The Minnesota Vikings have called the Minneapolis area home since their first year in professional football, 1961. Through the years, there have been up times and down times for Vikings players and fans. They have had their share of Super Bowl trips but also had more than enough below .500 seasons too. What was the worst season the Vikings have ever had though?
The team’s worst record in the 2000’s was the 5-11 mark they put up in 2001. The worst they did during the 1990’s was 6-10 in 1990. The 1980’s saw them put up a horrible 3-13 record in 1984. The Vikings were very successful in the 1970’s, their worst record being at .500 when they went 7-7 in 1972.
Many teams, especially teams that join an existing league, have their worst record during their first year of pro football. The Vikings would go 3-11 in 1961, their first year as a team, but that wasn’t their worst year ever. Their worst year ever was 1962, their second year in pro football.
Fran Tarkenton led the team in passing with 2,595 yards and 22 touchdowns, but unfortunately he also threw 25 interceptions. Tommy Mason was the best runner on the team, gaining 740 yards on the ground. Mason also had more receiving yards than anyone else on the team with 603. The main problem was the defense though as the Vikings scored a somewhat respectable 18.1 points a game that season, but gave up an abysmal 29.3 points a game.
The year started off with an expected loss to the Green Bay Packers by the score of 34-7. The Baltimore Colts would come into town the next week and beat the Vikings by the very same score. The Vikings would continue to struggle offensively in week three by again scoring just one touchdown and losing 21-7 to the San Francisco 49ers. Week four would be both a high and a low as the defense would hold the Chicago Bears to just 13 points, but the offense would be shutout. The Green Bay Packers would come into Minnesota in week five and score the most points any team would against them by beating them 48-21. Week 6 would see the season turn around with the Vikings winning 38-14 on the road against the Los Angeles Rams. They would do the unthinkable and record back to back victories by winning the next week 31-21 over the Philadelphia Eagles at home. At the halfway point of the season they had a 2-5 record.
The second half of the season started out with a 39-31 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers followed by a heartbreaking 31-30 loss to the Bears. Their offense would be stymied in week 10 when they lost to the Detroit Lions 17-6. Week 11 would see them avoid losing a game for the third time that year when they tied the Rams 24-24 at home. The 49ers came to town the next week and beat up the Vikings 35-12. The season would end with two road games where the Vikings would first lose to the Lions 37-23 and then to the Colts 42-17 to finish the season at 2-11-1.
The Vikings have had some great years, including posting double digit win numbers for seven out of eight consecutive years from 1969 to 1976 and even going 15-1 in 1998. They don’t ever want to return to those days of the early 1960’s though, especially 1962 when they had their worst season ever.