Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Minnesota Vikings are a National Football League team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota along with fellow major pro sports franchises Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Wild (actually in neighboring St. Paul), and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Nicknames for the team are Purple People Eaters and The Norse Force. Red McCombs is the team's current owner, although an agreement was made in February 2005 where the team will be sold to Reggie Fowler (subject to approval). Mike Tice is currently the team's head coach.
- Founded: 1961 (NFL expansion)
- Division and Conference: National Football Conference North Division
- Home field: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis
- Previous home field: Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington (1961-1981)
- Uniform colors: Purple and Gold (or White, Purple and Gold)
- Helmet design: Purple with a white viking horn
- League championships won: NFL 1969
- Super Bowl appearances: IV (lost), VIII (lost), IX (lost), XI (lost)
- Division Championships: NFL Central 1968, 1969 NFC Central 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1989, 1992, 1994, 1998, 2000
The pro football saga in the Twin Cities began in August 1959, when five Minnesota businessmen were awarded a franchise in the new American Football League. Five months later in January 1960, the same ownership group made up of Bill Boyer , Ole Haugsrud , Bernie Ridder , H. P. Skoglund and Max Winter first forfeited its AFL membership and then was awarded the National Football League's 14th franchise that was to begin play in 1961.
Minnesota's first management team was led by general manager Bert Rose and head coach Norm Van Brocklin. From the start, the Vikings embraced an energetic marketing program that produced a first-year season ticket sale of nearly 26,000 and an average home attendance of 34,586, about 85 percent of the capacity of 40,800 Metropolitan Stadium. Eventually the stadium capacity was increased to 47,900. Rose resigned from his position in 1964 and Van Brocklin quit abruptly in the spring of 1967. The Vikings went to Canada to get their replacements. Jim Finks, then general manager of the Calgary Stampeders, was named as the new general manager. Bud Grant, head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, became the new Vikings field leader.
On March 7, 1967, quarterback Fran Tarkenton was traded to the New York Giants for a 1st and 2nd-round choice in 1967, a 1st-round choice in '68 and a 2nd-round choice in '69. With the picks Minnesota selected Clinton Jones and Bob Grim in '67, Ron Yary in '68 and Ed White in '69.
The Vikings defeated the Cleveland Browns, 27-7, in the NFL Championship Game on Jan. 4, 1970, at Metropolitan Stadium. Minnesota became the 1st modern NFL expansion team to win an NFL Championship Game, which gave them a berth to the, Super Bowl which the heavily favored Vikings dropped to the Kansas City Chiefs23-7
In 1972 the Vikings traded Norm Snead, Bob Grim, Vince Clements and a 1st-round choice in '72 and '73 to the New York Giants to reacquire the popular quarterback Fran Tarkenton.
On January 13, 1974, the Vikings played in the 2nd Super Bowl in franchise history against the Miami Dolphins at Rice Stadium in Houston, TX. The Dolphins prevailed, 24-7. Minnesota earned the trip to Super Bowl VIII by defeating Dallas, 27-10, in the NFC Championship game.
The Vikings played in their 2nd straight Super Bowl, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 16-6, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans on January 12, 1975. Minnesota earned a trip to Super Bowl IX by defeating the Los Angeles Rams, 14-10, at Metropolitan Stadium on December 29, 1974.
The Vikings played in their 3rd Super Bowl in 4 years against the Oakland Raiders at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA, on January 9, 1977. The Vikings however, couldn't break its bad luck in the Super Bowl. Minnesota lost, 32-14. The Vikings earned a trip to Super Bowl XI by defeating the Rams, 24-13, at Metropolitan Stadium on December 26, 1976, in what ended up being the last Vikings playoff game at the Met.
On May 15, 1981, the Vikings moved into a new facility in Eden Prairie that houses the team's offices, locker room and practice fields. The complex was named "Winter Park" after Max Winter, one of the Vikings founders who served as the team's president from 1965-87.
The Vikings played their 1st game at the Metrodome in a preseason matchup against Seattle on Aug. 21, 1982. Minnesota prevailed, 7-3. The 1st touchdown in the new facility was scored by Joe Senser on an 11-yard pass from Tommy Kramer. The 1st regular-season game in the Metrodome was the 1982 opener on September 12, when the Vikings defeated Tampa Bay, 17-10. Rickey Young scored the 1st regular-season touchdown in the facility on a 3-yard run in the 2nd quarter.
On January 27, 1984, Bud Grant retired as Head Coach of the Vikings. In 17 seasons Grant led Minnesota to 12 playoff appearances, 11 division titles and 4 Super Bowls. His career regular-season record was 151-87-5 (.632). The person that would take his place would be Les Steckel.
Les Steckel, who was an offensive assistant with the Vikings for 5 seasons, was named the 3rd head coach in franchise history on January 29, 1984. Steckel, who came to the Vikings in 1979 after working as an assistant with the 49ers, was the youngest head coach in the NFL in 1984 at age 38.
On January 6, 1986, following the 1985 season, Bud Grant re-retired as head coach of the Vikings. At the time of his retirement he was the 6th winningest coach in NFL history with 168 career wins, including playoffs. In 18 seasons he led the Vikings to a 158-96-5 regular season record.
Longtime Vikings assistant coach Jerry Burns was named the 4th head coach in team history on January 7, 1986. He served as the Vikings offensive coordinator from 1968-85, when the team won 11 division titles and played in 4 Super Bowls. In his second season, he led the Vikings to the NFC championship game.
