The saga of the Minnesota Vikings starts in 1959 with five businessmen in Minnesota who won a franchise in the newly formed American Football League (AFL). Just a few months later, in January 1960, the group forfeited their AFL membership and joined the National Football League (NFL) instead as its 14th franchise.
Their first game as a franchise was nothing short of magical. The Vikings were down to the Chicago Bears early, but rookie QB Fran Tarkenton came off the pine and threw four TD passes. He led the Vikings to a crushing 37-13 win over the feared Chicago Bears and cemented his legacy as a legend in the Twin Cities. He went on to become the first Vikings player to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.
Despite that initial game, the Vikings struggled in the NFL and did not make the playoffs until 1968. But, in 1969, the Vikings won the NFL Championship over the Browns 27-7. Minnesota went on to lose Super Bowl IV 23-7 to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Vikings remained a winning team through the 1970s and won the NFC Central nine times between 1970 and 1980. The team played in three Super Bowls during that span but lost each one. Still, the Vikings were one of the winningest teams in history. A title they still hold.
The team continued to be a regular fixture in the playoffs through the late 1980 but never made it past the divisional round. The curse would stick around until 1998 when the Vikings made it to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 1987.
The 1990s brought more of the same with the Vikings making the playoffs most years, only to fail in the playoffs. In 1998 they became the first team in NFL history to finish the regular season at 15-1 and not reach the Super Bowl.
Not much has changed since then and the Vikings remain one of the only pre-merger teams never to win a Super Bowl.
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