All-Time Teams: Minnesota Vikings



Introduction

In my endless research of all things football and through my passion for the history of the NFL, I have decided to try and compile an All-Time Team for all 32 current NFL franchises. By All-Time Team I mean a starting roster compiled of the very best players to ever put on each franchise’s jersey. I will be starting in alphabetical order by current franchise location, so Arizona Cardinals all the way to The Washington Football Team, with the goal of releasing one to two All-Time teams a week for the duration of the current NFL season. This is meant to be fun and cause some debate and is based on my opinion after all my research and deep dives into each franchise’s history. Of course, not everyone will agree with who I chose, and I’d love to hear from anyone who agrees or disagrees, but first, let’s lay out some ground rules for how I came up with each team.


1. Each team roster will consist of the following:

Offense - 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 2 OT, 2 OG, 1 C

Defense - 2 DE, 2 DT, 3 LB, 2 CB, 2 S

Special Teams - 1 K, 1 P, 1 Returner

Coach - 1 Head Coach


2. I only considered an individual’s stats and contributions with each specific franchise. For example, Peyton Manning’s years with the Broncos were not considered when deciding on the starting QB of the Colts All-Time Team. As a result, the stats and awards listed with each individual player are only those that were achieved with that specific franchise.


3. A player cannot represent two teams as the starter. Players who spent time with more than one team were considered for the franchise they spent the most time with or had the most impact on. This rule led to some interesting scenarios that I will discuss in detail with each specific article to try and clear up any confusion.


4. A player’s stats and impact were considered in context with their era. This won’t simply be a listing of who passed or ran for the most yards in franchise history.


5. All stats are from Pro-Football-Reference and through the 2021 season. I will also be counting sacks from 1960, though the NFL doesn't officially count sacks until 1982.


6. Players in the "Honorable Mentions" section are ordered by year. It's not an indication of where I believe they rank in franchise history.


Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to it!


Minnesota Vikings All-Time Team


Franchise Information

First Season: 1961

Record: 503-421-11 (54.44 W-L%)

Playoff Record: 21-30

Super Bowls Won: 0 (Lost in 1969, 1973, 1974 and 1976)

Pre-Super Bowl NFL Championships Won: 1 (1969)

Passing Leader: Fran Tarkenton 2,635/4,569 | 33,098 Yds | 239 TD

Rushing Leader: Adrian Peterson 2,418 Att | 11,747 Yds | 97 TD

Receiving Leader: Cris Carter 1,004 Rec | 12,383 Yds | 110 TD

Sack Leader: Carl Eller 130.5 Sk

Interception Leader: Paul Krause 53 Int

Scoring Leader: Fred Cox 1,365 Points

Winningest Coach: Bud Grant 158-96-5


QB: Fran Tarkenton (1961-1966, 1972-1978)

Record: 91-73-6 | 57.7 Cmp% | 33,098 Yds | 239 TD | 194 Int | 2,548 Rush Yds | 22 Rush TD | Led League in Cmp 1975, 1976 and 1978 (273, 255, 345) | Led League in Cmp% 1977 (60.1%) | Led League in Yds 1978 (3,468) | Led League in TD 1975 (25) | Led League in Yds/G 1978 (216.8) | 5x Pro-Bowl (64, 65, 74, 75, 76) | 1x All-Pro (75) | 1975 MVP | 1975 Offensive Player of the Year | 1975 Bert Bell | 1973, 1974 and 1976 NFC Champion | Hall of Fame Class 1986


Fran Tarkenton is the only real choice at quarterback for the All-Time Vikings. Tarkenton was the most prolific passer of his era and was one of the first quarterbacks to use his legs as a weapon as well. He's still the franchise leader in passing and led the league in completions three times, completion percentage once, yards once, touchdowns once and yards per game once as well. Tarkenton is easily one of the greatest to ever live and too often gets overlooked in discussions of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. At his retirement, Tarkenton had completed more passes for more yards and more touchdowns than anyone else in history. He also held the records for rushing yards and touchdowns by a quarterback as well. The only thing missing from his resume is a Super Bowl victory, though he did guide the Vikings to three appearances. Tarkenton was voted to five Pro-Bowls, one All-Pro Team and was named both the 1975 MVP and Offensive Player of the Year. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986.

