The 1987 Vikings season was almost wholly undone by labor woes. Minnesota started the year 2-0 with its regular roster. Then the strike hit, and the Vikings' replacement players went 0-3, losing by a combined score of 70-33 to Green Bay, Chicago and Tampa Bay — all division foes at the time. The last of those losses came 30 years ago Wednesday.
The Vikings rallied to finish 8-7 that year. Five teams in each conference made the playoffs back then. Four NFC teams qualified with records of at least 11-4. The Vikings squeaked in as the fifth. They dispatched 12-3 New Orleans in the first round and then beat 13-2 San Francisco to reach the NFC title game against 11-4 Washington.
The Redskins that year won all their replacement games, so really it was a meeting of 8-4 teams — with Washington at home. That, of course, was a 17-10 loss that ended with a dropped Darrin Nelson pass near the goal line.
Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. firstname.lastname@example.org.