Mandatory minicamps have come and gone, which means that now is a time of optimism for NFL fans. Each team is as undefeated, healthy and hopeful as they’ll be all year.
We decided to steer into those positive vibes and put together a list of the 5 best moments in Vikings history. Even for a franchise famous for being jinxed, there have been plenty of good moments over the 60+ years of existence and now is the perfect time to bask in those positives.
I used three parameters when looking at Vikings historical moments:
- What was the impact on Vikings history?
- What was the importance relative to the rest of the NFL?
- How happy did it make fans feel in that moment?
Now, before you go off about my lack of perspective, I will recognize my own bias. To help this list be the best possible, it was put together with input from three generations of Vikings fans. So, you can criticize this list all you want, but that one criticism is off the table. Let’s get started.
First, two honorable mentions:
Honorable Mention 1: Adrian Peterson Sets the Single Game Rushing Record (2007)
This record will likely never be broken due to the changing role of running backs in the NFL.
Honorable Mention 2: Alan Page Wins NFL MVP (1971)
In his 1971 season, Page become the first defensive player to win MVP. To date, only one other player has earned that feat and no other defensive lineman.
5: Vikings Upset 49ers at Candlestick Park (1987)
The 49ers of the ‘80s were Goliath and the 1987 Vikings were David. Coming into Candlestick Park as the last seed in the NFC and 11-point dogs, the Vikings shocked the nation by defeating NFL immortals Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Bill Walsh to advance to the NFC Championship Game. Anthony Carter tore through the NFL’s best defense, amassing a then playoff record 227 yards on 10 catches, and the Vikings defense held Rice to just one catch for 16 yards after he caught 22 TDs during the regular season. Walsh was quoted as saying this was the worst loss of his career. For Vikings fans this upset victory was not only an appreciated surprise after the strike shortened season, but a moment of triumph over an NFL giant in an otherwise forgettable era of Vikings football.
Vikings Playoff History – Win #12; 1/9/1988. Part 10. Every one of Anthony Carter's catches and all 227 yards receiving in the in the NFC Divisional Playoff vs the 49ers. Set a record at the time for most receiving yards in an NFL playoff game (eclipsed in 1998). #vikings pic.twitter.com/0fqb5veiM7
— VikeFans (@VikeFans) January 13, 2019
4: Vikings Win NFL Championship, Advance to Super Bowl IV (1969)
It’s easy to look at the Vikings’ 1969 season through brown-tinted glasses. Yes, the Vikings went on to be upset by the Chiefs in the Super Bowl in the first of many franchise disappointments. But before the loss, the 1969 Vikings became the first expansion team to win NFL Championship and advanced to the Super Bowl. The Vikings of the ‘60s were marred by mediocrity, but the 1969 team launched the franchise into an era of dominance. While 1969 Vikings are often forgotten compared to the Tarkenton-led teams, the Purple People Eaters of 1969 may have been the best of the bunch.
3: Randy Moss Cooks Cowboys on Thanksgiving (1998)
Prior to Thanksgiving 1998 game, the Vikings didn’t have much success to speak of against America’s Team. They had lost three games in a row and the Cowboys were fresh off their dynasty run which was partly fueled by fleecing the Vikings in a trade and that doesn’t even count the first “Hail Mary.” But in 1998, Vikings fans were treated to a changing narrative as Randy Moss put up an absurd stat line of 3 catches for 163 yards and 3 TDs in Dallas on national television. Not did this provide a healthy dose of schadenfreude for Vikings fans to enjoy, but the victory in Dallas legitimized the one-loss Vikings team as the true front runners in the NFL.
On this day 22 years ago, a rookie named Randy Moss cooked the Cowboys:
🦃 3 Rec
🦃 163 Yds
🦃 3 TDs
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 25, 2021
2: The Miracle at the Met (1980)
In Week 15, the Vikings needed a win over the Browns on a blistering cold day at Met Stadium to clinch the division and send the team to the playoffs. They responded by being outplayed for three quarters and being down 23-9 late in the fourth. But then the Vikings mounted a furious comeback. With 14 seconds left, the Vikings had the ball on their own 20 with no timeouts. They ran the same play twice: first to pick up 39 yards on a hook and lateral, then a Hail Mary to Ahmad Rashad, who caught a tipped pass with one hand in the end zone and sent the team to the playoffs with literally no time left in the season. Met Stadium erupted. The Miracle at the Met was featured by NFL Films as one of the 100 best plays in NFL history, but for fans that braved the 20-degree weather it would have to be one of the top sports moments they had experienced. And for almost 40 years, this was the unquestioned best moment in Vikings history.
1: The Minneapolis Miracle (2017)
It almost felt inevitable when Will Lutz kicked the field goal to take the lead with 25 seconds left. Of course, the Vikings had blown their “safe” halftime lead. Of course, the franchise would add another cruel, heartbreaking playoff loss to their resume. But to the delight of Vikings fans across the entire world, the script was flipped this time. When Diggs threw his helmet to the side and walked off the Saints, it exorcised years of playoff misery for fans. Darrin Nelson’s drop, Gary Anderson’s miss, 41-doughnut, Farve’s interception, Blair Walsh’s miss – for a moment, those could fade away and fans could instead feel what it was like to enjoy a stunning playoff victory. This is certainly the best moment in Vikings history – at least until a Lombardi Trophy comes along…