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1998 Minnesota Vikings


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Watched the Dallas vs Vikings game from 1998 last night, was on NFL Network.  And damn that 1998 Vikings team was good!  In terms of weaknesses sure they did not have great CB depth or any real safety depth, and Edwards was a little bit of a weak link at OLB.  Still considering they played good enough on defense and those four starters were not bad, Hitchcock being the field corner usually and had good ball skills and confidence, Fuller a little stronger tackler and Griffith was a head hunter on D and hit as well as anyone in the NFL and Thomas was a good ball hawk.   Most the season with their backup QB who was quite old at the time and had the best season of his career arguably.  Yeah his supporting cast was outstanding and offensively they were clearly stacked on the line, at receiver and at RB.  Had great special teams play as well with good kicker, punter and awesome return man in Palmer.

 

Not to mention it had probably the most characters on any one team ever.  I mean Chris Carter and Randy Moss are both on TV or have been and both are wildly entertaining to listen to, Robert Smith also works as an announcer/analyst,  along with the best trash talker in NFL history John Randle! . Even Mitch Berger did some TV work while he was on the team with Vikings live.  Not to mention Mike Morris, Chris Walsh was a character, Robert Giffith had some absolute swag, same with Jimmy Hitchcock and Dwayne Rudd.  E  Randall McDaniel is classic dude, Korey was a fun guy and same with Steussie or Jerry Ball etc.  Heck even Gary Anderson had to have some confidence to wear a facemask like he did with the one bar.  Just think what they could have accomplished if one John Randle was not injured in that last game which greatly hurt the defense with their emotional leader down, and Gary of course and that little tiny field goal miss.  

 

QB Randall Cunningham / Brad Johnson / Jay Fiedler
RB Robert Smith / Leroy Hoard / Moe Williams
FB Chuck Evans / Harold Marrow
WR Cris Carter / Randy Moss / Jake Reed / Chris Walsh / Matthew Hatchette / David Palmer / Robert Tate
TE Andrew Glover / Hunter Goodwin 
OT Korey Stringer /
OG Randall McDaniel / 
C Jeff Christy / Matt Birk
OG David Dixon / Everett Lindsay
OT Todd Steussie / Chris Liwienski 

 
DE Derrick Alexander /  Duane Clemons 
DT Tony Williams / Jason Fisk
DT Jerry Ball /
DE John Randle / Stalin Colinet
OLB Dwayne Rudd / Pete Bercich
ILB Ed McDaniel / Kivuusama Mays
OLB Dixon Edwards / Kailee Wong
CB Jimmy Hitchcock / Ramos McDonald
SS Robert Griffith /
FS Orlando Thomas /
CB Corey Fuller /
 
 
K Gary Anderson
P Mitch Berger
LS Mike Morris
KR/PR David Palmer
 
 
 
Randall Cunningham 3704 passing yards, 34 TDs
Chris Carter 78 catches, 1011 yards, 12 TDs
Randy Moss 69 catches, 1313 yards, 17 TDs
Robert Smith 1187 yards rushing, 6 TDs
John Randle 41 Tackles, 10.5 Sacks, 3 FF, 
Ed McDaniel 128 tackles, 3 FF, 7 Sacks
Robert Griffith 89 tackles, 2 FF, 5 INT
Corey Fuller 79 tackles,  4 INT
Jimmy Hitchcock 67 tackles, 7 INT
Derrick Alexander 42 tackles, 7.5 Sacks
Dwayne Rudd 93 tackles,  
Andrew Glover 35 catches, 522 yards, 5 TDs
Jake Reed 34 catches, 474 yards, 4 TDs
Leroy Hoard 479 rushing yards, 9 TDs
Orlando Thomas 69 tackles, 2 INT

 
 
 
An absolutely great football team and really is an all time great football team in NFL history.  Easily one of the best teams to not win the Super Bowl and one of the best Viking teams ever. 
 
SKOL
 
 
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Edited by Ozzy
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Chris Carter created X-Files.  😆

 

But, as I told someone the other day, I will never get over that game...ever.  I moved on from the '09 and '17 teams in a day or 2, that one still sticks in my craw.

Edited by swede700
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14 minutes ago, swede700 said:

Chris Carter created X-Files.  😆

 

But, as I told someone the other day, I will never get over that game...ever.  I moved on from the '09 and '17 teams in a day or 2, that one still sticks in my craw.

Same for me. I can't watched replays of that game and probably never will. Team was so fun to watched. 

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1 hour ago, swede700 said:

Chris Carter created X-Files.  😆

 

But, as I told someone the other day, I will never get over that game...ever.  I moved on from the '09 and '17 teams in a day or 2, that one still sticks in my craw.

Good call, sorry I spell Chris like most human beings do.  Corrected the error.

