10 most agonizing playoff losses in Minnesota Vikings history

Minnesota Vikings kicker Gary Anderson
Minnesota Vikings kicker Gary Anderson / JEFF HAYNES/GettyImages
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10. 1971 Divisional Round

Dallas Cowboys - 20
Minnesota Vikings - 12

In 1971, Minnesota was in the midst of a three year run where the organization won at least 11 games or more each season.

The Vikings offense in ‘71 wasn’t great as both Gary Cuozzo and Norm Stead saw time at quarterback.

On the flip side, the 1971 “Purple People Eaters” defense has previously been ranked by ESPN as one of the best in NFL history. Carl Eller, Jim Marshall, Gary Larsen, Alan Page, and Paul Krause led the top defense in the league, keeping opponents to just under 10 points per game.

Even with a subpar offense in 1971, Minnesota won six of its first seven games and ended the season 11-3.

In the Divisional round, the home team Vikings met the 11-3 Dallas Cowboys, who led the NFL in offense and boasted its own “Doomsday Defense.”

The contest began fairly well as both defenses came as advertised and the halftime score was 6-3 in favor of the Cowboys.

However, even though the Vikings' suspect offense outdueled Roger Staubach and the Dallas offense in total yards, 311-183, the “Doomsday Defense” forced five Minnesota turnovers. Those turnovers led to 13 Dallas points.

The Vikings had to play catch up in the fourth quarter and came up short, 20-12.

As Minnesota dreamt about “next year,” the Cowboys took their good fortunes all the way to Super Bowl VI where they beat the Miami Dolphins, 24-3.

This was the first postseason meeting between Minnesota and Dallas. It would not be the last.