5 best back-to-back seasons by a Vikings quarterback

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Daunte Culpepper
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Daunte Culpepper /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) Fran Tarkenton /

3. Fran Tarkenton (1975 – 1976)

  • Record:  22-4-1
  • 5,955 passing yards
  • 42 touchdown passes
  • 90.6 passer rating

Fran Tarkenton played 13 seasons over two stints with the Vikings. A third-round draft pick out of Georgia, he joined Minnesota for their inaugural season in 1961.

Sandwiched between his two stints with the Vikings he played five years with the New York Giants from 1967 to 1971. Tarkenton is Minnesota’s franchise leader in career passing yards with 33,098 and touchdowns with 239. Despite playing in a very different era back in the 60s and 70s, he is still the Vikings’ best quarterback ever.

In 18 seasons, he made the Pro Bowl nine times—five of them while playing with Minnesota. His best performance came in 1975 which is also the infamous year of the Vikings’ Hail-Mary loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs.

Minnesota entered the 1975 season coming off two-straight Super Bowl losses. Tarkenton led the Vikings to 10 straight wins before losing a close game in Washington. Only once during the year did he fail to throw a touchdown pass, that came in Minnesota’s second loss on the road to the Detroit Lions in Week 13.

For the season, Tarkenton and the Vikings finished tied with the best record in the NFL at 12-2 in addition to winning their division for the third consecutive year and the seventh time in eight years. Tarkenton led the league in completions, attempts, and touchdown passes that season.

The following year, Tarkenton led the NFL in pass attempts again as Minnesota won another division title. Tarkenton played in 13 games that season and finished 10-2-1. His 22 wins over the two years are the most of any quarterback in this ranking and his four losses are the fewest.