Hi kids, and once again, apologies for being tardy on this. I meant to get this done earlier this week, but just didn’t have the time, so I hope this will be a nice way to kick off your last Saturday before the draft. This morning, we get to the finals of our tournament, and we had what many consider to be a huge upset in the Final Four. As expected, the 1969 NFL Championship game against the Cleveland Browns cruised, but the 1987 DIvisional playoff game against the 49ers upset the Minneapolis Miracle game by a score of 51-49. Personally, I don’t consider it an upset, but that’s just me. Here’s the results of our tournament up until this point:
As always, I’ll put a poll at the end, you vote, and the winner by popular vote will be crowned champion. I’ll leave the poll open until Tuesday morning for this one, to give people enough time to check this out and make a pick, if they so choose. So, let’s see which game was the Greatest Vikings Playoff Win Of All Time.
1987 Divisional playoff against the 49ers. Like the 2004 Wildcard game in our first final four matchup, the narrative was all about the Vikings not having a chance. In the strike-shortened 1987, no one thought Minnesota, who lost 3 of 4 to back in to the playoffs, had any business being on the field with the 14-1 49ers, who were not only double digit favorites, but the top seed in the NFC and damn near Super Bowl Champs by acclamation. They were an unstoppable juggernaut smack dab in the middle of their Montana-Walsh dynasty, and while the Vikes had blown out New Orleans a week earlier, there wasn’t anyone who thought Minnesota had a chance in this game.
Even over 30 years later...or especially because it’s been 30 years, it’s hard to convey what an upset this was, and what a thoroughly dominating game the Vikings played from the opening kick to the final gun, and how this playoff run sorta just came out of nowhere. Watching the game now, removed from the feeling at the time, and you’d think Minnesota was the heavy favorite and the better team. Of all the Vikings games I’ve watched over the years, I still remember what an utter feeling of satisfaction that win gave me. When Joe Montana got benched...Joe Freaking Montana...I remember calling my Dad and just saying ‘Are you watching this? They just benched Montana!’ And then we just started giggling like little kids seeing the presents under the tree on Christmas morning.
THAT’S how winning that game felt.
1969 NFL Championship against the Browns. For fans that are old enough to remember the entirety of the Purple People Eaters, this was the apex of that era, as a lot of folks think this was the best team Bud Grant ever put on the field. It was the Vikings that people remember—a tough, hard nosed team that played in brutal conditions, creating the best homefield advantage in the NFL. This team was the last official NFL Champion, and the 1969 season epitomized the Purple People Eaters era.
QB Joe Kapp was the unquestioned leader, and represented everything that fans of the Vikings loved: a blue collar guy that didn’t throw a textbook pass, but made up for it with guts and willpower. This era has become somewhat mythical for those who witnessed it, and the 1969 team will always be a special one. And it’s this game that represents what that 1969 team was about. The Vikings took it to the Browns early, it was over before halftime, and the second half became a celebration of that team and that era.
My Dad and I used to talk about this team a lot when I was younger, and he said there was just something about them that made it different, and special. Like the ‘98 team, you just knew they were going to win when they took the field, and when it got cold, they used the weather as a psychological weapon against their opponents. Dad was pretty down to earth regarding most everything, especially the Vikings, but this team he really put on a pedestal compared to other Vikings teams.
What was the greatest Vikings playoff win of all time?
This poll is closed
1969 NFL Championship against the Browns
1987 DIvisional playoff against the 49ers