Minnesota Vikings Continue 50 Year Streak Of Ranking In Top 7 Or Better In Winning Percentage

As we delve into the history of the greatest team not sporting a World Championship we see this fan base has suffered much disappointment. On the other hand they have collected regular-season wins far in excess of what 75% of the league has witnessed.

Viking Tug of War

The state of Minnesota played a key role in the history of the National Football League. That could explain the desire for the NFL to see the city join the NFL after it had earned an AFL franchise in 1959. The established league didn’t grant Lamar Hunt a team in Dallas so he started the American Football League and found 7 other franchise owners (known as the foolish club) to challenge the NFL for fans that were realizing the excitement level difference between football & baseball was pretty huge. The NFL had a history in the state of Minnesota so they granted a new organization to the Twin Cities and the AFL club was transferred to Oakland, California and after first being know as the ‘Senors’ the better name of the Oakland Raiders was selected. The NFL won the tug of war for the city and in the Minnesota Viking’s first-ever game the future face of the franchise, Fran Tarkenton came off the bench to beat the Chicago Bears. The Vikingsstarted 1-0 but fell to 1-1 when the Dallas Cowboys beat them to win that franchise’s first game after going 0-11-1 in Tom Landry’s & the club’s first season in 1960. The 1960 NFL title was won by the Philadelphia Eagles and now their game winning quarterback is the head coach of the Vikings as they start their history in 1961. Norm Van Brocklin posted 2 winning seasons in his six as the Viking leader but had no playoff appearances when replaced by a guy found in the Canadian Football League (CFL). Bud Grant took over in 1967, won 3 & tied 3 in that first season, then went on to a career in which a 7-9 record in 1979, 1981 and his final year of ’85 were the low point of. Amazingly Bud Grant never lost 10 games in a season.

When A Championship Is Not A Title

The 1969 Vikings scored 51 or 52 points in 3 games that season in which they opened with a loss to the New York Giants and ended with a loss to Van Brocklin’s Atlanta Falcons. In between they won all 12 games by an average margin greater than 3 touchdowns. They then hosted the Los Angeles Rams & Cleveland Browns in the playoffs, beat them both and become the 1969 NFL Champions as the youngest team in history to do so. As a result Lamar Hunt now gets to face his second NFL team for the World Championship of football as his Kansas City Chiefs try to avenge a loss in Super Bowl I to the Green Bay Packers 3 seasons earlier. Joe Kapp came down from Canada with coach Grant and played well in his time in purple but that Super Bowl IV game was his last wearing it. His team never threatened KC in its World Championship victory that Chief fans would have to wait 50 seasons to have their team play for again. Kapp moved on to the Patriots in the only season the NFL had a team with Boston in its name post AFL/NFL merger. 1970 was the last season Kapp took a snap after posting just 1 win for the 2-12 team know as the New England Patriots from 1971 on.

Vikings Never Highjacked Out Of Top 7 In Wins Since Merger

In 1970 The Vikings join the rest of the NFL (minus the Colts, Browns & Steelers) in the National Football Conference of the National Football League. They now are shooting for Super Bowl V in the first ever AFC Vs. NFC title game as is still the case going into the 2020 season and Super Bowl LV. Bud Grant and the Vikings perform stellarly with a QB named Gary Cuozzo as a fill-in until they trade to get Tarkenton back from the Giants in 1972. Cuozzo went 16-4 during those ’70 & ’71 seasons as the Vikes posted a 23-5 combined regular season record and held 1st place in NFL Since 1970 after the first two seasons of the 50 since the merger are compiled. Cuozzo was not able to win a playoff game and ended his career with the St. Louis Cardinals (the football team… for the young fans) in 1972.

So the organization is off to a great start and here comes Fran’s #10 purple jersey back in action… scrambling for Viking Nation. By his last season of 1978 Tarkenton proves to be the main reason the club spent all but 2 of the ’68 to ’78 seasons in 1st place. His first season ended .500 but starting in ’73 they went on to win 3 of the next 4 NFC Championships. Minnesota was beaten in all three Super Bowls by the Dolphins, Steelers & Raiders.

