Fran Tarkenton 's career as a National Football League quarterback started with the fledgling Minnesota Vikings in , took him to the New York Giants in , and then back to the Vikings in In Minnesota's first game ever, the rookie from Georgia came off the bench to fire four touchdown passes and run for a fifth in a big upset of the Chicago Bears. For the next 18 seasons, the , pound field leader never let up in his relentless quest of yardage and touchdowns. At the time of his retirement, Fran owned every significant passing record — 3, pass completions, 47, passing yards, and touchdowns.
But particularly in his early years, Tarkenton attracted widespread attention as an exciting scrambler who took plays from sideline to sideline. Coach : Mike Zimmer Stadium : U. Bank Stadium Logo Present. Click here for pictures of the Minnesota Vikings. Coaches : Stadiums : 4. Metropolitan Stadium Hubert H. Bank Stadum Present. Hall of Famers : Retired Numbers : 6.
1. Fran Tarnkenton
Pro Bowl MVP : 5. Super Bowl MVP :. Click here for Chriscreamer. Historical Moments :. That Sunday afternoon the Vikings played their first game against the Chicago Bears a cornerstone franchise that was one of the NFL's original teams. However, it was the upstarts led by rookie Quarterback Fran Tarkenton, by passing for yards as the upstarts stunned the Bears However, the expansion Vikings would come back to earth losing their next seven games on the way to finishing in last place with a record.
1961 Minnesota Vikings Schedule & Results
Second year Quarterback Fran Tarkenton had a solid season despite 25 interceptions. However, the Vikings defense would get roll over at the tune of points on the season. In earning their first ever-winning season the Vikings finished in a tie for second Place with the Green Bay Packers. The Vikings would go on to win their final two games to finish with a record.
However the Vikings would still go on to finish in last place in the Central Division with a record. However, stormy weather would arise, as the Vikings would lose their next three games. The Vikings would recover by winning their next three games. After losing their next two games, the Vikings sat at In the Divisional Playoffs at Baltimore the Vikings trailed the Baltimore Colts before a 4th Quarter rally fell short in a loss.
Leading the way for the Vikings is a ferocious defense known as the Purple People Eaters that holds opponents to just points on the season. In the first playoff game ever at Metropolitan Stadium the Vikings found themselves in a hole trailing the Los Angeles Rams at halftime. By the start of the 4th Quarter they had cut the lead to , where the Vikings defense took over and claimed a victory.
A week later in the final NFL Championship Game before the merger, the Vikings dominated the Cleveland Browns all day before allowing a meaningless Touchdown late in the 4th Quarter in a convincing win. However early on it was clearly not the Vikings day as they fell behind at halftime. However the Chiefs would quickly answer with a long Touchdown pass that sealed the Vikings fate, as the Chiefs went on to a convincing victory. His replacement Gary Cuozzo would struggle all year only connecting on seven Touchdown passes.
However, the Vikings defense dominates again allowing just points as the Vikings win the NFC Central win an impressive record. However, the Vikings season would end quickly with a loss to the San Francisco 49ers at Metropolitan Stadium in the Divisional Playoffs. The Defense would need to be strong as the offense led by Quarterback Gary Cuozzo struggled and only managed to score points. However, their struggles would catch up with them in a loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional Playoffs at The Met.
Following the season the Vikings would reacquire original Quarterback Fran Tarkenton form the New York Giants for a couple of draft picks. Trailing the Vikings would score on four yard Fran Tarkenton bootleg, to avoid the shutout at In the Divisional Playoffs the Vikings would slaughter the St. Louis Cardinals by a score of in Minnesota. The first half was a complete defensive stale mate, as neither offense could muster anything. However, when QB Fran Tarkenton is sacked in the endzone the Steelers go to halftime with a lead. The Vikings would make a costly mistake when the second half began by fumbling the kick off which led to a Steelers Touchdown.
