30 greatest Minnesota Vikings seasons in team history

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) Antoine Winfield
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) Antoine Winfield /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) Tommy Kramer /

20. 1980

  • Record: 9-7
  • Head Coach: Bud Grant
  • Lost Divisional Round at Philadelphia Eagles, 31-16

25-year-old Tommy Kramer along with Ted Brown and Ahmad Rashad led the Vikings to the 15th best offense in the NFL. The defense finished 11th, and Minnesota won the NFC Central. John Turner grabbed six interceptions and Joe Senser was a rookie.

19. 1968

  • Record: 8-6
  • Head Coach: Bud Grant
  • Lost Divisional Round at Baltimore Colts, 24-14

This Vikings team was balanced as they ranked eighth in offense and sixth in defense. This was Alan Page’s second season in Minnesota and he was surrounded by the usual Purple People Eaters. Joe Kapp, Bill Brown, and Gene Washington were the offensive leaders while Ron Yary and Charlie West were drafted.

18. 1997

  • Record: 9-7
  • Head Coach: Dennis Green
  • Lost Divisional Round at San Francisco 49ers, 38-22

These Vikings were not demons in the regular season, but they served up a jaw-dropping victory over the New York Giants in the Meadowlands during the first round of the playoffs. Brad Johnson and Randall Cunningham shared time under center while Robert Smith led the team in rushing. Cris Carter and Jake Reed took care of the pass-catching duties. Offensively, the team ranked 11th, and the defense ranked 19th. These would be the final days of a Randy Moss-less Minnesota franchise.

17. 1989

  • Record: 10-6
  • Head Coach: Jerry Burns
  • Lost Divisional Round at San Francisco 49ers, 41-13

A division title was claimed by this Vikings team and this was Jerry Burns’ final winning campaign as the head coach. The offense was good enough for 11th in the business while the defense was sixth. Herschel Walker was infamously acquired for a king’s ransom. Chris Doleman notched an ungodly 21 sacks and Keith Millard had a semi-godly 18 sacks. Pete Carroll was an assistant coach and Minnesota had, what would later be called by many, the worst draft in NFL history.

16. 1999

  • Record: (10-6)
  • Head Coach: Dennis Green
  • Lost Divisional Round at St. Louis Rams, 49-37

Insert journeyman Jeff George and young receiver Randy Moss, mix it in with a trashy defense, line up The Greatest Show on Turf as your playoff foe, and that was a wrap for the Vikings’ 1999 campaign. Moss proved his rookie fireworks were not a fluke. Cris Carter contributed mightily, and Minnesota had themselves the league’s fifth-best offense. The defense was a porous bunch and they finished 18th. The team drafted Daunte Culpepper and Jim Kleinsasser.