When the Vikings take the field, ordinary life in Minnesota comes to a screeching halt. The Purple People Eaters have a rabid fan base to cheer them on while decked out in helmets and face paint. Their rivalry with the Packers is one of the biggest in all of pro sports, and they have both double-digit division titles and playoff appearances to their name.
Win or lose, any game day is a huge celebration. The Gjallarhorn is blown, announcing the team’s arrival onto the field; in Norse mythology, this horn was sounded to summon the gods when enemies appeared. The Vikes also boast not one, but two mascots: Viktor the Viking and Ragnar. Viktor was born in the fjords of Iceland, and one of his hobbies is grating cheese (to rile up those Cheesehead Packers fans). Ragnar is a rare “human” mascot who roars around on his motorcycle, rallying the fans to a feverish pitch. Joseph Juranitch, the man behind Ragnar, is definitely fit to be a Viking: he set a world record in 1982 for shaving a beard with an axe in eight minutes and 43 seconds!
The Vikings’ long history of excellence dates all the way back to 1960. They chose their moniker because it represented Minnesota's proud Nordic heritage, as well as a determined person with the will to win. Their first home base was Metropolitan Stadium, and in their regular-season debut, they pulled off a stunning upset against the Bears. This was due in large part to the efforts of quarterback Fran Tarkenton, who completed 17 of 23 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns. In 1986, he became the first player who spent the majority of his career with the Vikes to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The team said farewell to Metropolitan Stadium in 1981 and moved into the Metrodome (AKA The Dome) the following year.
Minnesota is no stranger to the Big Game, either: they made their first Super Bowl appearance in 1970, and between ‘74 and ‘77, they’d play in three of them in four years. Unfortunately, they were defeated each time, but just imagine being at the team’s helm through it all. That’s the legacy of head coach Bud Grant, who led the Vikings to 11 division titles and all of their Super Bowl appearances in the ‘70s. Grant retired in January of ‘84, but the team wasn’t done with him quite yet; he came back to coach in December of that same year, saying goodbye for the final time after the 1985 season.
The Viking roster has seen its share of huge names, from Herschel Walker to Warren Moon to Cris Carter, who in 2000, became only the second player in NFL history to record 1,000 career receptions. Even long-time Packers nemesis Brett Favre has been on the team, and where did he have the best statistical season of his career? In Minnesota!
The Vikings have certainly earned their fierce name, and with star players on the roster and an ultra-loyal fan base shaking the stadium, they’re ready to conquer any turf they play on.