The Minnesota Vikings have an interesting history that started with them almost becoming an AFL team before being lured into the NFL instead. They have over the years put together some fantastic seasons and played some great games. They also have had some awesome players, including Fran Tarkenton, Hugh McElhenny, Chuck Foreman, Jim Marshall, Carl Eller, Ahmad Rashad, John Randle, Randy Moss, Dante Culpepper, Adrian Peterson, Brett Favre, and many others. It all started though back in the early 1960’s, when the team played it’s first game ever.
The game was played on Sunday, September 17th in 1961 at Metropolitan Stadium. The Vikings were hosting their brand new rival, the Chicago Bears, one of the most storied franchises in NFL history. The game started out rather slowly and at the end of the first quarter only a field goal by Mike Mercer had put any points up on the board and the Vikings were leading 3-0. In the second quarter, Fran Tarkenton would hit Bob Schnelker for a 14 yard touchdown pass and Bears running back Rick Casares would score from three yards out, though they would miss the extra point attempt. At halftime, the Vikings had to be extra happy to be up by the score of 10-6.
The second half started with another Tarkenton touchdown pass, this one from 29 yards out to Jerry Reichow. They would follow this up with another touchdown pass, this one from two yards out from Tarkenton to Hugh McElhenny. The third quarter would end with Minnesota in charge by the score of 24-6. Tarkenton would start the fourth quarter scoring off with a two yard touchdown run, which he then followed up with a two yard touchdown pass to Dave Middleton. Before the game ended, Bears wide receiver Willie Galimore would haul in a ten yard touchdown pass from quarterback Billy Wade. The final score would be 37-13 with the Vikings not only winning their first game ever, but winning their first game against their future rivals the Chicago Bears.
Quarterback Fran Tarkenton lived up to the big promises he had coming out of college by completing 17 of 23 passes for 250 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also carried the ball four times for 11 yards and one touchdown. This win was quite the feather in a young team’s cap.