Today's topic of discussion as we continue the 30 Day Challenge is an easy one. . .if you could re-do one moment in Minnesota Vikings' history, what would it be?
Now, goodness knows that as fans of this team, we certainly have enough of those moments to choose from, even if we were to simply limit ourselves to things that happened on the field. (DAMN IT, ROBERT SMITH, STOP RUNNING OUT OF BOUNDS!) But for me. . .and, presumably, many other fans of the Minnesota Vikings. . .the one moment that I'd like to re-do didn't happen on the field.
The date was 12 October 1989. The Vikings were sitting with a record of 3-2, and were fresh off of a 24-17 victory over the Detroit Lions at the Metrodome. On that day, Minnesota Vikings General Manager Mike Lynn pulled the trigger on the biggest. . .and, by far, the most infamous. . .trade in the history of the franchise.
Yes, that was the day that the Vikings acquired running back Herschel Walker (generally referred to around here as "He Who Shall Not Be Named," just for this reason) and four draft picks from the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for. . .well, a whooooooooooooooooooooooooooooole bunch of plunder. For those that are unfamiliar with the trade, here's how it worked out for both sides.
|Minnesota Received||Dallas Received|
|RB Herschel Walker||CB Isaac Holt|
|DAL 3rd round pick, 1990 (LB Mike Jones)||LB David Howard|
|SD 5th round pick, 1990 (WR Reggie Thornton)||RB Darrin Nelson*|
|DAL 10th round pick, 1990 (WR Pat Newman)||LB Jesse Solomon|
|DAL 3rd round pick, 1991 (WR Jake Reed)||DE Alex Stewart|
|MIN 1st round pick, 1990 (RB Emmitt Smith)**|
|MIN 2nd round pick, 1990 (WR Alexander Wright)|
|MIN 6th round pick, 1990 (traded to NO)|
|MIN 1st round pick, 1991 (WR Alvin Harper)|
|MIN 2nd round pick, 1991 (LB Dixon Edwards)|
|MIN 2nd round pick, 1992 (S Darren Woodson)|
|MIN 3rd round pick, 1992 (traded to NE)|
|MIN 1st round pick, 1993 (traded to PHI)|
* - Nelson was later traded to San Diego after he refused to report to Dallas.
** - The Cowboys traded up from the Vikings' pick at #21 to #17, a deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers, to draft Smith.
The Cowboys, led by Jimmy Johnson, used some of the picks they got from the Vikings to move around the draft, including making one deal to move up to #1 overall in 1991 to draft defensive tackle Russell Maryland. Players like Maryland, Smith, and Woodson made up the core of a team that won three Super Bowls in four years in Big D. So, obviously, things worked out rather nicely for the Cowboys in this deal.
And, of course, we all know how well things worked out for the Vikings. They got off to a nice start, with Walker rushing for 148 yards on just 18 carries in a 26-14 victory over Green Bay at the Metrodome, and the Vikings went on to win the NFC Central with a 10-6 record. And, in their first playoff game, they promptly got demolished by the San Francisco 49ers to the tune of 41-13, as the Niners cruised to a Super Bowl victory that year.
Walker left the Vikings after the 1991 season, having never put up a 1,000-yard season for the team. In 42 games with Minnesota, Walker rushed for just 2,264 yards and 20 touchdowns.
So, for pretty obvious reasons, if I could re-do one moment in Minnesota Vikings' history, I would do everything I could to keep Mike Lynn from getting fleeced by Jerry Jones. The Vikings thought they were "one player away," and trying to take a stab at that one player could have set the team back significantly. While the team did experience a lull in 1990 (going 6-10), they got back to .500 in Jerry Burns' final season before getting back to the top of the NFC Central in Denny Green's first season in 1992 with an 11-5 record.
Still, you have to wonder how things would have progressed if Lynn hadn't pulled the trigger on that deal. Vikings fans wish that he hadn't.
If you could re-do one moment in Minnesota Vikings' history, which one would you pick?