Minnesota Vikings: Top 20 games in franchise history
By Dan Zinski
Sep 14, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers former players Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, and Jerry Rice laugh on the sideline during the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Levi
2. Vikings upset Joe Montana, 49ers
Jan. 9, 1988. The Vikings pulled off one of the greatest upsets in NFL history, beating Joe Montana and the unbeatable 49ers at Candlestick Park.
The 1987 San Francisco 49ers were supposed to steamroll a path through the NFC field on their way to another Super Bowl appearance.
And then they met up with Anthony Carter and the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings were regarded as massive playoff underdogs when they went up against the Saints in the Wild Card round and laid a 44-10 whupping on the home team.
They were even bigger underdogs the next week against the Super Bowl favorite 49ers and their legendary QB Montana.
On a muddy track in San Francisco, being pursued by the Vikings’ fearsome pass rushers including Hall of Famer Chris Doleman, Montana looked anything but immortal.
On the other side, Vikings WR Anthony Carter looked unstoppable.
Carter never stepped foot in the end zone himself but his 10 receptions for 227 yards set up the Vikings offense all day, providing opportunities for Hassan Jones and Carl Hilton to hit pay dirt, and for Chuck Nelson to bang through three field goals.
The Vikings defense got in on the scoring when Najee Mustafaa picked off Joe Montana and ran it back 45 yards for the score.
Bill Walsh eventually saw enough of Montana’s struggling and yanked him in favor of the more-mobile Steve Young. But Young failed to bring San Francisco back.
The Vikings’ 36-24 win put a temporary stop to the momentum of the 49ers dynasty. The Vikings unfortunately would lose to the Redskins in the NFC title game the following week.
Though Minnesota’s improbable playoff run ended in familiar disappointment, that upset in San Francisco remains a sweet victory.