This week across the SB Nation family of NFL sites, we’re doing “Rivalry Week.” We know that the Minnesota Vikings have several key rivals, but CBS Sports recently put together a list of the best NFL rivalries of the 1980s, and the Vikings made the list with an entry you might not expect.
Bryan DeArdo, who compiled the list, did not cite the Vikings rivalries against divisional foes like the Green Bay Packers or the Chicago Bears. Instead, DeArdo named the fifth-best rivalry of the 1980s to be between the Vikings and. . .the San Francisco 49ers?
The Vikings and Niners met eight times during the 80s, with the purple winning three of those eight games. One of those games was one of the all-time great playoff wins in Vikings history, as they walked into Candlestick Park and thumped the Niners so badly that Bill Walsh wound up benching Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana. Behind a strong defensive effort and an absolutely monstrous game from Anthony Carter, the Vikings emerged victorious by a score of 36-24 to advance to the 1987 NFC Championship Game. You can see that entire game on YouTube.
Here is the full rundown of the eight times the Vikings and Niners met in the 1980s.
- 8 September 1983: Niners 48, Vikings 17 (woof)
- 8 December 1984: Niners 51, Vikings 7 (double woof. . .but, in their defense, the Vikings had basically quit on Les Steckel at this point)
- 8 September 1985: Vikings 28, Niners 21
- 12 October 1986: Vikings 27, Niners 24
- 9 January 1988: Vikings 36, Niners 24 (playoffs)
- 30 October 1988: Niners 24, Vikings 21
- 1 January 1989: Niners 34, Vikings 9 (playoffs)
- 6 January 1990: Niners 41, Vikings 13 (playoffs)
I’ve got to be honest. . .I think that calling this a rivalry is a stretch. The records were fairly even, sure, but look at the scores. When the Niners beat the Vikings, they won by an average of 26.2 points/game. That’s ugly. If it wasn’t for that one Vikings playoff win, I have to wonder whether or not this even would have made the list.
We’ll get more into the Vikings’ various rivalries over the course of the next week, but this was an interesting way to start out. And, hey, who doesn’t want to take an opportunity to revisit that ‘87 playoff game, eh?
(Kudos to The Vikings Wire for finding this story first.)