The Minnesota Vikings are an American football team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings joined the National Football League (NFL) as an expansion team in 1960, and first took the field for the 1961 season. The team competes in the National Football Conference (NFC) North division; before that, the Minnesota Vikings were in the NFC Central, and before that they were in the NFL’s Western Conference Central Division. The team has played in four Super Bowl games, but lost each one. The team plays its home games at U.S. Bank Stadium in the Downtown East section of Minneapolis.
Professional football in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area (the “Twin Cities”) began with the Minneapolis Marines/Red Jackets, an NFL team that played intermittently in the 1920s and 1930s. However, a new professional team in the area did not surface again until August 1959, when Minneapolis businessmen Bill Boyer, H.P. Skoglund, and Max Winter were awarded a franchise in the new American Football League (AFL). Five months later, in January 1960, after significant pressure from the NFL, the ownership group, along with Bernie Ridder, reneged on its agreement with the AFL and then was awarded the National Football League’s 14th franchise, with play to begin in 1961. Ole Haugsrud was added to the NFL team ownership because, in the 1920s, when he sold his Duluth Eskimos team back to the league, the agreement allowed him 10 percent of any future Minnesota team. Coincidentally or not, the teams from Ole Haugsrud’s high school, Central High School in Superior, Wisconsin, were also called the Minnesota Vikings and also had a similar purple-and-yellow uniform design.
From the team’s first season in 1961 to 1981, the team called Metropolitan Stadium in suburban Bloomington home. The Vikings conducted summer training camp at Bemidji State University from 1961 to 1965. In 1966, the team moved to their current training camp at Minnesota State University in Mankato. The Vikings played their home games at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis from 1982 to 2013. The Vikings played their last game at the Metrodome on December 29, 2013, defeating the Detroit Lions 14–13 to end the season.
Since the team’s first season in 1961, the Vikings have had one of the highest winning percentages in the NFL. As of 2014, they have won at least three games in every season except in 1962, and are one of only six NFL teams to win at least 15 games in a regular season. The Vikings have won one NFL Championship, in 1969, before the league’s merger with the American Football League (AFL). Since the league merger in 1970, they have qualified for the playoffs 26 times, third-most in the league. The team has played in Super Bowls IV, VIII, IX, and XI, though failing to win any of them. In addition, they have lost in their last five NFC Championship Game appearances since 1978. The team currently has 13 members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 1960s.
After several failed attempts at developing an official team-owned mascot, the Vikings finally introduced Viktor the Viking during the 2007 Vikings’ season. Team officials had long indicated that they were after a mascot concept that would primarily appeal to the team’s younger fan base. Viktor the Viking, a muscle-bound, blond-haired and mustachioed character, wears a Vikings’ #1 jersey and an oversized Vikings helmet with protruding horns and a small yellow nose guard. Due to contract disputes in 2015, the team lost its mascot Ragnar the Viking and still is without him for the 2016 season.