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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6. 1987 NFC Championship Game

Washington Redskins - 17
Minnesota Vikings - 10

After Minnesota began the 1987 season with a 2-0 record, the NFL calendar stopped briefly due to the NFL player’s strike.

Thankfully, the halt in play didn’t last as long as it did in 1982, and the league was back in business for Week 4. Unfortunately, the Vikes had their rhythm interrupted and dropped four of their next five.

Wade Wilson, Anthony Carter, Hassan Jones, Steve Jordan, and friends helped the squad win four straight before finishing with an 8-7 record. Eight wins were just enough to qualify the franchise for the final playoff spot.

Although Minnesota wasn’t expected to advance far, especially with a 13th-ranked offense and 16th-ranked defense, they shocked 12-3 New Orleans and 13-2 San Francisco on the road.

That set up the team with a showdown against the 11-4 Washington Redskins in the NFC Championship game at RFK Stadium in Washington.

The ‘Skins were supposed to be vastly superior to Minny with its fourth-ranked offense and sixth-overall defense. So, imagine their surprise when the contest was tied at seven at halftime and tied again at 10 in the fourth quarter.

Washington finally took a 17-10 lead with just over five minutes left. Minnesota then took the ball to the doorstep of the Promised Land when they were perched at the Washington six-yard line.

On fourth down with less than a minute left, Wilson threw a pass to running back Darrin Nelson near the end zone. Just as Nelson was corralling the game-tying score, Redskins corner Darrell Green popped him hard enough to jar the ball loose for an incomplete pass and preserve the win.

Washington would win Super Bowl XXII two weeks later against Denver, 42-10.