The Minnesota Vikings were established in 1961 as part of the NFL’s Western Conference, Central Division. Originally the ownership group of the Vikings, which was comprised of Max Winter, Bill Boyer and H.P. Skoglund, applied for membership to the upstart American Football League (AFL). They were granted an AFL franchise in 1959 but withdrew from the AFL and became a NFL expansion club instead. Additional owners included Bernie Ridder and Ole Haugsrud.
They played in the Western Conference of the NFL from 1961-1969 and became a part of the Central Division in 1967. Then in 1970 when the NFL and AFL merged, the Vikings were assigned to the Central Division of the National Football Conference (NFC). They played in the Central Division until league realignment in 2002 when they were assigned to the NFC North.
The team has never won a Super Bowl but has appeared in four, having won the NFL title in 1969 and the NFC crown in 1973, 1974 and 1976. In Super Bowl IV, the Kansas City Chiefs beat Minnesota 23-7. In Super Bowl VIII, the Miami Dolphins trounced the Vikings 24-7 and the following year the Pittsburgh Steelers beat Minnesota 16-6. In Super Bowl XI, the Oakland Raiders hammered the Vikings 32-14. The club has won 16 division crowns. Minnesota was especially dominant in the 1970s when they took eight division titles. From 1968-1980, they earned 11 or 13 possible Central Division Championships.
The team first played in Metropolitan Stadium (1961-1981) and then moved to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in 1982. They presently call that venue home. Team nicknames include The Purple and The Vikes. In the late 1960s and through the late 1970s, a time of dominance by the team, the tough Viking defensive line was known as The Purple People Eaters. The team mascot is Victor the Viking and its fight song is “Skol, Vikings.”
Hall of Famers include former Purple People Eaters Carl Eller (1964-1978 Vikings and 1979 Seattle Seahawks) and Alan Page (1967-1978 Vikings), quarterback Fran Tarkenton (1961-1966 and 1972-1978 Vikings and 1967-1971 New York Giants) and head coach Bud Grant (1967-1983 and 1985 Vikings).
Defensive end Eller played in 225 games making 133.5 sacks. A six-time Pro Bowler, he was elected to the NFL 1970s All-Decade team. During his career, Page, who played defensive tackle, recorded 148.5 sacks, two interceptions and three safeties. He was selected to the Pro Bowl nine times and was an All-Pro 11 times. Page is a member of the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team. Tarkenton earned a career QB rating of 80.4, passing for a total of 47,003 yards. He threw 342 touchdown passes and 266 interceptions. Tarkenton, who was exceptionally poplar in Minnesota, was an All-Pro for six seasons and a Pro Bowler for nine. Head coach Bud Grant, who was first a NBA player, was a no-nonsense coach who demanded that his team play disciplined ball under controlled emotions. His playoff record was 10-12, and Grant had an overall mark of 168-108-5.
In 2005, Zygmunt “Zygi” Wilf bought the team from Red McCombs, who owned the club since 1998. The team is coached by Brad Childress, who uses a version of the West Coast Offense. Rick Spielman serves as general manager.