NFL: The Saddest and Most Painful Moments in Vikings History

Alex TwistContributor IJanuary 10, 2012

NFL: The Saddest and Most Painful Moments in Vikings History

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    My roommate is going through a rough time right now sports-wise. We live in Georgia, and he is a fan of the Falcons and Ga Tech. Following disappointing losses by both his teams, he's been frequently saying that there is no pain like that of a Falcons or Tech fan.

    Jordan, I'm sorry, but you don't know the meaning of pain.

    If there's one thing all Vikings fans can agree on, it's that no fan base has experienced more heartbreaking, tear-jerking moments in their history than the Norsemen in purple in gold. So grab some tissues, turn up R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts," and get ready to take a sad trip down memory lane. These are the worst moments in Minnesota Vikings history.

Super Bowls IV, VIII, IX and XI

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    The Vikings hold two Super Bowl distinguishes: 1) They were the first team to make it to 4 Super Bowls, 2) They're also the first team to lose 4 Super Bowls. In a 7-year span, the Vikings made it to the big game an impressive four times. Led behind players such as Fran Tarkenton, Chuck Foreman, Paul Krause, and the vaunted Purple People Eaters, and Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant, they were defeated handily in every Super Bowl game they played in, losing by double digits each time. Thirty-five years after losing to the Raiders in Super Bowl XI, the Vikings have yet to play for the Lombardi trophy again.

    If it weren't for the Bills losing four Super Bowls in a row, the Vikings would have the most embarrassing Super Bowl track record.

Staubach's Hail Mary

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    Sorry. Had to let that out.

    Up 14-10 in the Divisional round of the 1975 playoffs, the Vikings had the Cowboys at midfield with only 24 seconds left to play. Roger Staubach took the snap and just threw a prayer to the end zone's Drew Pearson. After what appeared to be contact from Pearson, the ball landed safely against his hip as he waltzed into the end zone. Fans were so ticked at the lack of a penalty against the Cowboys, that one fan actually threw a whiskey bottle at one, hitting him in the head and knocking him unconscious.

    Whether or not Pearson actually pushed off, losing on a hail mary--especially in the playoffs--is just humiliating.

The Herschel Walker Trade

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    As a Georgia Bulldogs and Minnesota Vikings fan, I get the best and worst of Herschel Walker.ย Whenever I go to Athens for a game, I always hear or see some mention of Walker. When Dawg fans see old footage of his college days, they go crazy.

    When Vikings fans see old footage of Walker, they go crazy for a completely different reason.

    In 1989, the Vikings felt they were just one missing piece away from a Super Bowl run. The Cowboys were rebuilding and traded the only bargaining chip they had. Mike Lynn, the Vikes GM at the time, agreed to send eight(!) draft picks, including three first-rounders, and five players to the Cowboys for #34. Walker rushed for only about 2200 yards in three seasons, never gaining 1000 in a year. The Cowboys, on the other hand, used the picks they acquired to draft players like Emmitt Smith and Darren Woodson, among others, who would help the Cowboys win three Super Bowls. The Vikings essentially created the Cowboys dynasty of the 90s.

    You're welcome, Dallas fans.

The Kick

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    Watching the undisputed most painful moment in Vikings history could lead you into the depths of depression, give you convulsions, or at the bare minimum, send you into a rage that can only be tempered by watching highlights of the Vikings' offense that year.

Drafting Dimitrius Underwood

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    While guys like Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell might be the biggest draft busts to actually play for the teams that drafted them, Dimitrius Underwood didn't even make it out of training camp with the Vikings. Selected with the 29th pick in 1999, Underwood walked out of camp one day after signing, saying that he couldn't resolve a conflict between football and serving his Christian faith. Then after signing with the Dolphins and getting injured in one playoff game, he was arrested for failing to pay child support and tried to commit suicide. If Leaf and Russell are the two biggest busts in draft history, Underwood has to be in the top 5, if not number 3.

    Now maybe if Gary had made that kick and the Vikings had beaten the Broncos in the Super Bowl, someone else might've taken him before the Vikings could have....

2001 NFC Championship

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    The 2000 season. Daunte Culpepper had burst onto the scene, leading the league in TD passes. Cris Carter and Randy Moss continued terrorizing opposing secondaries, and my favorite player, Robert Smith, had the best season of his career with 1500 rushing yards.

