Snakebit NFL Franchises: Minnesota Vikings

It’s certain teams in the NFL that fans collectively assume it just isn’t meant for them to prosper. To be snakebit is to have some amazingly awful luck. Let’s a look at some of the NFL franchises with bad luck (over the Super Bowl era).

Minnesota Vikings

  • Zero Super Bowl Titles. (Four Appearances)
  • Four Conference Championships (Nine Appearances)
  • Eighteen Division Championships. Twenty-Seven Playoff Appearances

One of the toughest nicknames in NFL history (in my opinion), “The Purple People Eaters”, refers to the Vikings defensive line from the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. In 1969, the Vikings defense led the NFL in fewest points allowed (133), fewest yards allowed and they had over fifty sacks while their offense led the league in points scored (379) including three fifty point games during the regular season. As NFL Champions, they entered Super Bowl IV as the favorites over the AFC’s Kansas City Chiefs. In what would become a common theme in their four Super Bowl appearances, the Purple People Eater-led Vikings defense didn’t show up and the Chiefs would go onto win due in large part to the fact the Vikings couldn’t slow down the Chiefs offense at all. To be honest, the Vikings lost all four Super Bowl’s by at least ten points and that great defensive line that combined for nineteen Pro Bowl appearances, never showed up. One of the more notable bad luck moments for this franchise occurred in the 1975 divisional round playoffs against the Dallas Cowboys. The 1975 Vikings were arguably the best Vikings team of this era, posting a 12-2 record and led by NFL MVP (and future Hall of Famer) Fran Tarkenton, yet they lost because of a controversial no call on a completed hail mary pass. Cowboys wide receiver Chuck Pearson blatantly pushed off, but it wasn’t called

Other notable moments include:

  • The 8-7 Vikings (NFL lockout caused one game to be missed) made it to the NFC Championship where the lost on the final play to the Washington Redskins when running back Darrin Nelson failed to catch the game winning touchdown. (see video below)
  • Herschel Walker Trade
  • The 15-1 Minnesota Vikings lost to the 11 point underdog Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship after kicker Gary Anderson (who was 35/35 on FG’s that season) missed a kick which would’ve given the Vikings a 10 point lead with 2 minute left. They would eventually lose in overtime.
  • 41-0 loss to the New York Giants in the 2000-2001 NFC Championship
  • Brett Favre’s cross body interception in the 2009-2010 NFC Championship
  • Adrian Peterson’s 2000 yard rushing season ended with a playoff loss when their starting QB Christian Ponder (don’t think he would’ve made a huge difference but still) was injured prompting the Vikings to start Joe Webb at QB. He found out he would be starting merely hours before the game. The Vikings lost to the Packers 24-10.

This is part one of my Snakebit NFL Franchise Series. Make sure you follow me on twitter at to stay up to date


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