 

Get over a game?  Yeah my enjoyment of watching that team play and watching those personalities on and off the field greatly outweighs the result of the season.  Sure it sucked but that Blair Walsh miss against Seattle was a nut punch just the same. Top to bottom that team had a ton of talent at every position, special teams playmakers to offensive line and so on.  Hell Matt Birk was a rookie and then turned into one of the best centers in the NFL.  It was an amazing football team.  

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14 minutes ago, rusty28264 said:

Wasnt Stringer the right tackle? And wasnt Randle at DT and not a DE?

I did not indicate RT or LT or RG or LG.  But yeah he was, still to me he was the better of those two tackles easily, kid could play.  John Randle yes was a DT over his career but I think this season he is listed as a DE and played DE a lot, in that Cowboy game he was outside at DE quite often and must have been because they were not sold on Clemons starting and liked Tony Williams and Ball enough to put Randle at DE but sure they moved him around of course.  Wong rushed as a DE at times as well in that Dallas game.

 

When Randle was DT the two seasons before they had Fernando Smith at DE, then the year 1999 Chris Doleman was the DE along with Randle and they have Ball and Williams in the middle again.  Then Hovan in 2000 and Talance Sawyer at DE.  On passing downs though no question they moved Randle around and a lot was on the inside depending on the matchup.  

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Randle played a different position on most every snap...it's what made him so good.  He was listed as a DT, but he played everywhere along the line.  But, why I can't get over that game @Ozzy is because that was their moment.  That was their best chance in my lifetime to make and possibly win the Super Bowl.  The '87 team was just happy to be there.  The '09 team was good, but won in spite of the coach and the way they fumbled the ball over and over again, were lucky to even have a chance to win the game...and the other 2 ('00 and '17) were out of the game shortly into it.  The '98 team may not have won the Super Bowl, but I still feel they would have given the Broncos a far better game than the Falcons did.  The Falcons had no business competing on the level with the Broncos...the Vikings did.

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5 hours ago, swede700 said:

That was their best chance in my lifetime to make and possibly win the Super Bowl.  The '87 team was just happy to be there.  The '09 team was good, but won in spite of the coach and the way they fumbled the ball over and over again, were lucky to even have a chance to win the game...and the other 2 ('00 and '17) were out of the game shortly into it.  The '98 team may not have won the Super Bowl, but I still feel they would have given the Broncos a far better game than the Falcons did.  The Falcons had no business competing on the level with the Broncos...the Vikings did.

The 1987 team was playing great defense in the playoffs (which continued the following year, when they were the best in the league). They were mediocre at QB and went 0-3 in scab games or they would've been rated higher. They would've mopped the floor with the Broncos in the Super Bowl, who'd they'd beaten earlier that year, before the defense came together. 

The 2009 team played really well in the NFCCG, except for the fumbles. They still deserved to win, and would've, if not for the uncalled late hits on Favre and the stupid 12 men penalty. They were better than the Colts and would've had a good chance to win that Super Bowl too. 

The 2017 team would've lost at home to the Patriots. The defense fell apart in the playoffs and there's no way Keenum was going to score 30+ facing a Belichick defense to keep up.

The 1998 Vikings were a Cinderella team but the 1998 Broncos were really good -- almost as good record (14-2) and points differential (+192) and an even better DVOA (1st in the league). It would've been a shootout -- there was no chance a Denny Green defense was going to keep a Shanahan/Kubiak offense under 30 points. The Broncos were experienced, and had won it all the year before. Maybe the Vikings win that game but I don't think their chances were much better than 50/50.

So while the 1998 team was clearly the best in franchise history, weirdly the 1987 team was the best chance the franchise has had to win it all. The AFC was such a powderpuff conference at that point, the early Elway Broncos would've been lucky to score 10 points on that Vikings defense. If Darrin Nelson catches the ball on the goal line, the Super Bowl comes down to overtime at RFK stadium. 

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21 hours ago, Ozzy said:

An absolutely great football team and really is an all time great football team in NFL history.  Easily one of the best teams to not win the Super Bowl and one of the best Viking teams ever.

Thanks for this post. 

I was lucky enough to attend the 20 year anniversary celebration for the 1998 team. There was a pregame ceremony honoring the team before the season opener vs SF. The night before, they had a wine and cheese and a Q&A session in the auditorium at the TCO centre. They only sold 98 tickets to fans but I clicked through on the email as soon as I received it and landed tickets for my dad, my brother, my oldest son and me. 

About 30 of the players and coaches from the '98 team attended. Most of them mingled with the fans for an hour or so -- we got to chat with Matt Birk, Randall McDaniel, Robert Griffith, Brian Billick and others. Mitch Berger let my son try on his Super Bowl ring (which he won with the Steelers). John Randle was there but didn't stop to talk to fans. I was hoping to meet Robert Smith, but he was doing an NCAA game that Saturday and only came in for the pregame ceremony the next morning. Randy Moss didn't attend.

