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Minnesota was granted an NFL franchise at the league owners meetings in Miami on January 28, 1960. The founding group consisted of Max Winter, E. William Boyer, H.P Skoglund, Ole Haugsrud, and Bernard H. Ridder, Jr. In late summer 1960, former Los Angeles Rams Public Relations Director Bert Rose was named the teams first General Manager. Rose recommended Vikings as the team name because it represented both an aggressive person with the will to win and the Nordic tradition in the northern Midwest. Norm Van Brocklin was selected as the first head coach.
On December 27, 1960, RB Tommy Mason of Tulane was taken with the first overall choice and the first-ever draft pick utilized by the Vikings. Also selected that year were QB Fran Tarkenton (3rd round) and DB Ed Sharockman (5th round). Following the 1960 season, the Vikings were allowed to select three players from the roster of each team after each team was allowed to protect 30 of their 38 players. Among the players selected were OL Grady Alderman (Detroit) and RB Hugh McElhenny (San Francisco).
On April 12, 1961, the Vikings were assigned to the Western Conference, which at the time also included Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
In the first game in franchise history, the Vikings lost to the Dallas Cowboys 38-13 in a preseason game in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on August 5, 1961. Their first home game was a preseason match-up against the Los Angeles Rams on September 10, 1961, at Metropolitan Stadium; they lost 21-17.
The Vikings played their first regular season game on September 17, 1961. Kicker Mike Mercer scored the first points in team history with a 12-yard field goal, and Bob Schnelker scored the teams first touchdown on a 14-yard pass from Fran Tarkenton. Tarkenton ultimately threw four touchdown passes and ran for another as he led the Vikings to a 37-13 victory over the Chicago Bears.
The Vikings' first winning season came in 1964, when they finished with a record of 8-5-1 and tied for second in the conference behind Baltimore.
On December 2, 1966, Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit, and Green Bay were chosen to make up the newly-formed Central Division of the Western Conference of the NFL.
In 1967, Bud Grant, a Minnesotan who had been leading the Canadian Football Leagues Winnipeg Blue Bombers to glory, arrived in the Twin Cities and turned the struggling Vikings into an instant winner. On December 15, 1968, the Vikings defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 24- 17 at Franklin Field then retired to the dressing room to listen to the Chicago-Green Bay game on the radio. Minnesota needed the Bears to lose to clinch the Vikings first Division title. Chicago tried to rally but eventually fell 28-17. On December 22, 1968, in the first playoff game in franchise history, the Colts defeated the Vikings, 24-14, in the Western Conference Championship Game at Baltimores Memorial Stadium.
In 1969, the Vikings secured a 122 record. On January 4, 1970, they defeated the Cleveland Browns 277 to become the first modern NFL expansion team to win an NFL Championship Game. On January 11, 1970, the Vikings lost to Kansas City 23-7 in Super Bowl IV.
On December 20, 1981, the Vikings hosted the Chiefs in Minnesotas final game at Metropolitan Stadium. The Vikings lost, 10-6. They played their first game at the Metrodome in a preseason matchup against Seattle on August 21, 1982. Minnesota prevailed, 7-3. The first regular season game in the Metrodome was the 1982 opener on September 12, when the Vikings defeated Tampa Bay 17-10.
On July 3, 1998, the Minnesota Vikings' owners voted unanimously to accept the bid of Texas businessman B.J. Red McCombs to purchase the Vikings. On July 28, 1998, the NFL owners unanimously approved Red McCombs purchase of the Vikings, finalizing the change of ownership from the 10 previous owners to sole ownership by McCombs.
An investment group led by brothers Zygmunt and Mark Wilf were unanimously approved as the new owners of the Vikings by their fellow NFL owners on May 25, 2005. The Wilfs, owners of a real estate development company in New Jersey, took ownership in mid-June from former owner Red McCombs, and continue to own the team today.
The official website of the Minnesota Vikings is www.vikings.com.
Robinson Library >> Recreation >> Football >> Professional Teams
This page was last updated on June 17, 2017.