Let’s keep our Vikings March Madness tournament rolling, with our second preliminary game. I’ll give some highlights of each game, and I’ll put a poll at the end. The poll will be open for about 24 hours, you guys get to vote, and the winner by popular vote will advance. This afternoon, our tournament continues with our next playoff win match up: the 1973 NFC Championship game against the Dallas Cowboys going up against the 1997 Wildcard game against the New York Giants.
1973 NFC Championship against Dallas: In 1972, the VIkings re-acquired Hall of Fame QB Fran Tarkenton, and they went 7-7. In 1973, they drafted RB Chuck Foreman, and those were the two final missing pieces to put the Vikings offense on par with the famed Purple People Eaters defense, and it launched them into the rarified air of the NFL’s elite. Foreman was named rookie of the year, Tarkenton completed over 60% of his passes, and the Vikes pretty much steamrolled through the NFL. This game turned on two big plays, one of which I actually remember. Takenton hooked up with WR John Gilliam on a 54 yard TD pass to give the Vikes a 17-7 lead (the play I remember). In the fourth quarter, with the game still 17-10 in favor of the Vikings, Bobby Bryant picked off a Roger Staubach pass and went 63 yards to pretty much ice the game. The Vikings beat the Cowboys 27-10 on the road, and that win sent the Vikings to Super Bowl VIII.
1997 Wildcard game against the New York Giants: This was a game that looked like the Vikings had no shot to win. By halftime, they were down 19-3, and late in the game the were down 22-13, needing a touchdown and a field goal to win the game. With under four minutes to play, the Vikes faced a 4th down near midfield, and down nine, the Vikings decided to punt. It was mystifying to me at the time, but it worked. The defense held, the Vikes offense got the ball back, and scored a TD when Randall Cunningham hit Jake Reed for a 30 yard TD pass, and Reed was totally inbounds. After a successful onside kick, Cunningham hit Andrew Glover, Cris Carter, and Robert Smith on some big plays, getting Minnesota within field goal range. Eddie Murray hit the game winner, and Denny Green had his first playoff win as Vikings coach. It was the first time a team had come back from a 16 point or more playoff deficit in 24 years.
Which was the better playoff victory?
This poll is closed
1973 NFC Championship against Dallas
1997 Wildcard against the New York Giants