The Vikings would finally get on the board when Terry Brown fell on a blocked punt in the endzone. However the extra point was missed and the Vikings still could not get anything going, and would lose on Super Sunday for the third time by a score of In the Divisional Playoffs at Metropolitan Stadium the Vikings offense was firing on all cylinders in a convincing victory over the Washington Redskins. The Vikings squandered an early opportunity when Brent McClanahan fumbled at the goaline after Fred McNeill blocked and recovered a punt on the Raiders two yard line.
The fumble would end up becoming a back breaker as the Raiders scored 16 unanswered points in the 2nd Quarter, on the way to a convincing victory. Although the Vikings were the first team to play in four Super Bowls, the thought that they were never in any of the games while going would forever tarnish their reputation. In the Divisional Playoffs the Vikings would show they had a little left in the tank when they beat the Rams in Los Angeles.
However, a week later their season would come to a crashing end with a loss to the Cowboys in the NFC Championship game at Dallas.
However, the Vikings would come to earth with a loss to the Rams in Los Angeles in what would end up being Sir Francis' last game. Following the season Fran Tarkenton would retire ending a stellar career that saw him hold several key career passing record. Tarkenton's records would stand nearly 20 years, before being broken by Dan Marino in However, the Vikings would rally winning six of their next seven games, which was capped by a dramatic Hail Mary Touchdown pass from Tommy Kramer to Ahmad Rashad that beat the Cleveland Browns at The Met on the game's final play.
However their season would end quickly with a loss to the Eagles in Philadelphia in the Divisional Playoffs. However, the Vikings would lose their final five games to finish with a record. The losing streak included a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the final game at the Met on December 20th. Metropolitan Stadium would be torn down, and over it would be built the largest mall in the United States. Humphrey Metrodome in style with a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
However, their second game at the Metrodome ended up being delayed as the NFL endured a two month player's strike. When the players returned the Vikings continued to alternate wins and losses. However, by beating the Dallas Cowboys in the final game of the season at the Metrodome the Vikings were able to earn a home playoff game. However, their season would end a week later with a loss to the Redskins in Washington.
However, the Vikings would lose their next 6 games as their playoff hopes fizzled under a rash of injuries. The Vikings would win their final game against Cincinnati Bengals at the Metrodome. Following the season Coach Bud grant would retire, he would be replace by Les Steckel.
Following the season the Vikings would coax Bud Grant out of retirement as he reassumed his coaching duties from Steckel. However, the Vikings would only play mediocre football over the next 9 weeks as they stood on the fringe of the Playoff chase with a record. However, the Vikings would run out of gas losing their final three games including a shootout to the Philadelphia Eagles at the Metrodome in their final game.
Following the season Coach Bud Grant would retire again, this time it would be permanently. Under Burns the Vikings get off to a solid start winning five of their first seven games. However, the Vikings playoff hopes are spoiled by a stretch in which they won just once in five games. The Vikings would recover by winning three of their last four games to finish with a record.
However, a player's strike disrupts the Vikings momentum as the Vikings replacements lose all three games. When the regulars returned they continued to play strong football winning four out of five games to find themselves in the thick of the playoff chase. The Vikings would go on to make the playoffs for the first time in five years with an record, despite losses in three of their last four games. However, the Vikings would fire on cylinders in a romp of the Saints.
The game was close throughout as the Redskins took a lead late in the 4th Quarter. The Vikings would not quit as they drove down to the Redskins six yard line. However, the Vikings would fail to get the ball in the endzone as their Championship hopes died. However a week later their season is ended in San Francisco as the 49ers get revenge with a convincing win over the Vikings in the Divisional Playoffs. The Vikings would win three of their first four games with Walker, on the way to winning their first NFC Central title in nine years with a record.
However, their season would end quickly with a loss to the 49ers in San Francisco during the Divisional Playoffs. The Vikings would bounce back and make a run by winning five straight games to even their record at However, the Vikings early season struggles would pop up again in a devastating season ending four game losing streak that dropped them into last place with a disappointing record. Walker would be released following the season, failing to reach 1, yards rushing in each of his two full seasons in Minnesota.
