The Minnesota Vikings have never won the NFL’s ultimate prize, but they have had a few teams that have had the talent to get the job done.
2009 was a special season with Brett Favre under center, but that still isn’t the best team in Vikings franchise history. The 1998 season didn’t end the way they wanted it to, but it was still a special season, and one of the best offensive teams in NFL history.
The Vikings were coached by Dennis Green that season, and it was also Randy Moss’s rookie season. It didn’t take him long to prove that he was going to be a superstar. The offense also had quarterback Randall Cunningham, running back Robert Smith, and wide receiver Cris Carter.
The Vikings got out to a fast start with a 31-7 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Moss caught four passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns. In Week 2 against the St. Louis Rams, the defense wasn’t great in giving up 31 points, but the offense made up for it scoring 38 points.
After a blowout victory against the Detroit Lions, the Vikings had issues with the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, but they were able to come away with wins. The only slip-up during the regular season was in Week 9 against the Buccaneers. The defense let Minnesota down by giving up 27 points, but this time the offense couldn’t make up for it.
The next three games were high-scoring victories over the New Orleans Saints, Cincinnati Bengals, and Packers. The Thanksgiving matchup against the Dallas Cowboys was probably the most famous game of the 1998 regular season for the Vikings.
It was the true coming-out party for Moss who caught three passes for 163 yards and three touchdowns. His breakaway speed was elite, and it was becoming clear that it could be a special year for the Vikings.
The following week, the Vikings offense put up 48 points in a blowout victory against the Bears. The regular season was closed out with wins over the Baltimore Ravens, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Tennessee Oilers. In Week 16 against the Jaguars, the Vikings scored 50 points. The Vikings offense scored at least 24 points in each of the regular-season games, and even though the defense struggled at times, the offense made up for it.
A 15-1 regular season meant the Vikings got a first-round bye in the playoffs. In the divisional round against the Arizona Cardinals, it was much of the same as the regular season. The offense put up 41 points, including 17 in the second quarter which led to a blowout victory.
The Vikings were big favorites against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game. The Vikings had a 20-14 lead at halftime, and it looked like they were on their way to the Super Bowl. The Vikings were up 27-20 late in the fourth quarter, but Gary Anderson missed a kick that would have sealed the game.
With 49 seconds remaining, the Falcons scored a touchdown to tie the game. In overtime, the Vikings got the ball first but simply couldn’t find a way to score. The Falcons hit a field goal to win the game and advance to the Super Bowl.
Even though the Vikings didn’t even make the Super Bowl, this was a special team. There could be an argument made that this is one of the best teams ever to not win the Super Bowl. Moss led all rookies in receiving yards and set the NFL record for a touchdown catches as a rookie with 17.
The Vikings scored a total of 556 points during the season, which was an NFL record until the New England Patriots broke it in 2007.
Not winning the Super Bowl was a disappointment, but the 1998 Vikings squad was the best in team history.