The Vikings played the Redskins in the NFC Championship Game on January 17, 1988, at RFK Stadium. Trailing 17-10, the Vikings drove to the Redskins' 6-yard line with a little over a minute left in the game but failed to get the ball into the end zone. Minnesota upset New Orleans, 44-10, at the Superdome and San Francisco, 36-24, at Candlestick Park in the first 2 rounds of the playoffs to earn a trip to the conference title game.
The Vikings would make what would be considered its biggest blunder in team history. On October 12, 1989, the Vikings acquired Herschel Walker from Dallas for Issiac Holt, David Howard, Darrin Nelson, Jesse Solomon, Alex Stewart, a first-round choice in 1992, conditional 1st-round choices in 1990 and '91, conditional 2nd-round choices in 1990, '91 and '92, and a conditional 3rd-round choice in 1992. The final result of the trade gave the Vikings Walker, a 3rd (Mike Jones), 5th (Reggie Thornton) and 10th-round choice (Pat Newman) in 1990 and a 3rd-round choice in 1991 (Jake Reed), while Dallas received all 5 players, a 1st, 2nd and 6th-round choice in 1990, a 1st and 2nd-round choice in 1991 and a 1st, 2nd and 3rd-round choice in 1992.
On December 3, 1991, Jerry Burns announced his retirement. In 6 seasons as Head Coach of the Vikings, Burns compiled a career record of 52-43 (.547). He also led Minnesota to 3 playoff appearances, including a division title and an NFC Championship Game.
On January 10, 1992, the controversial Dennis Green was named the 5th Head Coach in team history. He came to Minnesota after turning around a struggling Stanford University football program as head coach there from 1989-91.
In his 10 seasons as the coach of the Vikings, he won 4 NFC division, had 8 playoff appearances, 2 NFC championship games and an all time record of 97-62.
The team had 2 disappointing losses of note during Green's tenure. The 1998 NFC Championship game and the 2000 NFC Championship game. The former was lost 30-27 in overtime to the Atlanta Falcons at the Metrodome and the latter was lost 41-0 to the New York Giants in the Meadowlands.
Later in the season, Dennis Green, who was such a polarizing force in the Viking fanbase, despite having a successful coaching tenure with the team, had his contract bought out after a 5-10 season in 2001. Mike Tice coached the final game of 2001.
On January 10, 2002, Mike Tice was named the 6th Head Coach in Vikings history. Tice is the 3rd of the 6 Vikings Head Coaches to be promoted from within the team's coaching ranks but is the 1st Head Coach to have played for the Vikings.
In Tice's first season, the Vikings had a dismal 6-10 record, which he turned around in 2003 with a fast 6-0 start. However, the Vikings ended up going 9-7 the rest of the season, missing the playoffs with a last second touchdown reception by the Arizona Cardinals' receiver Nate Poole. Ironically, the Cardinals hired Dennis Green the following season.
The Vikings made history in 2005 by beating their rivals, the Green Bay Packers, in their first ever playoff meeting.
(Most information and verbage courtesy of www.vikings.com and http://www.angelfire.com/mn/SqUaReD/history.html )
Franchise traditions, trends
Viking fans are known to dress up in "Helga Hats" or purple hats mimmicking the helmets worn by Viking warriors while invading rival lands.
Often during Vikings games, the fans will be led to sing the Minnesota Vikings fight song, which has the following lyrics:
- Skol, Vikings! Let's win this game. Skol, Vikings! Honor your name.
- Go get that first down, then get a touchdown,
- Rock 'em, sock 'em, fight, fight, fight, fight!
- Skol, Vikings! Run out the score; You'll hear us yell for more.
- V-I-K-I-N-G-S! Skol, Vikings, let's go!
Skol is the Swedish word for a salute or a toast, as to an admired person or group.
The current team mascot is Ragnar , possibly the only "human" mascot in professional sports, meaning that he doesn't wear anything over his head. Ragnar (played by Joseph Juranitch) has been working for the Vikings since 1994, and claims to be the most widely-recognized mascot in the world. Jurantich admits to being somewhat of an eccentric—he holds the current world record for fastest time shaving a beard with an ax. Ragnar drives onto the field at the beginning of games on a loud motorcycle.
The Vikings, even though they are a very successful franchise, are faced with championship futility, much like the Chicago Cubs, the Toronto Maple Leafs and many other successful franchises in other sports. Many attribute their futilities to "curses", such as the Cubs' Billy Goat curse. The Vikings have the more esoteric rune stone curse, named for the Kensington Runestone, claimed to be Viking in origin, which was found near Alexandria, Minnesota. Legend has it that the runestone predicts the fate of the Minnesota Vikings in the future.
- 22 Norwegians on
- discovery voyage from
- Vinland over (the) west we
- had camp by 2 skerries one
- days journey north from this stone
- we were and fishe(ed) one day after
- we came home found 10 men red
- with blood and dead.
The 22 Norwegians in this reference are a reference to the 22 players that play on a starting offense and defense on a football team. The 10 dead are usually a reference to a massive group of injuries or an offense or defense that plays sub par.
Players of note
- Morten Andersen
- Darren Bennett
- Michael Bennett
- Daunte Culpepper
- Napoleon Harris
- Corey Chavous
- Jim Kleinsasser
- Pat Williams
- Fred Smoot
- Kevin Williams
- Matt Birk
Not to be forgotten
- Gary Anderson
- Matt Blair
- Joey Browner
- Anthony Carter
- Jack Del Rio
- Chris Doleman
- Steve Jordan
- Joe Kapp
- Tommy Kramer
- Randall McDaniel
- Keith Millard
- Warren Moon
- Randy Moss
- Darren Nelson
- David Palmer
- John Randle
- Ahmad Rashad
- Jake Reed
- Fuad Reveiz
- Scott Studwell
- Herschel Walker
- Wade Wilson
- Gary Zimmerman
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