The trade would end up being a big bust for the Vikings as the Dallas Cowboys used the draft picks to build a team that won three Super Bowls. In addition to the release of Walker, Coach Jerry Burns called it a career after over 20 years with the organization. Playing without a first round bye the Vikings faced the sixth seeded Washington Redskins in the Wild Card round at the Metrodome. The Vikings never even seemed in the game losing by a score of to the defending Super Bowl Champions. However, their season would end quickly with a loss to the Giants in New York.
Following the season the Vikings would pull off a blockbuster deal acquiring Quarterback Warren Moon from the Houston Oilers. However, a midseason three game losing streak threatened to derail their playoff hopes. The Vikings would recover to win three of their final four games to clinch the NFC Central with a record, as Moon passes for 4, yards. Once again the Vikings would fail in the postseason losing right away for the third year in a row by a score of at the Metrodome. However, Johnson too would get hurt and the Vikings would struggle even after the return of Moon.
However, by winning three of their final four games the Vikings would sneak into the playoffs with a record. However, a five game losing streak would put their playoff hopes in jeopardy as rumors of Coach Dennis Green's firing began to fly around. Despite the slump the Vikings would still make the playoffs by beating the Indianapolis Colts in the final game of the season at the Metrodome.
In the Wild Card Round the Vikings faced another first round exit trailing the Giants late in the 4th Quarter by a score on a snowy day at the Meadowlands. Facing 4th Down and long the Vikings appeared to be giving up when the punted. However, the Vikings defense would get the ball back quickly and would take advantage of a poor punt by the Giants to score on a Johnson to Jake Reed Touchdown pass.
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With hope still dwindling the Vikings recovered an on-side kick, and would connect on Eddie Murray Field Goal to stun the Giants by a score of However, a week later the Vikings season would end with a loss to the 49ers in San Francisco. In the draft the Vikings would select troubled Wide Receiver Randy Moss, after several teams passed on him.
Moss would combine with established star Cris Carter and become the most potent receiving combo in the NFL. Moss would become an instant sensation winning the Offensive Rookie f the year while racking up 1, yards and 17 Touchdowns, as the Vikings won the NFC Central by posting a franchise best record of Leading late in the 4th Quarter the Vikings seemed set to seal the game, but Kicker Gary Anderson missed his first field goal all year, as the Falcons forced overtime.
Receivers Randy Moss and Cris Carter continued to burn NFL secondaries combining for 2, yards and 24 Touchdown catches, as the Vikings finished with a solid record, which was good enough for a Wild Card berth. In the Wild Card Game at the Metrodome it was the running of Robert Smith that won the day as the Vikings rushed collected yards in a convincing win over the Dallas Cowboys. However, a week later the Vikings would lose the Rams in a battle of super passing offenses at St. Culpepper would have a stellar season passing for 3, yards as Vikings won their first seven games, on the way to an start.
The Vikings would struggle down the stretch losing their final three games to finish with an record. The Vikings would lose Home Field, but would still hold on to a precious playoff bye. However, in the NFC Championship Game in New York against the Giants the Vikings were knocked out quickly trailing after just a few minutes into the game, as the Giants white washed the Vikings by a score of The loss would see several players bickering at each other, pointing fingers for the late collapse. In addition Running Back Robert Smith who rushed 1, suddenly retired after a knee injury in the playoffs.
Things would only get worse as tragedy struck during record-breaking heat in Minnesota. Korey Stringer who always seemed to have problems wit heat continued to work out despite feelings of sickness. The heat would get to Stringer as his body temperatures exceed degrees killing the Vikings All-Pro Tackle. When the season started it seemed the Vikings still had not recovered losing three of their first four games.
The Vikings would continue to struggle through out the season quickly falling out of the playoff race, as the team bickered constantly on the sidelines. Things would only get worse as it seemed every player wanted out of Minnesota. In the midst of a season ending four game losing streak Coach Dennis Green is fired prior to the final game, as the Vikings finish with a record. Following the season Mike Tice who led the Vikings in the season finale was named the new head coach, as Wide Receiver Cris Carter retired after the frustrating season.
