Cam Harren describes the rough past Vikings fans endured and looks to the future.
I’ve been a Vikings fan for the last seven or eight seasons, and it didn’t occur to me when I first started to watch them how much of history is filled with sadness and defeat. Throughout our 56 seasons in the NFL, we have the ninth best all-time regular season record, but don’t have a single Super Bowl win to show for it. We have one of the worst postseason winning percentages, and we’ve had a quarterback carousel that rivals the Chicago Bears. It has been rough being a Vikings fan, and today, I’ll be sharing the history of the Vikings so that people who don’t know about them will understand why there’s so much nihilism amongst Vikings fans. So let’s get into it. Oh, and also a “TRIGGER WARNING,” for any Vikings fans who might have suffered PTSD from some of these moments.
The Vikings first NFL season was in 1961, and for the first seven seasons of our existence, we were wildly mediocre. It wasn’t until 1968 that we made our first playoff appearance, where we lost to the Baltimore Colts in the divisional round. We made the Super Bowl the next year and lost to the Kansas City Chiefs. The next eleven seasons saw the Vikings winning the division nine times, but losing in three Super Bowls; having a heart breaking loss against the Cowboys in the 1975 divisional playoff game where the Cowboys threw the first ever last-second “Hail Mary” pass (the game itself is referred to as “The Hail Mary”).
After this stretch, we spent the early 80’s struggling to make the playoffs. We made it back to the NFC Championship (Redskins) in 1987, and then proceeded to win only one playoff game in six playoff appearances until 1997. Then 1998 happened.
The 1998 is the best season the Vikings have ever had, and might ever have. They went 15-1 in the regular season, with outstanding players such as our quarterback Randall Cunningham, Randy Moss and Chris Carter. We were the favorites to win the Super Bowl. Then Gary Anderson missed his first field goal of the season against the Falcons in the NFC Championship, the Falcons were able to send it into overtime where they ended up winning with a field goal.
After that season we made the playoffs the next couple of years, but never returned to the form we had in the ‘98 season. We spent most of the 2000’s not making the playoffs, including the 2003 season where we lost seven of our last ten games, including a loss to the 3-12 Arizona Cardinals at the last second. Which kicked us out of the playoffs. We then struck gold with Adrian Peterson in 2008, and in 2009 we acquired Brett Favre, who led us to a 12-4 season and to the NFC Championship game, where he threw an interception towards the end of the game just outside of game-winning field goal range.
After that loss, we spent most of the early 2010’s having mediocre seasons including a 3-13 season; which ties our worst record ever. Then in the 2014 draft we got Teddy Bridgewater, who a year later led us to the playoffs against the Seattle Seahawks, where Blair Walsh missed a chip-shot, 27 yard, game-winning field goal. Which is the first painful memory that I have as a Vikings fan. To make matters worse, Teddy Bridgewater injured himself in training camp the following summer and they put him on IR making the “Vikes” have to pick up Sam Bradford. Who started us out the next season at 5-0, until we lost eight of our last eleven games and missed the playoffs.
And this is the history of the Vikings in all of its sad and painful glory. It has been rough being a Vikings fan, but I still see a bright spot in all of this. I see a team’s fan base that never leaves its side. When I went to a Vikings game back in 2012, I could see thousands of people who were passionate about a team that has let them down so many times in the past. I know that despite all the defeat, we have one of the most loyal and dedicated fan bases of any team in the NFL and I’m glad to be a part of it. One day we will win our first Super Bowl (maybe it’ll be in February), and all of our painful memories can be erased. But until then, we just have to keep cheering, and keep believing (through thick and thin) because that’s what a real fan of a sports team does. And besides, it could be worse, we could be the Cleveland Browns.
Harren is enrolled in Kristi Swanson’s communications and broadcasting course at CHS.