- Minnesota Vikings
▪ American football teamAmerican professional gridiron football (football, gridiron) team founded in 1961 that plays in the National Football Conference (NFC) of the National Football League (NFL). The Vikings play at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn., and have appeared in four Super Bowls (Super Bowl) (1970, 1974, 1975, 1977), losing each time.The Vikings have a long and storied past, despite having won only one NFL championship, in 1969, the year before the NFL–American Football League merger. The Vikings' most prominent period of success dates from the hiring of head coach Bud Grant in 1967. Grant, a future member of the Hall of Fame, guided the Vikings to all four of their Super Bowl appearances over the course of his career. His Vikings teams of the 1970s featured a tenacious defense line known as the “Purple People Eaters,” which produced two Hall of Fame members (Alan Page (Page, Alan) and Carl Eller) and an efficient passing attack led by another future Hall of Fame member, quarterback Fran Tarkenton. Tarkenton paved the way for scrambling quarterbacks by being one of the first signal-callers to use his legs to make plays. The Vikings qualified for the play-offs in 10 of the 11 seasons between 1968 and 1978, but their 0–4 Super Bowl record is matched only by that of the Buffalo Bills teams of the 1990s.The Vikings fell back into the NFL pack in the 1980s, a decade capped by a disastrous 1989 trade with the Dallas Cowboys that netted Minnesota underachieving running back Herschel Walker and gave Dallas draft choices that were used to select future NFL superstars Emmitt Smith (Smith, Emmitt) and Darren Woodson, among others. The Vikings teams of the late 1990s and early 2000s featured an explosive offense, which starred running back Robert Smith and wide receivers Cris Carter and Randy Moss. The 1998 Vikings squad scored a then-NFL-record 556 points during the regular season on its way to a 15–1 record but was upset by the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC championship game. In 2007 first-year running back Adrian Peterson set the record for most rushing yards in a single game on his way to a Pro Bowl selection, providing a ray of hope for Minnesota's fans.
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