The Minnesota Vikings signed Kirk Cousins to a fully guaranteed three-year deal worth $84 million back in 2018. They added the quarterback to a championship-ready team in hopes of changing history. And let’s be honest, the history is a cringe-worthy one.
The Vikings remain one of 12 teams in the NFL to never win a Super Bowl. Minnesota has appeared in four Super Bowls with their last appearance coming in 1976. The championship window for the Vikings has opened further with the team giving Cousins a three-year extension.
Minnesota will enter the 2020 season as one of the top teams in the NFC. The elusive Lombardi Trophy will be the goal as they look to avoid adding another memory to this list. Let’s take a look at some of the heartbreaking moments in Vikings’ history.
5. The 1970’s
There are only two teams in NFL history where an entire decade could be filled with so much success, but bring back so much pain. Before the Buffalo Bills of the 1990’s, there was the Vikings of the 1970’s.
Under Bud Grant, the Vikings appeared in the Super Bowl in three out of four years from 1973-1977. No, they did not come out on top in any of them. None were even particularly close as Minnesota lost all three by double figures.
This would land high on any other list but unfortunately for the Vikings, there are plenty more gut-wrenching memories.
4. The Hail Mary
Coming off two straight Super Bowl losses in 1973 and 1974, the Vikings were vying for a third straight appearance when they were heavily favored against the Dallas Cowboys. The term Hail Mary in football is defined as a desperation throw by a quarterback who is trying to score with little time on the clock.
That term originated in this game. With 32 seconds remaining in the game, the Vikings held a 14-10 lead. Dallas had the ball at midfield and needed a miracle. They didn’t exactly get one of those. They got a strong throw and a crucial missed call by an official.
Roger Staubach wound up and launched a bomb towards the end zone. Drew Pearson got away with a blatant push off on his defender and it was missed by the refs. Cowboys won the game 17-14. Not only do Vikings’ fans have to live with the dreadful memory, but they can’t help but associate the play with a terrible no-call.
3. Blair Walsh
The 2015 wild card game between the Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks is one that will live in infamy. If you are a fan of old school football, this was your kind of game. The score was 10-9 and the game was played in Minnesota in minus-six degree weather.
Neither team could get anything going. The Vikings could muster up just three Walsh field goals throughout the entire game. With 26 seconds left, the Viking had the ball at the 10-yard line. Walsh was on the field trying to go 4-4 on the day. Neither team had any timeouts remaining.
The ball being snapped is the last good memory anyone affiliated with the Vikings will have of the season. Once Walsh’s foot hit the ball, it was all downhill. The kick from 2 -yards out never had a chance. Minnesota walked off the field with 22 seconds left knowing their season was over.
2. “This is not Detroit, man. This is the Super Bowl!”
If you are not familiar with this quote, go look it up immediately. This was Paul Allen’s reaction after Brett Favre threw a costly interception at the end of the 2009 NFC Championship Game.
Favre is known as a Green Bay Packer, but his age-40 season in 2009 was some of the best football of his career. Favre was a Pro Bowler after throwing 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. The Vikings were on the 38-yard line of the New Orleans Saints with 19 seconds remaining. They faced a third-and-15.
Favre took the snap and began rolling to his right. There was plenty of room in front of him to pick up five or six yards and try a game-winning field goal. Instead, in typical fashion, Favre threw across his body and tried to force one over the middle. Tracy Porter stepped in front of it for an interception.
The Saints would get the ball first in overtime and eventually win on a field goal. There has not been a better Vikings’ team since the 2009 squad.
1. The Kick
The 1998 season was a special one for the Vikings. They had a receiver named Randy Moss win Offensive Rookie of the Year after catching a league-leading 17 touchdowns. Dennis Green was named Coach of the Year for leading Minnesota to a franchise-best 15-1 record. The Vikings were rolling heading into the playoffs.
That momentum continued into the postseason as they downed the Arizona Cardinals 41-21 in the divisional round. In the NFC title game, the Vikings held a 27-20 lead with two minutes left. Gary Anderson, who had not missed a kick all year, lined up from 38-yards away to try a kick that would have put his team up 10 and ended the game. Anderson had been 35-35 on field goals in the regular season and 59-59 on extra point attempts.
The voodoo of a cursed franchise is stronger than anything. Anderson missed the kick left and the Atlanta Falcons would go on to tie the game and send it to overtime. After a Minnesota punt, the Falcons would win the game on a Morten Andersen field goal.
Poetically, Andersen hit from 38-yards out to sink the other Anderson and the Vikings.