Since their establishment in 1961, the Minnesota Vikings have had a storied history filled with moments of triumph, heartbreak, and excitement.
Throughout the years, the Vikings have seen their fair share of playoff appearances, making lasting memories for their dedicated fan base.
This article takes a journey through the top 10 unforgettable playoff moments in the history of the Minnesota Vikings.
Criteria for Ranking the Top 10 Moments
In compiling this countdown, we considered several factors, including the historical significance of the moment, the impact on the team’s playoff run, and the emotions evoked by the fans.
Let’s dive into the world of the Vikings and relive these unforgettable moments.
Moment 10: The Minneapolis Miracle
In the 2017 NFC Divisional Game, the Minnesota Vikings faced off against the New Orleans Saints in a dramatic and unforgettable contest.
With only seconds remaining, the Vikings pulled off an improbable victory that would be forever known as the Minneapolis Miracle.
The Game-Winning Play: Keenum to Diggs
Quarterback Case Keenum connected with wide receiver Stefon Diggs for a stunning 61-yard touchdown pass, clinching the game and etching their names in Vikings’ history.
The Minneapolis Miracle demonstrated the never-give-up attitude that has come to define the Minnesota Vikings.
Quarterback Case Keenum found wide receiver Stefon Diggs for a stunning 61-yard touchdown pass that clinched the game for the Vikings.
Significance in Vikings’ History
The Minneapolis Miracle, as it’s now known, will forever be etched in the minds of Vikings fans. The improbable victory sent the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game, marking a significant moment in the team’s history.
Moment 9: Gary Anderson’s Missed Field Goal in 1998
In the 1998 NFC Championship Game against the Atlanta Falcons, the Vikings had a seemingly unstoppable team led by quarterback Randall Cunningham and wide receiver Randy Moss.
However, one missed field goal would change the course of history for the team.
Gary Anderson’s Perfect Season
Despite having a perfect season, making every field goal and extra point attempt, Anderson’s crucial 38-yard miss in the NFC Championship Game allowed the Falcons to make a comeback, sealing a heartbreaking loss for the Vikings and their fans.
The Missed Field Goal
Kicker Gary Anderson had a perfect season, making every field goal and extra point attempt during the regular season.
With the Vikings up by seven points late in the game, Anderson missed a crucial 38-yard field goal, ultimately leading to the Falcons’ comeback and an overtime victory.
Impact on the Vikings’ Playoff Run
Anderson’s missed field goal became a turning point in the game, and the Vikings were unable to recover. The devastating loss prevented the Vikings from reaching the Super Bowl, and the moment still haunts fans to this day.
Moment 8: Adrian Peterson’s Record-Breaking Performance in 2012
In the 2012 Wild Card Game against the Green Bay Packers, the Vikings were powered by the incredible performance of their star running back, Adrian Peterson.
Adrian Peterson’s Record-Breaking Season
Coming off a season in which he fell just short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record, Peterson continued his dominance in the playoffs, rushing for 99 yards and reminding fans of his unmatched talent and determination.
Wild Card Game Performance
Coming off a season in which he fell just eight yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record, Peterson continued his dominance in the playoffs.
He rushed for 99 yards in the Wild Card Game, propelling the Vikings to a competitive matchup against their division rivals.
The Importance for Vikings’ Fans
Though the Vikings ultimately fell to the Packers in the Wild Card Game, Peterson’s remarkable performance remains a memorable moment for fans.
His resilience and determination throughout the season will forever be remembered in the hearts of Vikings fans.
Moment 7: The 2000 NFC Championship Game
With a powerful offense led by quarterback Daunte Culpepper and wide receiver Randy Moss, the Minnesota Vikings stormed into the 2000 NFC Championship Game against the New York Giants.
Vikings vs. Giants
The Giants dominated the game from start to finish, crushing the Vikings 41-0 and ending their Super Bowl dreams. Though painful, the game remains an unforgettable part of the Vikings’ playoff history.
Key Plays and Turning Points
Unfortunately for the Vikings, the game quickly turned into a lopsided affair. The Giants dominated the game from start to finish, crushing the Vikings 41-0.
Lasting Impact on the Franchise
Despite the crushing defeat, the 2000 NFC Championship Game remains an unforgettable moment in the Vikings’ history, serving as a reminder of the highs and lows that come with the pursuit of the ultimate prize in the NFL.
Moment 6: The 2009 Brett Favre Miracle Pass
In the 2009 NFC Divisional Game, the Minnesota Vikings faced off against the Dallas Cowboys. The Vikings, led by legendary quarterback Brett Favre, were determined to make a deep playoff run.
Brett Favre’s Impact on the Vikings
Favre, who joined the Vikings after a lengthy career with the Green Bay Packers, brought a wealth of experience and leadership to the team. His presence made an immediate impact on the Vikings’ playoff aspirations.
The Miracle Pass to Sidney Rice
During the game, Favre connected with wide receiver Sidney Rice for a stunning 47-yard touchdown pass. The play demonstrated Favre’s incredible arm strength and precision, ultimately leading the Vikings to a 34-3 victory over the Cowboys.