Oh The Bane Of 0-4!

In 1973 Vikings became the second victim of the Miami Dolphin’s mini-dynasty as they came in with three straight AFC titles and took home their second straight World title in Super Bowl VIII. Then in ’74 the Vikings faced the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl IX and became the first to fall to a Steeler team that had a 4-0 Super Bowl record by the start of the 1980 season. In ’75 the December divisional playoff game in MN against the Dallas Cowboys ended with a hail-mary TD pass. The desperation hurl by Roger Staubach to Drew Pearson connected and the Vikings could not counter in the 0:24 they had left. That controversial play ended the Super Bowl streak at 2. The bicentennial year of ’76 saw the Vikes in the Super Bowl again but they did too little too late as Bob Lee finished the game with a TD to Stu Voight to make it 32-14 and the Oakland Raiders picked up their first title. Northerners have not been the only fans to suffer with the 0-4 fate as Denver Broncos fans, centered in its own time zone, had to endure it also. They went back to back ’86 & ’87, finished 8-8 in ’88 and then the worst Super Bowl (XXIV) in history took place on their watch as Joe Montana & company hung a 55-10 drubbing on the Broncos as they fell to 0-4. The very next year in Super Bowl XXV Scott Norwood missed a field goal, the Buffalo Bills lost 20-19, and didn’t end that Super Bowl streak started in Jan. ’91 until they lost to the Steelers in a divisional playoff in Jan. ’96. That 0-4 record is still with them also but two playoff appearances this century are a far cry from the 8 Viking fans have gotten their hopes up for since 2000. The Bills were the last major sports team to make the playoffs in this century. (Denver: now 3-5 in 8 Super Bowls)

Random Viking Facts & Incredible Consistency Since Merger

As we learned above the Vikings were the fastest out of the AFL/NFL merger gate in 1970 in regular season winning percentage. In first place for ’70,’71 & ’76 it is just unbelievable this team has only fallen as low as #7 in these past 50 seasons. Miami & Dallas are the only fan base to have seen their clubs perform better as neither have dropped out of the top 5… Ever. Vikings fans are a volcano waiting to erupt when that title does happen. Living in Denver I have stopped being amazed at the number of crazed people living a truly purple life here. Their team has a bright future as they head into decade #6 as an NFC team…

Random Viking Facts:

  • Vikings hold nearly a 2 dozen game lead over the Packers when placing ’70-’19 records in division format (no playoffs). [436-336-4] to [412-354-10]
  • Vikings one of 6 clubs that kicked off the ’70 season and never earned first pick in draft by posting league’s worst record
  • A page in NFL Since 1970 shows the results of a huge ‘what if’. It’s a visual guide to the alternate Super Bowl game had the 2 conference title games had opposite results. For Vikings fans that would have resulted in 2 different Super Bowls against the Raiders, a pair vs the Jets & one each against the Browns & Jags. Surely there was a trophy somewhere on there
  • 8 out of 49 seasons (’82 strike year excluded) are all Vikings fans had to endure in which they were a subjected to a 10+ loss season. Best in NFC & tied for 3rd in NFL
  • Vikings lead the Packers with 18 division titles compared to 14 & the next club to post a 10+ win season will be the 1st to reach 20 since 1970. Cowboys lead league with 26
  • The 5 year period of 1973 to 1977 has yet to be surpassed for regular season wins in team history & the Vikings are equal with Steelers in having 4 seasons as the longest playoff drought since merger
  • Vikings are 4th most consistent club when averaging placement after each of the 5 decades in winning percentage. Their 10.2 average is the result of placing 5th, 15th, 6th,11th & 14th. Only Denver, Pittsburgh & Dallas did better

Come On Now…V for Viking Victory!!

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