    And then they traveled to the Meadowlands, actually favored to beat the Giants and go to the Super Bowl.

    Yeah....about that.

    The Vikings looked nothing like the team that won 11 games in the regular season and instead found themselves on the losing side of a 41-0 blowout. Not a whole lot you can say about that.

    Robert Smith retired in the offseason, Korey Stringer tragically died of a heat stroke in training camp, and the Vikings wouldn't make the playoffs for another four years.

4th and 24

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    A brief anecdote: When I was in sixth grade I got taunted relentlessly every Monday. The Vikings were rebuilding and losing nearly every week, and all the Falcon's fans at my school were high on life and bragging about their new star, Michael Vick. The next year, Vick went down, the Falcons sank to last, and all of a sudden, I was high on life as the Vikings jumped out to a 6-0 start. Culpepper and Moss were lighting up the highlight reels, and the defense was doing a good enough job to not blow all the leads they lost last year. All those kids who said "Vikings suck!" every week were quiet.

    Then reality started sinking in as the Vikings lost their next four in a row, all against teams who finished with losing records.

    Eventually it all came down to one game in Arizona against a 3-12 Cardinals team. If the Vikings won, they would win the NFC North. Lose, and the Packers would.

    Despite the game being closer than it should have, it looked like the Vikes would win. Up 17-12, they had just sacked Josh McCown on third down, and with no timeouts left and unable to spike the ball, the Cards had only time for 1 no-huddle shot down field.

    Paul Allen's call says it best.

2005 Season: The Draft

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    The 2005 season was supposed to be a great one. Daunte Culpepper was coming off a record breaking season, the Randy Moss headache was gone, the defense added stars like Darren Sharper and Pat Williams, and Minnesota looked ready for a Super Bowl. Instead, as these next 3 slides will tell you, the season was one big nightmare. While a final record of 9-7 doesn't sound too bad, the events leading up to that final record made it so terrible.

    First, the draft. After trading Randy Moss to the Raiders, Minnesota found itself with the numbers 7 and 18 selections. Who they drafted: Troy Williamson and Erasmus James. While this didn't seem so bad at the time, 7 years later its become known as a draft of missed opportunities. Troy Williamson could never catch the ball and was traded away after only three seasons. Erasmus James struggled with injuries and was also gone after a mere three seasons. To make matters worse, All-Pros DeMarcus Ware and Roddy White were available at the number 7 and 18 picks. (Yes, I know Aaron Rodgers was available, but as I said Daunte Culpepper was coming off the best season of his career and the Vikes had no need for a QB.)

2005 Season: The Love Boat

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    When news stations like CNN are reporting on a sports team, you know the team had to have done something very, very wrong.

    Some players like to spend their bye weeks resting or visiting family. Some apparently like to rent boats and have sex parties on a lake. Seventeen players, including Daunte Culpepper and Fred Smoot, rented a pair of house boats and had a party with about 90 other people on Lake Minnetonka. Prostitutesย from Atlanta and Florida performed sex acts with the some of the players in front of crew members, among other things.

    For obvious reasons, I'm not going to go into detail of what went on that night, but needless to say, it's certainly one of the most embarrassing pieces of press the Vikings could've garnered, and certainly the most disgusting.

2005 Season: Culpepper's Injury

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    How to make a bad season even worse? How about having your franchise QB suffer a career-altering injury?

    Even though he was having an abysmal season, Daunte Culpepper was still a dynamic playmaker for the Vikings. With one play in a October game against the Carolina Panthers, Culpepper suffered a tear to three ligaments in his knee. After the season, he was traded to the Dolphins, but he was never the same player again, even going so far as to playing in the UFL. Yeah, I know Brad Johnson won six games in a row and almost got the Vikings to the playoffs, but he was a 37-year-old journeyman, and Culpepper was in the prime of his career.

    The Vikings have only had three TRUE franchise QBs in their history: Tarkenton, Tommy Kramer, and Culpepper. It's a shame number 11's career had to end so soon.

2010 NFC Championship

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    No words necessary.

Adrian Peterson's Injury

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    No sarcasm for this one. Just prayers and wishes to Adrian for a speedy recovery.

    The fact that nearly every Redskins player who was on the field when he was carried off came over and gave him high-fives or taps on the helmet just shows how respected he is in this league.


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