The 1998 Minnesota Vikings

Brad BerremanAnalyst IMay 8, 2009

30 Dec 2001:  Wide Receiver Cris Carter #80 of the Minnesota Vikings stands ready on the line against the Green Bay Packers during the NFL game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  The Packers defeated the Vikings 24-13.  Mandatory Credit:  Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The 1998 Minnesota Vikings, led by head coach Dennis Green, were an offensive juggernaut. They scored a then-league record 556 points during the regular season on their way to a 15-1 regular season record and an appearance in the NFC Championship Game.

Brad Johnson started the 1998 season as the Vikings' starting QB, but Randall Cunningham took over when Johnson was injured early in the season. Cunningham threw for 3,704 yards and 34 touchdowns that season. He really came out of nowhere, as he had been out of the league as recently as 1996 before joining the Vikings in 1997.

As luck would have it, WR Randy Moss fell to the Vikings at the 21st overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft due to concerns about his character. Moss would set a rookie record for touchdown receptions with 17 and catch 69 passes for 1,313 yards.

Joining Moss was WR Cris Carter, who had a team-leading 78 receptions for 1,011 yards and 12 touchdowns. WR Jake Reed made it a dangerous trio, as he caught 34 passes for 474 yards and four touchdowns.

The running game was led by Robert Smith, who rushed for 1,187 yards and six touchdowns while also catching 28 passes. RB Leroy Hoard was a goal line threat, as he rushed for a team-leading nine touchdowns.

Not to be overshadowed by the team's prolific offense was a Vikings' defense led by DT John Randle. Randle had 10.5 sacks on his way to a Pro Bowl appearance, and LB Ed McDaniel joined him in Hawaii. The Vikings' defense allowed just 296 points during the 1998 regular season.

The Vikings would take on the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game, but would lose 30-27 in overtime. During the game, kicker Gary Anderson missed a field goal that could have put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter. Anderson had not missed a kick all season up to that point. 

In the weeks following the season Vikings' offensive coordinator Brian Billick would be hired as head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, a position he held through the 2007 season.