History of the Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings were actually supposed to be one of the original AFL franchises. It was almost set in stone. So much so that the new AFL planned to hold its first college draft in Minneapolis at the end of 1959.
Ownership group in Minnesota had originally wanted to own an NFL franchise, but the league said no. But in an effort to undermine the new AFL, the NFL changed its tune. They offered Minnesota an expansion NFL team set to begin play in 1961.
Vikings then decided to spurn the AFL. They joined the NFL instead, and when the 1961 season began, they were a franchise in the NFL’s Western Conference.
Like most NFL expansion teams, the Vikings were not good. Ended up losing 11 games in each of their first two seasons. Vikings finally made the playoffs for the first time in 1968. The next year they won the final NFL Championship Game. Vikings played the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl. The Vikings lost that game and would go on to lose three more Super Bowls over the next seven years.
Minnesota Vikings Heartbreak
The Vikings are one of just two teams to play in four Super Bowls and not win a Lombardi Trophy.
Following that last Super Bowl loss. The Vikings have gotten to six more NFC Championship Games – 1977, 1987, 1998, 2000, 2009, and 2017. And they lost all six championship games. Vikings are the only team to lose six championship games in a row.
Those Super Bowl teams of the 1970s turned out a number of NFL Hall of Famers. That defense, known as the Purple People Eaters. Was led by Carl Eller, Alan Page, and Paul Krause. That offense was led by quarterback Fran Tarkenton, a nine-time Pro Bowler. He finished with more than 47,000 career yards passing.
In later years the Vikings produced wide receivers like Cris Carter and Randy Moss. Also, defensive linemen like Chris Doleman and John Randle.
NFL Big Changes from Last Season – Minnesota Vikings
The Mike Zimmer years in Minnesota definitely came with highlights. He led the team to the playoffs three times, and in 2017 they finished 13-3 and made it to the NFC Championship Game, before losing to the Philadelphia Eagles.
But five of Zimmer’s seasons produced between seven and eight wins, and mediocrity was setting in, despite the team having some of the most exciting players in football.
So Zimmer is out, and new head coach Kevin O’Connell is in, coming over from the Los Angeles Rams. O’Connell has a shiny new Super Bowl ring, and he has assets like Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook with which to scheme a new offense. O’Connell was the offensive coordinator in L.A., and his new OC in Minnesota is Wes Phillips.
O’Connell and Phillips coached together in Washington and L.A., and both are former quarterbacks.
Hope for Rejuvenation for the Vikings
That hopefully will lead to rejuvenation for Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins, who famously had a contentious relationship with his previous head coach. Zimmer was also a defensive coach before becoming a head coach, so perhaps a shift back to an offensive coach, like what he had with Jay Gruden in Washington, will also help.
The Vikings also have a new right guard in Jesse Davis, a free agent signing from the Dolphins. Also, coming over from Miami is wide receiver, Albert Wilson.
On defense, the Vikings have added EDGE Za’Darius Smith. He missed almost all of last season, but when healthy, he is a force. In 2019 and 2020, he totaled 26 sacks.
Inside linebacker Jordan Hicks comes to Minnesota from the Cardinals, where he made 116 combined tackles last season. The Vikings also used their first draft pick on safety Cine Lewis from Georgia and their second pick on cornerback Andrew Booth from Clemson.
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