Significance for Vikings’ Playoff History
The miracle pass to Sidney Rice remains a cherished moment in the Vikings’ history.
Favre’s performance in the 2009 playoffs brought excitement and hope to the team and its fans, even though the Vikings eventually fell short in the NFC Championship Game against the New Orleans Saints.
Moment 5: The 1987 “Mud Bowl”
The Minnesota Vikings faced the Washington Redskins in the 1987 NFC Championship Game, which took place in a muddy quagmire at RFK Stadium.
The Unforgettable Playing Conditions
Heavy rain turned the field into a muddy mess, creating challenging playing conditions for both teams. The game became known as the “Mud Bowl” due to the sloppy conditions on the field.
Key Plays and Turning Points
Despite the difficult conditions, the Vikings managed to keep the game close. However, a missed field goal attempt by kicker Chuck Nelson in the final minutes sealed the Vikings’ fate, resulting in a 17-10 loss to the Redskins.
Legacy of the Mud Bowl
The Mud Bowl remains an unforgettable moment in the Vikings’ history. The game showcased the Vikings’ resilience and determination, despite the heartbreaking outcome.
Moment 4: The 1976 Super Bowl Run
The Minnesota Vikings faced the Los Angeles Rams in the 1976 NFC Championship Game. Led by legendary coach Bud Grant and Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton, the Vikings aimed to make their fourth Super Bowl appearance.
The Vikings’ Road to the Super Bowl
Minnesota’s dominant defense and explosive offense carried the team through the regular season and into the playoffs. The Vikings’ hard-fought 24-13 victory over the Rams in the NFC Championship Game secured their spot in Super Bowl XI.
Key Players and Moments
Quarterback Fran Tarkenton orchestrated the Vikings’ offense masterfully, while the “Purple People Eaters” defense, led by players such as Alan Page and Carl Eller, terrorized opposing teams throughout the season.
Impact on Vikings’ History
Although the Vikings would ultimately fall to the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XI, the 1976 season remains a defining moment in the team’s history. The Super Bowl run showcased the talent and determination of a legendary roster, inspiring generations of Vikings fans.
Moment 3: The 1969 NFL Championship Game
In just their ninth season, the Minnesota Vikings claimed their first-ever championship title by winning the 1969 NFL Championship Game against the Cleveland Browns.
Vikings vs. Browns
With a strong defensive performance and an efficient offense, the Vikings dismantled the Browns 27-7, cementing their status as one of the league’s elite teams.
Memorable Plays and Players
Key players such as quarterback Joe Kapp, defensive tackle Alan Page, and defensive end Carl Eller made crucial contributions during the game, demonstrating the depth and talent of the Vikings’ roster.
Legacy of the 1969 Championship
The 1969 NFL Championship Game marked the beginning of a successful era for the Vikings. The victory solidified the team’s reputation as a powerhouse and laid the foundation for future playoff success.
Moment 2: The 1974 “Hail Mary” Playoff Victory
In the 1974 NFC Divisional Game, the Minnesota Vikings faced a formidable opponent in the St. Louis Cardinals. The game would be decided by an iconic last-second play.
The Iconic Hail Mary Pass
With only seconds remaining on the clock, Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton launched a desperate Hail Mary pass toward the end zone.
Wide receiver Jim Lash managed to tip the ball into the waiting arms of teammate Sammy White, who secured the game-winning touchdown for the Vikings.
Importance in Vikings’ Playoff Lore
The 1974 Hail Mary playoff victory remains one of the most memorable moments in the Vikings’ history. The thrilling, last-second win is a testament to the never-say-die attitude that has defined the team throughout its history.
Moment 1: The 1969 Playoff Victory Over the Rams
The 1969 Western Conference Championship pitted the Minnesota Vikings against the Los Angeles Rams in a battle of titans. The Vikings were determined to prove their dominance and secure a spot in the NFL Championship Game.
Vikings vs. Rams: The Battle of Titans
In a fiercely contested game, the Vikings’ defense managed to stifle the Rams’ high-powered offense, ultimately securing a 23-20 victory for Minnesota.
Memorable Plays and Key Players
Defensive stars like Alan Page and Carl Eller made crucial plays throughout the game, while quarterback Joe Kapp led the offense with poise and determination.
Kicker Fred Cox also played a pivotal role, converting three crucial field goals to keep the Vikings ahead.
The Significance of the Victory in Vikings’ History
The 1969 playoff victory over the Rams marked the beginning of a golden era for the Minnesota Vikings.
The win not only propelled the team to the NFL Championship Game but also established the Vikings as a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
From last-second miracles to heart-wrenching defeats, the Minnesota Vikings’ playoff history is filled with unforgettable moments.
These events have left an indelible mark on the team’s legacy and have shaped the passion and dedication of Vikings fans everywhere.
As the Minnesota Vikings continue to compete at the highest level, fans can look forward to more thrilling playoff moments in the years to come.
The rich history of the franchise serves as a reminder of the excitement and drama that the NFL playoffs have to offer.