MINNESOTA — The state hosted Super Bowl LII for the second time since hosting Super Bowl XXVI at the Metrodome 26 years ago. Philadelphia defeated New England 41-33 to win the Lombardi Trophy. Pink sang the national anthem and Justin Timberlake performed at halftime.
A state-of-the-art TCO Performance Center has opened in Eagan as the new daily home of the Minnesota Vikings. On March 5, 2018, the facility opened for business and houses all football and business functions for the Minnesota Vikings. The facility features four outdoor practice fields, an indoor field and a TCO Stadium field.
On the first day of free agency, the Vikings signed coveted free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins to a blockbuster deal, luring him to Minnesota.
In my opinion, Kirk Cousins’ body of work is better than Jimmy Garoppolo’s small sample size
The Minnesota Vikings Museum opened as part of the TCO Performance Center complex, an interactive look at the team’s history.
VIKINGS TRAINING CAMP AT TCO PERFORMANCE CENTER — This was the first time the team held training camps at TCO Performance Center, after training camps at Bemidji (1961-65) and Mankato (1966-2017) on campus.
He ranks 2nd in team history in catches, yards, and receiving touchdowns. Moss earned 3 All-Pro and 5 Pro Bowl honors with the Vikings in 8 seasons.
On Oct. 24, 2019, at halftime of Thursday Night Football’s victory over Washington at U.S. Bank Stadium, TE Steve Jordan was inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor. Jordan went to six straight Pro Bowls during his career.
An unsettling offseason — The spring of 2020 was the most unsettling in the nation’s history due to the Coronavirus pandemic, which forced businesses to close, travel to cease, and social isolation. Vikings were unable to hold a normal offseason with players and coaches working on-site. The 2020 Draft was conducted remotely and offseason meetings were conducted via video conference.
The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the consequent protests against social injustice caused an increase in awareness around the world. The Minnesota Vikings, with guidance from their Social Justice Committee and support from ownership, decided to take on the emotional climate. Consequently, a $5 million donation from the Wilf family towards social justice initiatives was announced, as well as a scholarship named after Floyd for African American students embarking on higher education.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 8, 2020, but the ceremonies were postponed until 2021. In 2007, Hutchinson helped Adrian Peterson set an NFL record by rushing for 296 yards against San Diego. He was a seven-time AP All-Pro, was on the 2000’s Team of the Decade, and blocked for 1,000 yards in 11 of his 12 NFL seasons.
The COVID-19 pandemic altered the 2020 NFL offseason program, with meetings taking place virtually. As a result of the virus, the preseason was called off and U.S Bank Stadium was empty for the Vikings’ season opener against the Green Bay Packers. Fans were unable to see any of Minnesota’s home games in 2020, though limited crowds were present at certain away contests in Indianapolis, Houston, Tampa Bay and New Orleans – which drew 16,031 spectators – the highest number of the year.
The Vikings’ DT Kevin Williams was named to the Ring of Honor in 2021, making him just the third Vikings DT to do so in team history. A 1st-round pick in 2003 (#9 overall), Williams played 11 seasons with the Vikings, earning 6 Pro Bowl berths and 5 times was a 1st-Team Associated Press All-Pro.

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