The Vikings struggles would continue through out most of the season as Quarterback Daunte Culpepper struggled all season with turnovers, as the Vikings entered the final 3 weeks of the season with a dreadful record. However, the Vikings would finish the season on a strong note winning their final three games to post a record, along the way the Vikings spoiled the playoff chances of the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins. However, the Vikings season hit rough waters as they lost to the New York Giants at home The loss to the Giants, who would end up with a league worst record would trigger a four game losing streak which included losses to the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders who would also post a record.
After ending their losing streak with win at home over the Detroit Lions the Vikings were humiliated by the St. Louis Rams , as they saw their once seemingly insurmountable lead for first place completely vanish at After beating the playoff bound Seattle Seahawks in Week 14 the Vikings suffered another costly loss as they were stunned by the Chicago Bears Despite the struggles all the Vikings needed to do was win their final two games to win the NFC North.
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The Vikings got it started in style with an impressive win over the Kansas City Chiefs at home, which left them needing just to beat the lowly Arizona Cardinals in the final game of the season to sew up the division title. After a shaky first half, which saw the Vikings trailing the Vikings appeared driving for the playoffs as they seemingly broke the game open with 10 points in the 4th Quarter to hold a lead in the final minutes. With two minutes left the Cardinals cut the lead to missing a two point conversion attempt, but with just 1 timeout all the Vikings had to do was recover the onside kick to run out the clock.
However the Vikings special teams failed to come up with the ball as the Vikings season stood on the brink. Down the field the Cardinals drove getting to the Vikings nine yard line. There the Vikings defense toughened up sacking Cardinals QB on two straight plays turning a 2nd Down and 6 from the nine yard line to a 4th and 25 form the 28 with just seconds left.
On the final snap of the season McNown was not pressured as he threw up a prayer to Nathanial Poole in the endzone some how the ball got past Denard Walker and Brian Russell, as Poole was able to maintain possession before being pushed out of bounds for a touchdown a stunning, that brought instant heartbreak to the Vikings ending their season at without the playoffs. However a hamstring injury would leave the Vikings without Randy Moss for a month as the Vikings were hamstrung losing their next three games, including a heartbreaking loss to the Green Bay Packers on the final play.
Sitting at the Vikings were in solid position to make the playoffs and challenged for the NFC North, when they went into another tailspin losing four of their final five games including another heartbreaking final second loss to the Packers. The end of the season slump saw the Vikings fall to , but it did not see them fall out of the playoffs as they backed in thanks to some fortunate tiebreakers. The playoff berth gave the Vikings a third chance to beat the Packers, and third time would be a charm as the Vikings jumped out to a lead in the 1st Quarter and never looked back stunning the Packers in Lambeau Field , while Randy Moss rubbed it in by pretending to moon Packers fans after a Touchdown.
In the next round things would not be as easy for the Vikings as they fell behind the Philadelphia Eagles early losing Following the season while the Vikings were being sold to a new ownership group, the front office fed up with some of Wide Receiver Randy Moss's antics on and off the field decided to trade their star to the Oakland Raiders for Linebacker Napoleon Harris and a pair of draft picks.
When the season started it was clear Daunte Culpepper missed Randy Moss, as the star Quarterback who finished second in MVP voting a year earlier embarked on the worst season of his career as the Vikings stumbled out of the gate with a start with Culpepper throwing just six Touchdown passes against 12 interceptions before his season was ended with a major knee injury.
Off the field the Vikings created more embarrassment for themselves when several players were charged with lewdness following an orgy on charter boat with exotic dancers and escorts. However, just as it seemed the ship was sinking, the Vikings started to play better under back up QB Brad Johnson, winning six in a row. However, reality struck hard in December as the Vikings were shut down by the eventual Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers , a week later they would fall again to the Baltimore Ravens ending any hope of making the playoffs.
The Vikings would go on to win their final game against the Chicago Bears to finish with a record. However, it would not be enough to save Mike Tice's job as he was fired at the end of the season and replaced by Brad Childress, while the Vikings decided to trade Daunte Culpepper to the Miami Dolphins after he refused to restructure his contract.