Honorable Mentions

  1. Joe Kapp (1967-1969) | Record: 23-12-3 | 50.2 Cmp% | 4,807 Yds | 37 TD | 47 Int | 540 Rush Yds | 5 Rush TD | 1x Pro-Bowl (69) | 1969 NFL Champion

  2. Tommy Kramer (1977-1989) | Record: 54-56 | 55.1 Cmp% | 24,775 Yds | 159 TD | 157 Int | 531 Rush Yds | 8 Rush TD | Led League in QB Rating 1986 (92.6) | 1x Pro-Bowl (86) | 1986 Comeback Player of the Year

  3. Wade Wilson (1981-1991) | Record: 27-21 | 55.8 Cmp% | 12,135 Yds | 66 TD | 75 Int | 679 Rush Yds | 9 Rush TD | Led League in Cmp% 1988 (61.4%) | Led League in Yds/A 1987 (8) | 1x Pro-Bowl (88)

  4. Warren Moon (1994-1996) | Record: 21-18 | 60.7 Cmp% | 10,102 Yds | 58 TD | 42 Int | 143 Rush Yds | Led League in Cmp 1995 (377) | 2x Pro-Bowl (94, 95) | Hall of Fame Class 2006

  5. Brad Johnson (1994-1998, 2005-2006) | Record: 28-18 | 62 Cmp% | 11,098 Yds | 65 TD | 48 Int | 368 Rush Yds | 2 Rush TD

  6. Randall Cunningham (1997-1999) | Record: 16-7 | 59.9 Cmp% | 5,680 Yds | 49 TD | 23 Int | 317 Rush Yds | 1 Rush TD | Led League in QB Rating 1998 (106) | 1x Pro-Bowl (98) | 1x All-Pro (98) | 1998 Bert Bell

  7. Daunte Culpepper (1999-2006) | Record: 38-42 | 64.4 Cmp% | 20,162 Yds | 135 TD | 86 Int | 2,476 Rush Yds | 29 Rush TD | Led League in Cmp 2004 (379) | Led League in Yds 2004 (4,717) | Led League in TD 2000 (33) | Led League in Yds/G 2004 (294.8) | 3x Pro-Bowl (00, 03, 04)

  8. Brett Favre (2009-2010) | Record: 17-12 | 65.2 Cmp% | 6,711 Yds | 44 TD | 26 Int | 1x Pro-Bowl (09) | Hall of Fame Class 2016

  9. Kirk Cousins (2018-Present) | Record: 33-29-1 | 68.3 Cmp% | 16,387 Yds | 124 TD | 36 Int | 457 Rush Yds | 4 Rush TD | 2x Pro-Bowl (19, 21)


RB: Adrian Peterson (2007-2016)

4.9 Yds/A | 11,747 Yds | 97 TD | 241 Rec | 1,945 Rec Yds | 5 Rec TD | Led League in Yds 2008, 2012 and 2015 (1,760, 2,097, 1,485) | Led League in TD 2009 and 2015 (18, 11) | Led League in Yds/G 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2015 (95.8, 110, 131.1, 92.8) | Led League in YScm 2008 and 2012 (1,885, 2,314) | Led League in RRTD 2009 (18) | 7x Pro-Bowl (07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 15) | 4x All-Pro (08, 09, 12, 15) | 2012 MVP | 2007 Offensive Rookie of the Year | 2008 and 2012 Bert Bell | 2012 Offensive Player of the Year | 2012 Comeback Player of the Year | Hall of Fame All-2010s Team


Another easy choice here. Adrian Peterson is probably the best running back of the past decade. He led the league in yards three times, touchdowns twice, yards per game four times, yards from scrimmage twice and combined rushing and receiving touchdowns once. Most famously in 2012, Peterson returned from an ACL tear to rush for the second most yards in a single season in NFL history and win the MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, and Comeback Player of the Year awards. He was voted to seven Pro-Bowls, four All-Pro Teams and the Hall of Fame All-2010s Team. Peterson currently ranks fifth in yards and fourth in touchdowns in NFL history and will surely be a first ballot Hall of Famer.


RB: Chuck Foreman (1973-1979)

3.8 Yds/A | 5,887 Yds | 52 TD | 336 Rec | 3,057 Rec Yds | 23 Rec TD | Led League in Rec 1975 (73) | Led League in RRTD 1974 and 1976 (15, 14) | 5x Pro-Bowl (73, 74, 75, 76, 77) | 1x All-Pro (75) | 1973 Offensive Rookie of the Year


The Vikings have a few other good running backs in their history and I'm going with Chuck Foreman here. Foreman was voted to five straight Pro-Bowls from 1973-1977 and named to the All-Pro Team in 1975. He led the league in receptions in 1975 and in combined rushing and receiving touchdowns in both 1974 and 1975. Foreman isn't quite a Hall of Famer, but he was very good in his seven seasons in Minnesota and will make a solid starter here.


