Being a Vikings fan is a rollercoaster that often ends at disappointment. Despite a franchise history that dates back to 1961, they are among the twelve teams who have never won the Lombardi Trophy at the Super Bowl. Could things be different this season after quarterback Kirk Cousins began donning multiple diamond chains from his teammates after their victories, or when the Vikings earned the biggest comeback in NFL history? With the playoffs looming this year, we look back at the last times we got our hopes up for a Minnesota miracle.
Gary Anderson’s Missed Field Goal
Remember Gary Anderson’s missed field goal in the 1998 playoffs? After a record-breaking year for the Vikings, who went 15-1 in games won, Anderson’s field goal fluke cost them a chance at the Super Bowl. What’s worse—Anderson didn’t miss a goal for the entire season, having made 46 of them consecutively. After missing his first kick of the season, the Atlanta Falcons caught up in overtime (ironically their kicker, was also an Andersen), and he clinched their win.
2000 NFC Championships
It’s hard to come so close only to lose so hard. In the NFC Championship game against the Eagles, the Vikings lost 41-0, after winning 11 games that season. With a team sent by the gods, including Daunte Culpepper, Robert Smith, and Randy Moss, they were the favorite to win the Superbowl against the Giants. Oh well.
Does the name Brett Favre ring a bell? He was the Vikings Quarterback for two seasons, leading to an NFC championship game against the Saints. Hailed as one of the best quarterbacks of all time, Favre surely could bring the Vikings a win. Instead, he threw an interception into Saints territory and they stole the game by just three points. Later, the Saints were punished for putting a bounty on Favre during the game, awarding $10,000 to anyone that could knock him out. After being battered, he retired after another season with the Vikings, and despite his impressive QB track record, he ended his career as a fallen hero.
Herschel Walker Trade
Here’s a topical one. Some of us know Herschel Walker as the Senate candidate who lost to Raphael Warnock in Georgia’s runoff elections, some of us know him as Herschel Walker from the Cowboys. In 1989, Walker was peaking in his career as a running back, and the Vikings traded an arm and a leg to get him. But just like his political career, Walker took some big L’s, giving Minnesota nearly nothing. The trade is talked about as one of the worst deals of all time, and it hurt the Vikings and helped the Cowboys for years to come.
Something unheard of for the present-day Vikings happened during the 70s. They made it to the Super Bowl in four separate years (1970, 1974, 1975 and 1977), but lost each game. Hall of Famer Bud Grant was the coach during this time, and gave the Vikings some of their best seasons, but 1977 would be the last time the Vikings played a Super Bowl, losing 32-14. Grant retired in 1985, never having won a Super Bowl.
The Minneapolis Miracle of 2018
It sounds like a movie, doesn’t it? It essentially was, complete with heroes, villains, and a last second Hail Mary that would advance the Vikings to the NFC Championship. The Vikings were down 24-23 against the Saints (no one would ever really forget the whole bounty thing) and there were 10 seconds left in the game. Suddenly, a pass to Stefon Diggs gave Vikings fans fleeting hope, he catches it and runs it into the end zone with no time to spare. In a shocking twist, the Vikings win, thanks to Diggs. In September of 2022, the Minneapolis Miracle was voted the 9th best play in NFL history.
The Biggest Comeback in NFL History
2022 has been quite the season for the Vikings, as they’ve broken records and played their hearts out. The Vikings’ comeback against the Colts this year is one of the most defining moments in football, breaking the record for biggest comeback in NFL history. In the first half of the game they were down 33 points, but a flip switched during half time, and they clawed their way back into the game. In overtime, kicker Greg Joseph made a field goal, handing the Vikings the win. As Vikings fans, sometimes we turn off the TV to avoid heartbreak, but with comebacks like this one, keeping it on might not be the worst idea.
Adrian Peterson’s Rush Record
Back in 2007, when Adrian Peterson was in his rookie days, he proved himself with a record-setting game. Playing against the San Diego Chargers, Peterson rushed 296 yards, scoring three touchdowns and giving the Vikings a win. That day, Peterson set the record for a single game rush, breaking the previous record set in 2003. Still to this day, no one has beat it.
Randy Moss vs. the Cowboys
During this 1998 Thanksgiving game, it wasn’t just the Vikings playing against the Cowboys, it was Randy Moss playing against the Cowboys. Moss was a rookie wide receiver with a vendetta against the Dallas team. They had passed on him during the draft, despite rumors that he would be the eighth round pick, they chose Greg Ellis. During the game, Moss caught just three passes, but each would be over 50 yards and lead to a touchdown. The Vikings won 46-36, something to be thankful for.
Justin Jefferson is the moment of the game. He’s the one that got away, for everyone except the Vikings. In 2020, the young wide receiver was the 22nd overall pick, going to Minnesota. He had a breakout career start, shattering the NFL record for most receiving yards in the first three seasons, which was previously set by Randy Moss (Skol!). It’s fair to say that Justin Jefferson is a huge driving force behind this magical Vikes season.