After losing their next two games the Vikings needed 23 unanswered points in the 4th Quarter to beat the Detroit Lions A week later there would be no need for a comeback as they stunned the defending NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks on the road, ending the Seahawks game winning streak at home. At the Vikings appeared to be in good shape, but soon the roof would cave in as they would win just two games the rest of the season, as Quarterback Brad Johnson struggled as was eventually replaced by rookie Tarvaris Jackson, while Chester Taylor has a solid season at Running Back, the Vikings offense sputtered most of the season as they finished in third Place with a disappointing record.
Peterson would come out of the gate smoking as he rushed for over yards in three of his first four games. However, with the continued struggles of Quarterback Tavaris Jackson the Vikings got off to a start. After a bye week, Peterson demonstrated just how dominate he could be, as he shredded the Chicago Bears defense for yards, with three touchdowns as the Vikings beat the Bears on the road After struggling against the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, with Peterson failing to top yards the Vikings found themselves at , with back up Brooks Bollinger playing in place of Tavaris Jackson who was out with broken finger, the Vikings found themselves matched up against the San Diego Chargers needing desperately to get back on track.
Thanks to Adrian Peterson they were able to do that and more as the Vikings star rookie had a history making game rushing for a NFL record yards as the Vikings beat the Chargers Jackson would regain the starting spot, but the Vikings would suffer a setback the following week as Peterson suffered a sprained knee and is held to 45 yards as the Vikings are blanked by the Green Bay Packers Thanks to Chester Taylor the Vikings would not fade away as they beat the Oakland Raiders in Week 11, with Taylor collecting all-purpose yards, with three Touchdowns.
A week later on the road in the Meadowlands it would be the Vikings defense that would save the day as the Vikings picked off four passes from Eli Manning, returning three for touchdowns, as the Vikings hammered the New York Giants The Vikings would return home a week later, as Adrian Peterson returned to the lineup rushing for yards with two touchdowns as the Vikings reached the.
The Vikings would stay hot in the next two games moving into playoff position as they extended their winning streak to five games with wins over San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears. However, with a chance to lock up a playoff berth the Vikings would suffer a costly loss to the Washington Redskins in Week 16, losing at homer as Peterson was held to 27 yards rushing.
The Vikings would go on to lose their final game of the season a week later to the Denver Broncos in overtime as they finished the season with an record missing the playoffs for the third straight season. With Gus Frerotte taking over at Quarterback from Tavaris Jackson the Vikings got things turned around winning six of their next eight games, including a win over the Green Bay Packers in Week 10, as Adrian Peterson rushed for yards. Peterson was just as strong in his second season, leading the league with 1, yards rushing, while scoring ten touchdowns.
An injury to Gus Frerotte, would give Tavaris Jackson another chance to lead the Vikings as they battled for the playoffs. Jackson, who struggled in the first few games of the season played considerably better after being given a second chance leading the Vikings to wins in his first two games back under center.
Jackson continued to play well as the Vikings had a chance to clinch the NFC North in the next to last game of the season. However, a loss to the Atlanta Falcons dropped their record to , and put them on the playoff bubble entering the final week of the season. Trailing the New York Giants most of the day, the Vikings rallied in the 4th Quarter, as the reigning Super Bowl Champions rested their players in the second half. Down early in the final quarter, the Vikings rallied with Jackson hitting Bernard Berrian on a yard touchdown pass to get back into the game.
With five seconds left the Vikings would kick themselves into the playoffs as Ryan Longwell nailed a yard field goal to deliver the Vikings a win that enabled them to win the NFC North with a record. However, in the playoffs the Vikings would come up against a hot Philadelphia Eagles team losing , despite two touchdown runs from Adrian Peterson, as QB Tavaris Jackson struggled again, with a back breaking interception returned 44 yards by Asante Samuel for a touchdown.
While the move angered many Green Bay Packer fans in gave the Vikings a chance to root for the Quarterback who tormented them for many seasons. After winning their first two games on the road, the fans at the Metrodome were treated to some Favre magic hitting Greg Lewis on a yard touchdown pass with two seconds left to beat the San Francisco 49ers A week later Favre was the story again, passing for yards, with three touchdowns as he tormented the Packers in a win at the Metrodome, as the Vikings won their first six games. The Vikings streak would come to an end in Week 7, as they were beaten on the road by the Pittsburgh Steelers , as Brett Favre had two turnovers that led directly to touchdowns for the Steelers in the 4th Quarter.
