Throughout the course of their history, the Minnesota Vikings have had a lot of very, very good teams. Football Outsiders pointed out that approximately two-thirds of the Vikings’ season have been part of an “era of disappointment,” but they have provided us fans with a lot of good memories over that time.
But which Vikings’ team was the best in franchise history? CBS Sports has made their choice, and it’s likely going to touch off a bit of a debate between older and younger fans.
In an article penned by Bryan DeArdo, CBS Sports names the 1998 Vikings as the best team in franchise history. Here’s what they had to say about that edition of the Vikings:
With respect to Bud Grant’s four Super Bowl teams, the ‘98 Vikings are the most dominant team in franchise history. They are also arguably the greatest NFL team that didn’t reach the Super Bowl. Led by Hall of Fame receivers Randy Moss (that year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year) and Cris Carter, All-Pro quarterback Randall Cunningham, Hall of Fame defensive end John Randle, and an offensive line that featured three Pro Bowlers, the Vikings lost one game (27-24 to the Buccaneers in Week 9) during the regular season. Minnesota, which scored a then-NFL record 556 points during the regular season, ran away from the Cardinals in the divisional round before hosting the Falcons in the NFC title game.
Despite jumping out to a 20-7 lead, the Vikings never fully distanced themselves from the Falcons, who pulled to within a touchdown of Minnesota late in the fourth quarter. And after a missed field goal by Gary Anderson (who made each of his first 39 attempts that season), the Falcons tied the score with less than a minute left. Atlanta, after forcing two Vikings punts, won the game in overtime. The Falcons were ultimately dismantled in Super Bowl XXXIII, while the Vikings continue to search for their next trip to the big game.
Now, as I always say whenever I point out an article like this, the Bud Grant-era Vikings pre-date my time as a Vikings fan, save for the one season that he came back to right the ship after the Les Steckel disaster. I know those teams made it to four Super Bowls, but I can’t speak as intelligently about those teams as I can about more recent versions.
Having said that, I can say with very little reservation that the 1998 Vikings are, by some distance, the greatest team that I’ve witnessed as a Vikings fan. From the dominance of Randy Moss and Cris Carter to the renaissance of Randall Cunningham and a defense that was very good but overshadowed by the offensive dominance, I don’t think the Vikings have put together a team since then that could match up with the ‘98 squad.
There are some more modern teams you might be able to make a case for, whether it’s 2009 or 2017, but I still think the 1998 team would crush both of those teams fairly easily if they were to match up in some way.
What do you think of the choice that CBS Sports has made? Do you think the 1998 team is the right choice or would one of the older-school teams have been a better selection?