Minnesota Vikings

No team ever maintained a top position in its division for such a long time as the Minnesota Vikings: Since 1968, the Vikings reached the playoffs 23 times and the Super Bowl 4 times. However, the Vikings were not able to win any of the Super Bowl games and still wait for the first NFL title.

The history of professional American football in the “Twin Cities” began in August 1959, when a group of businessmen from Minneapolis and St. Paul participated in the founding of the American Football League (AFL). But when the group led by Bill Boyer was then offered a franchise in the NFL in January 1960, they decided to join the well-established league and left the emerging competition.

Perhaps no team in football history had such a spectacular debut in the NFL as the Minnesota Vikings: In their first ever game coach Norm Van Brocklin rookie brought put in Fran Tarkenton. And Tarkenton threw four touchdown passes in an amazing game and led his team to a 37:13 victory over the renowned Chicago Bears. Two and a half decades later, Tarkenton was the first Viking, who was elected into the Hall of Fame.

The Minnesota Vikings have relied on the support of their fans from the beginning: 85 percent of the capacity of their former stadium – the Minneapolis Metropolitan Stadium – was occupied by season tickets. However, the success did not adjust so quickly. 1964 General Manager Bert Rose left the team, followed coach Norm Van Brocklin in 1967. The Vikings successfully found a substitute in Canada: They contracted manager Jim Finks of the Calgary Stampeders and head coach Bud Grant from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. And with them the success came to Minnesota.

In the second season under Grant, the Minnesota Vikings won their division for the first time and in the next 12 years 10 other Division titles followed. Grant kept a tight rein on the team. For example, he didn’t allow his players to wear gloves, even in the coldest winter. But this strategy of Resilience paid off: When the Vikings played at home in the playoffs, they outplayed their opponents most of the time who could not cope with the harsh weather conditions in the North. In 1969 the Minnesota Vikings were able to win their first NFL title just before the merge of the NFL and AFL, in 1973, 1974 and 1976 they were able to win the NFC finals. However, they never managed to win the Super Bowl in 4 appearances that were all played in the warm South.

In 1982, the Minnesota Vikings moved to their new stadium, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. And the success followed them to their new home, even after the resignation of Bud Grant in 1985. His successor, Jerry Burns reached the playoffs three times in six years and Dennis Green, who led the Vikings in the 1990s, was even able to reach the playoffs eight times in ten years. However, the playoff participations didn’t result in another Super Bowl appearance: Inn 1987, 1998 and 2000 the Minnesota Vikings were not able to win the NFC Championship Game.

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