This past February the Minnesota Vikings’ latest iteration of the iconic Norseman logo turned 10 years old, and sits as the second-longest serving iteration in franchise history.
The Norseman has been with the Vikings from the start, when Los Angeles-based newspaper cartoonist Kurt Hubenthal submitted a preliminary drawing of the Norseman at the personal behest of General Manager Bert Rose.
The logo lasted until 1965 and featured the Norseman facing left, instead of right as in all of the other iterations of the logo. The Norseman’s face, including the obligatory mustache and eyebrows, was colored white and outlined in black. The horns, helmet, and hair of the Norseman was colored a rather dull gold, with a black band passing just above the forehead on the helmet.
The horns were also elongated slightly and set back and lower than all other iterations.
The next iteration, instituted in 1966, lasted all the way through the 1996 season, retired at its 30th birthday. This was by far the longest-serving Norseman. It was also the first Norseman to face right.
The Horns on this Norseman were shortened, raised at a steeper angle, and tapered in as the horn came to its tip. The Horn’s color was also switched to white instead of gold. Speaking of gold, the mustache and eyebrows on this logo was colored gold, but a brighter and less dull shade which was also used for the helmet and hair. The face of the Norseman was also shaded in a light “peach” (like the crayon).
This was also the first year in which the color purple was used on the logo, a very dark shade that was set into the headband on the helmet. The headband itself went through a minor change as it was now the bottom of the helmet, and thickened.
The foundation was now set, and only minor changes would occur to the shape of the Norseman with each of the four iterations of the Norseman to follow.
1997 brought forward a new shade of gold, which was slightly less yellow and a little darker in tone. The shade of the purple headband was also lightened.
2002 saw the purple headband and the skin tone darkened slightly. In 2010 the purple was darkened slightly.
2009 was also a minor update, lightening the purple headband once again...
I think it would be hilarious to hear how many meetings were spent going over the color purple each time it was updated. “Yeah, It would be great if you could just lighten the purple one more time.”
2013 was the first logo to see substantial changes since 1997, over 20 years. The horns of the Norseman were reshaped and smoothened with a brighter white color. The line from the back of the hair to the tip of the braids was also more clearly defined, and the skin tone lightened slightly.
The Minnesota Vikings have had, in this fan’s opinion, an average amount of logo volatility over time. Not as extreme as say the Cincinnati Bengals, but not as stable as the Dallas Cowboys, who haven't changed their logo since 1964.
Personally, my favorite piece of Vikings branding was the 1982-2003 wordmark, which was featured prominently on that sweet, sweet Metrodome turf.
I know it causes PTSD among those that survived through the 1998 debacle, and would go against the look of US Bank Stadium, but I would do some dastardly deeds to bring this back to the end zones for a throwback game.