Honorable Mentions

  1. Tommy Mason (1961-1966) | 4.3 Yds/A | 3,252 Yds | 28 TD | 151 Rec | 1,689 Rec Yds | 11 Rec TD | 3x Pro-Bowl (62, 63, 64) | 1x All-Pro (63)

  2. Bill Brown (1962-1974) | 3.5 Yds/A | 5,757 Yds | 52 TD | 284 Rec | 3,177 Rec Yds | 23 Rec TD | 4x Pro-Bowl (64, 65, 67, 68)

  3. Dave Osborn (1965-1975) | 3.7 Yds/A | 4,320 Yds | 29 TD | 173 Rec | 1,412 Rec Yds | 7 Rec | 1x Pro-Bowl (70)

  4. Ted Brown (1979-1986) | 4.1 Yds/A | 4,546 Yds | 40 TD | 339 Rec | 2,850 Rec Yds | 13 Rec TD

  5. Darrin Nelson (1982-1989, 1991-1992) | 4.3 Yds/A | 4,231 Yds | 18 TD | 251 Rec | 2,202 Rec Yds | 5 Rec TD | Led League in Yds/A 1987 (4.9)

  6. Robert Smith (1993-2000) | 4.8 Yds/A | 6,818 Yds | 32 TD | 178 Rec | 1,292 Rec Yds | 6 Rec TD | 2x Pro-Bowl (98, 00)

  7. Dalvin Cook (2017-Present) | 4.7 Yds/A | 4,820 Yds | 39 TD | 182 Rec | 1,499 Rec Yds | 3 Rec TD | 3x Pro-Bowl (19, 20, 21)


WR: Randy Moss (1998-2004, 2010)

587 Rec | 9,316 Yds | 92 TD | Led League in TD 1998, 2000 and 2003 (17, 15, 17) | 5x Pro-Bowl (98, 99, 00, 02, 03) | 3x All-Pro (98, 00, 03) | 1998 Offensive Rookie of the Year | Hall of Fame All-2000s Team | Hall of Fame Class 2018


Wide receiver is one of the strongest positions for the Vikings. First up is Randy Moss. Moss took the league by storm in 1998 when he led the league in touchdowns and was named to the Pro-Bowl and All-Pro Teams and named the Offensive Rookie of the Year. He would go on to lead the league in touchdowns two more times with the Vikings and was voted to five total Pro-Bowls and three All-Pro Teams. He had at least 1,200 yards in six seasons and at least 10 touchdowns in six as well. Moss is currently fourth in yards and second in touchdowns in NFL history. He was named to the Hall of Fame All-2000s Team and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018.

WR: Cris Carter (1990-2001)

1,004 Rec | 12,383 Yds | 110 TD | Led League in Rec 1994 (122) | Led League in TD 1995, 1997 and 1999 (17, 13, 13) | 8x Pro-Bowl (93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 00) | 2x All-Pro (94, 99) | 1999 Walter Payton Man of the Year | Hall of Fame All-1990s Team | Hall of Fame Class 2013


From one great wide receiver to the next. Cris Carter is the franchiser leader in receptions, yards and touchdowns. He led the league in receptions once and touchdowns three different times. Carter is known for his hands of glue and his uncanny ability to catch the ball with one hand. He was voted to eight straight Pro-Bowls from 1993-2000 and the All-Pro Team in both 1994 and 1999. Carter was named to the Hall of Fame All-1990s Team and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.


WR: Anthony Carter (1985-1993)

478 Rec | 7,636 Yds | 52 TD | Led League in Yds/Rec 1987 (24.3) | 3x Pro-Bowl (87, 88, 89)


After Carter and Moss, there's a little bit of a drop off at the position. There are still a few players that were very good in Minnesota, including Anthony Carter. Carter had just under 8,000 yards and 52 touchdowns during his years in Minnesota. He led the league in receptions in 1987 and was named to three straight Pro-Bowls from 1987-1989. Ahmad Rashad was a very close second here.


Honorable Mentions

  1. Ray Flatley (1963-1967) | 202 Rec | 3,222 Yds | 17 TD | 1x Pro-Bowl (66) | 1963 Offensive Rookie of the Year

  2. Gene Washington (1967-1972) | 172 Rec | 3,087 Yds | 23 TD | 2x Pro-Bowl (69, 70) | 1x All-Pro (69)

  3. John Gilliam (1972-1975) | 165 Rec | 3,297 Yds | 27 TD | Led League in Yds/Rec 1972 (22) | 4x Pro-Bowl (72, 73, 74, 75)

  4. Ahmad Rashad (1976-1982) | 400 Rec | 5,489 Yds | 34 TD | 4x Pro-Bowl (78, 79, 80, 81)

  5. Sammy White (1976-1985) | 393 Rec | 6,400 Yds | 50 TD | 2x Pro-Bowl (76, 77) | 1976 Rookie of the Year

  6. Jake Reed (1991-1999, 2001) | 413 Rec | 6,433 Yds | 33 TD

  7. Percy Harvin (2009-2012) | 280 Rec | 3,302 Yds | 20 TD | 1x Pro-Bowl (09) | 2009 Offensive Rookie of the Year

  8. Adam Thielen (2014-Present) | 464 Rec | 5,966 Yds | 49 TD | 2x Pro-Bowl (17, 18)

  9. Justin Jefferson (2020-Present) | 196 Rec | 3,016 Yds | 17 TD | Led League in Yds/Tch 2021 (14.3) | 2x Pro-Bowl (20, 21)


TE: Steve Jordan (1982-1994)