I missed most of that season. I'd moved to Japan that year. None of the games were televised there, and I didn't have internet access so had to look at boxscores in the English language newspaper. I had to rely on updates from my family back in Canada who told me how great Moss looked, etc. I finally did get satellite cable in time for the playoffs, so I saw the playoff demolition of the Saints and then the fateful NFCCG loss. I was literally on my knees in the middle of my one room apartment in Kyoto at 6am, having stayed up all night, when Anderson's kick went wide. 

My dad and my brother went to their first Vikings game in 1998 -- the Bucs game where Moss scored his first TD, tipping a Brad Johnson pass to himself at the goal line. That started a tradition of the men in our family going to a game every year, driving down from Winnipeg, or years later flying in from places further away. When I got home from Japan in 2000 the family Vikings trips broadened to include me and my uncle (two sets of brothers). My uncle eventually backed out, as he found the travel too much at his age. By that point, my oldest boy was part of the group, and in 2019, my youngest came along too (to the Falcons game).

Given the Covid situation, we won't be going this year -- only the second time we've missed in 22 years (the other being after the birth of my youngest, who arrived the day Adrian Peterson got suspended in Zimmer's second week as HC). My dad's getting up there, so I doubt we'll be able to go again until there's a vaccine. Fingers crossed for that.

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40 minutes ago, Krauser said:

The 1987 team was playing great defense in the playoffs (which continued the following year, when they were the best in the league). They were mediocre at QB and went 0-3 in scab games or they would've been rated higher. They would've mopped the floor with the Broncos in the Super Bowl, who'd they'd beaten earlier that year, before the defense came together. 

The 2009 team played really well in the NFCCG, except for the fumbles. They still deserved to win, and would've, if not for the uncalled late hits on Favre and the stupid 12 men penalty. They were better than the Colts and would've had a good chance to win that Super Bowl too. 

The 2017 team would've lost at home to the Patriots. The defense fell apart in the playoffs and there's no way Keenum was going to score 30+ facing a Belichick defense to keep up.

The 1998 Vikings were a Cinderella team but the 1998 Broncos were really good -- almost as good record (14-2) and points differential (+192) and an even better DVOA (1st in the league). It would've been a shootout -- there was no chance a Denny Green defense was going to keep a Shanahan/Kubiak offense under 30 points. The Broncos were experienced, and had won it all the year before. Maybe the Vikings win that game but I don't think their chances were much better than 50/50.

So while the 1998 team was clearly the best in franchise history, weirdly the 1987 team was the best chance the franchise has had to win it all. The AFC was such a powderpuff conference at that point, the early Elway Broncos would've been lucky to score 10 points on that Vikings defense. If Darrin Nelson catches the ball on the goal line, the Super Bowl comes down to overtime at RFK stadium. 

You might be right, but then that would have meant that the '87 Super Bowl would have just consisted of 2 teams that didn't belong there.  I imagine that Elway would have torched the Vikings with their Three Amigos on the final drive of the game and future Viking Rich Karlis kicking a FG to win.  Recall that the Vikings only beat them by a TD at home earlier in the year.  

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55 minutes ago, swede700 said:

Recall that the Vikings only beat them by a TD at home earlier in the year.  

It was 34-17 before Denver scored 10 garbage time points. That was still early in the season, the first week back from the strike. The pass defense didn't fully click until the second half of the year.

The 1987 Vikings would've been one of the weaker Super Bowl winners, but they were nearly as good as Washington (took them to OT in week 17, and lost the NFCCG on that one play). I think they would've beaten Denver handily.

Edited by Krauser
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11 minutes ago, Krauser said:

It was 34-17 before Denver scored 10 garbage time points. That was still early in the season, the first week back from the strike. The pass defense didn't fully click until the second half of the year.

The 1987 Vikings would've been one of the weaker Super Bowl winners, but they were nearly as good as Washington (took them to OT in week 17, and lost the NFCCG on that one play). I think they would've beaten Denver handily.

I have a lot of affection for the '87 team.  Anthony Carter was a force to be reckoned with.  Wade Wilson had a Keenumesgue season.  Darrin Nelson was an adequate running back.  The other offensive star was Steve Jordan...who, I believe, is the best tight end the Vikings ever had.  The offensive line was really good.  The defense...once they got going...was the best in the NFC...including the NY Giants!  Just some amazing talent along with guys playing better than they had any right to play, all gelling at the right time.  Yes.  They would've beaten the Broncos.

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The '87 Vikings team is underrated because of the replacement players. The Vikings should have been the higher seed and if they were I think they win the Super Bowl. The Vikings replacement players were 0-3 and lost to the eventual division winning Bears. The Redskins scabs were 3-0 iirc.

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If anyone is interested in hearing more about the '87 team, here is a link to the podcast of an interview that Dan Barriero did with Vikings DT Keith Millard, who was a big part of that team.  They talk about that season, and there is some interesting information in there.  Millard is my favorite defensive Viking of all time.  The interview with Keith starts at the 39:00 mark.

https://www.iheart.com/podcast/139-the-dan-barreiro-show-26981004/episode/bumper-to-bumper-keith-millard-pat-56619016/

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