On Friday, a great number of Minnesota Vikings fans lost a big link to their early days as fans of the purple.
News came down earlier today that former Vikings’ quarterback Wade Wilson has passed away. His death comes on his 60th birthday.
Wilson was drafted by the Vikings in the eighth round of the 1981 NFL Draft out of East Texas State. He served mainly in a backup capacity for the Vikings until 1987, when he started seven of the twelve games played by the team’s “regular” players. The 1987 season was interrupted by a player’s strike, which saw the cancellation of one week’s worth of games and three weeks of games played by “scabs,” or non-union players.
In that 1987 season, Wilson led one of the more memorable postseason runs in Vikings history, for reasons both good and bad. The Vikings went into the playoffs as the fifth team in a five-team field, and started the playoffs by demolishing the New Orleans Saints by a final score of 44-10. They then went into San Francisco and beat the top-seeded 49ers by a score of 36-24, a beatdown so thorough that the legendary Joe Montana was benched during the contest.
Alas, a Super Bowl run was not to be, as the Vikings fell to the Washington Redskins in the NFC Championship Game by a score of 17-10. The game ended with Wilson’s fourth-down pass being dropped at the goal line by running back Darrin Nelson, sending the Redskins to the big game.
Wilson would play four more seasons for the Vikings, earning a Pro Bowl selection in 1988. He then spent time with the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and Dallas Cowboys before finishing his playing career with the Oakland Raiders. Wilson retired following the 1999 season, and immediately went into coaching as the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterbacks coach. Wilson held that job from 2000 to 2002, and then coached the quarterbacks for the Chicago Bears from 2004 to 2006. He then returned to Dallas, where he coached quarterbacks for 11 more seasons from 2007 to 2017.
As of today, Wilson is fourth in Minnesota Vikings’ history in both passing yardage (12,135) and passing touchdowns (66). He is fifth in team history in both passing completions (929) and passing attempts (1,665).
We here at The Daily Norseman would like to send our condolences to the family and friends of Wade Wilson.