Our Greatest Playoff Win of All Time Tournament continues on, and we only have two more games before we get to our Elite Eight. Today, we’re looking at two games with different storylines, and one of these games might has a decent chance to win it all. 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. Today, our tournament continues with our next playoff win match up: The 1987 Divisional playoff versus the San Francisco 49ers against the 2000 Divisional playoff versus the New Orleans Saints.
1987 Divisional playoff against the 49ers. 1987 was a weird, wild, wonderful year if you’re a Vikings fan. They only went 8-7 in a strike-shortened season that saw three games played by replacement players. The Replacement Vikings were terrible, going 0-3...but the real ones were pretty good. After a wild Thanksgiving overtime win over Dallas, they were 7-1 (minus the strike games), but stumbled at the end, losing three of four. They still made the playoffs, and after whipping the Saints in the wildcard round, got to travel to San Francisco to face the overwhelming Super Bowl favorite 49ers. This was in the middle of their Bill Walsh dynasty, and the 49ers just looked unstoppable. The Vikes were double digit underdogs, and I remember thinking ‘just don’t get embarrassed’.
Oh, it was embarassing...for the 49ers. Anthony Carter became a Viking God that day, catching 10 passes for 227 yards, Najee Mustafaa (nee Reggie Rutland) had a pick six, and the Vikings dominated the game from beginning to end. In the second half, Joe Montana was so rattled and flustered he was benched for Steve Young. I’d have to go back and double check, but I think that was the only time in Montana’s career that he was benched for a non-injury. Of all the wins in all of Vikings history, both regular and post-season, for me this game is the one I always think of as being right at the top.
2000 Divisional playoff against the Saints. I included this game because it was Denny Green’s last swan song with a really good team, as 2001 saw Korey Stringer (RIP, Big Man) die tragically in training camp, and Denny resigned with one game left before he could get fired. 2000 started off with Denny trying to coax Dan Marino out of retirement, but Marino stayed retired and Denny turned to second year pro Daunte Culpepper. It turned out to be the right move, as Culpepper had a monster year, throwing for over 3,900 yards and 33 TD’s (which led the NFL), and ran for another 470 yards.
The 10-6 Saints came to Minneapolis pretty evenly matched with the Vikings, and with the way Minnesota had struggled to close the season (losing three straight to lose homefield advantage), New Orleans seemed prime for an upset.
But the Vikes regrouped and after a close first quarter, scored at the end of the half and early in the third quarter to take a 24-3 lead. Both Randy Moss and Cris Carter had receiving TD’s, and the defense mostly rebounded after a late season slump. The Saints scored late in the game to make it 34-16, but after halftime the Vikes turned this game into a laugher and it never really seemed that close. I felt really good about this team after this game, thinking whatever issues they had at the end of the regular season had been figured out. The clip below is part one of three parts, I think. I’m just posting the first part, as you can navigate the rest if you want to re-watch the whole game.
Which game was the better playoff victory?
This poll is closed
1987 Divisional game against the 49ers
2000 Divisional game against the Saints