As is our wont, it’s time to take a look at the history between the Minnesota Vikings and the team they’re playing this week. On Sunday, the purple will travel halfway around the world to take on the Cleveland Browns at Twickenham Stadium in London. This is classed as a home game for the Browns, even though it’s on another continent, so that’s how we’ll treat it.
The history between these two teams has largely been in favor of the Vikings, as they’ve won a majority of the games between these two teams over the years. Though we’re not counting post-season games in our look back, it’s worth mentioning that the Browns are the teams that the Vikings beat for their only NFL title, as they beat the Browns in the 1969 NFL Championship Game by a score of 27-7.
The Vikings have only played the “new” (read: post-move to Baltimore) Browns three times, and they’ve won two of those three contests. However, we’ll take a full look back at that history now. As always, we’re getting all of our information from the good folks at Pro Football Reference.
Games between the Vikings and the Browns: 14
All-time record: Vikings, 10-4
Total Vikings’ points scored, head-to-head: 377 (26.9 points/game)
Total Browns’ points scored, head-to-head: 224 (16 points/game)
Longest Vikings’ winning streak vs Browns: 5 (9 November 1969 - 4 September 1983)
Longest Browns’ winning streak vs Vikings: 2 (26 October 1986 - 17 December 1989)
Most recent Vikings’ road win in series: 13 September 2009 (final score 34-20)
Most recent Browns’ home win in series: 17 December 1989 (final score 23-17, OT)
Biggest Vikings’ road win in series: 32 points, 28 September 1975 (final score 42-10)
Biggest Browns’ home win in series: 6 points, 17 December 1989 (final score 23-17, OT)
Current streak: Browns, 1 win
You can see the fairly significant discrepancy in the point totals between these two teams. The Browns’ four all-time victories over the Vikings have come by a combined total of 17 points, while the Vikings have had several double-digit wins over the Browns over the course of their history.
Of course, the last game between these two teams is one that fans of the Vikings would rather forget. It was the 2013 home opener for Minnesota in what would end up being their final season at the Metrodome. Minnesota was coming off of two straight tough divisional losses, and the Browns came in with an 0-2 record as well. Brian Hoyer led the Cleveland offense into town and threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns, though he did throw three interceptions as well. The Browns even got a touchdown on a fake field goal attempt to take a 24-17 lead into halftime. Minnesota battled back to take a 27-24 lead in the fourth quarter, but Hoyer found tight end Jordan Cameron with under a minute left to give Cleveland a 31-27 victory.
The Vikings’ last trip to Cleveland was much more enjoyable for Vikings’ fans. It was the 2009 season opener, and the first game of the zombie Brett Favre era for Minnesota. However, it was Adrian Peterson that turned out to be the star in that contest, as he carried the ball 25 times for 180 yards and three touchdowns. Favre only threw for 110 yards on the afternoon, but he did get his first touchdown pass as a Viking, a six-yard connection with Percy Harvin. The Minnesota defense sacked Brady Quinn five times on the afternoon en route to a 34-20 victory for the Vikings.
The only other game between the Vikings and the “new” Browns took place at the Metrodome in 2005. The Mike Tice-led Vikings were in the midst of a winning streak that saved their season after the Love Boat scandal rocked the early part of their year. Minnesota’s defense forced five Cleveland turnovers that afternoon, including three interceptions from the two-headed quarterback monster of Trent Dilfer and Charlie Frye. Brad Johnson wound up with three touchdown passes on the afternoon, all of them to Marcus Robinson, and the Browns didn’t reach the end zone until a minute remained in the contest in a 24-12 Minnesota win.
That’s a brief look back at the history between the Minnesota Vikings and the Cleveland Browns over the years, ladies and gentlemen. Hopefully moving the game to a different part of the world won’t keep the Vikings from getting back on the winning track against the Dawg Pound.