Than with one minute left Keyaron Fox returned an interception 82 yards for TD to seal the game for the Steelers. A week later, Brett Favre bounced back in a big way with four touchdown passes in his return to Lambeau Field, as the Vikings entered the bye week with a record, after beating the Packers for the second time Out of the bye, the Vikings continued to roll, winning three straight games. During a Sunday Night loss on the road to the Arizona Cardinals, the Vikings suffered a key loss on defense as E.
Henderson suffered a broken leg that would sideline in the Linebacker for the remainder of the season.
The Vikings would recover to beat the Cincinnati Bengals to wrap up the division title. However, after back to back losses they needed to finish strong against the New York Giants to assure themselves a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Powered by 24 points in the 2nd Quarter the Vikings offense was clicking on all cylinders as they ended the regular season with a win to finish with a record. Despite their record and playing at home, many thought the Vikings would have problems with the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. However, the Vikings defense played on of its best games of the season, sacking Cowboys QB Tony Romo, while forcing three turnovers.
On offense it was all Brett Favre, as the future Hall of Famer had one of his best games ever passing for yards with four Touchdown passes as the Vikings advanced to the NFC Championship Game with a win. Facing the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome, the Vikings dominated the game the field position game as they gained total yards compared to yards for the Saints. However, six fumbles three of which were lost plus a Brett Favre interception allowed the Saints to stay in the game.
With the score tied late in the 4th Quarter the Vikings appeared to be driving to the Super Bowl, when a battered Brett Favre made another critical error. Flushed out of the pocket Favre who was hampered by a leg injury suffered by several hard hits he received during the game could have run the ball for a first down into field goal range.
Instead he tried to force the ball down the field and was picked off by Tracy Porter at the Saints 22 yard line. In overtime the Vikings would never touch the ball as the Saints advanced the ball aided by two controversial penalties on the Vikings secondary to set up Garrett Hartley for a game winning 40 yard field goal.
That sent the Saints to the Super Bowl with a win. The Vikings would be short one key receiver as Sidney Rice was out with hip surgery. Defense would be the story of the opener, as the Saints won A week later in the home opener, the Vikings would experience more frustration as Brett Favre would struggle again, turning the ball over four times as the Dolphins defense held the Vikings out of the endzone late in the 4th Quarter to preserve a win.
The Vikings would earn their first win a week later as they beat the Detroit Lions , Adrian Peterson having a big day with yards rushing and two touchdowns. Moss would score a touchdown in his first game, as Brett Favre threw his th touchdown and surpassed 70, passing yards. In a desperation must win against the Dallas Cowboys, the Vikings to with a win as Percy Harvin's 95 yard kickoff return proved to be the difference maker. The next two weeks would not go as smoothly as the Vikings suffered losses at the hands of the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots.
Ownership was unhappy with Childress' decision to cut Moss, and expressed they thought about firing Childress. Despite the turmoil, Brett Favre would pass for yards as the Vikings scored two late touchdowns to force overtime, where they would beat the Arizona Cardinals on a 35 yard Field Goal by Ryan Longwell. In Frazier's debut the Vikings defense delivered a big performance as the Vikings earned a win on the road against the Washington Redskins. A week later the Vikings would see Brett Favre suffer an ankle injury as he was picked off by Drayton Florence who gave the Buffalo Bills an early lead at the Metrodome.
Backup Tavaris Jackson would come on and lead the Vikings to 24 points in the 2nd Quarter as the purple gang won their second straight for Leslie Frazier However a week later the roof would cave in on the Vikings. A heavy snowstorm would cause the Teflon roof at the Metrodome to cave in several hours before the Vikings were to host the New York Giants. The game would be moved to Detroit and played on Monday Night, but Favre was unable to answer the bell as lingering pain with his ankle had forced an end to Brett Favre's streak of consecutive games that began in