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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4. Super Bowl IX, 1974 Season

Pittsburgh Steelers - 16
Minnesota Vikings - 6

The Vikings had taken a 12-2 record into the 1973 postseason and went all the way to Super Bowl VIII before getting beat by Miami, 24-7.

One year later, the franchise won its first five games, closed with a 5-4 stretch, and ended the season 10-4. Tarkenton and crew averaged 22 points per game for Minny’s fifth-ranked offense, and the People Eaters were third overall.

In the postseason, Minnesota beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 30-14, and slipped by the LA Rams in the NFC Championship game, 14-10.

Then, for the third time in six years, the Vikings played for a world championship, this time against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl IX.

The 1974 season represented Pittsburgh’s first trip to the Super Bowl after the team went 10-3-1 and defeated Buffalo and Oakland in the playoffs.

It helped that the franchise had one of the best drafts in league history before the season started. Receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, center Mike Webster, and linebacker Jack Lambert joined the franchise in the 1974 NFL Draft and safety Donnie Shell was added as an undrafted free agent. 

Quarterback Terry Bradshaw used his new toys to lead the team’s sixth-ranked offense, while Lambert and Shell became part of Pittsburgh's second-ranked “Steel Curtain” defense.

Although Minny was in its third Super Bowl, the Steelers were installed as three point favorites.

Both defenses slugged it out and Pittsburgh finally put the first points on the board with a Dwight White safety of Tarkenton in the second quarter. Franco Harris ran in a touchdown in the third quarter for the Steelers before Minny finally scored on a blocked punt in the fourth.

Pittsburgh scored once more before closing out the contest 16-6. It was Minnesota’s third Super Bowl loss in as many chances.