Simply the BEST

  • By: KENT YOUNGBLOOD and DAVE BRAUNGER
  • Updated: December 29, 2013 - 10:11 AM

You can start a pretty good argument by trying to pick the biggest play ever during a Vikings game at the Metrodome. Well, we’re always up for that kind of battle, so Star Tribune reporter Kent Youngblood has 15 choices for you to pick from. Pick the number for a description of what happened and video of that “biggest play ever.”

1

1. A Record that can't be broken

Jan 3, 1983 - vs. Dallas

A 57-day players strike had shortened the season to nine games, and this was the finale. The Vikings led 24-13 in the fourth quarter when the Cowboys lined up at their one. Tony Dorsett took the handoff, busted over left guard. He broke a tackle at the 13 and was off down the right sideline. He fended off cornerback Willie Teal at the Vikings' 20 and finished the longest run in NFL history, on national TV.

To note: According to dallascowboys.com, Dallas had only 10 players on the field, as fullback Ron Springs was mistakenly on the sidelines. Springs' 2-yard run later in the quarter gave the Cowboys a lead, but Tommy Kramer's 14-yard TD pass to Rickey Young gave the Vikings a 31-27 victory and got them into the playoffs.

2

2. Ran right out of his shoes

Oct 15, 1989 - vs. Green Bay

Mike Lynn's mega trade that brought Herschel Walker to the Vikings from Dallas is now considered one of the worst in league history. But, for a short while here in Minnesota, it looked very good. Walker had been with the team for less than 72 hours and had been through one practice when he got his first carry. He took the handoff, broke through a hole, broke a handful of tackles and was off for a 47-yard run, the last 15 coming after he lost his shoe.

To note: Walker finished with 18 carries for 148 yards, becoming the first running back to gain 100 yards in his debut with the team.

3

3. Metrodome Meltdown

Oct. 4, 1992 - vs. Chicago

The Bears led 20-0 early in the fourth quarter when, from their own 33, Chicago quarterback Jim Harbaugh called an audible for a short pass to running back Neal Anderson. Two problems: Bears coach Mike Ditka had told Harbaugh not to call audibles, and Anderson didn't hear it. As a result Anderson didn't run the right route, and Harbaugh's pass was intercepted by Todd Scott and returned 35 yards for a touchdown, igniting a comeback that ended with a 21-20 Vikings win. When Harbaugh got to the sidelines after the catch Ditka grabbed his facemask and completely melted down. "Sometimes, we're just too smart for our own selves," Ditka said afterward. "When there's a player who knows more than a coach, you've got a problem."

To note: This marked the unofficial end of Ditka's time in Chicago and of the Bears' dominance in the division.

4

4. Working overtime

Dec 1, 1994 - vs. Chicago

Actually wide receiver Cris Carter had two great catches in this game, which cemented the Vikings' run to the division title. He had jumped high to catch Warren Moon's 1-yard TD pass with 4:12 left to give the Vikings a 27-24 lead. But then, in overtime, on second-and-6 from their 35, Carter went in motion left to right, faked out Bears linebacker Joe Cain, hauled in Moon's pass at about midfield right in front of the Vikings' bench, then ran the final 50 yards of a 65-yard scoring play that ended the Vikings' three-game losing streak and halted the Bears' four-game winning streak.

To note: It was the second straight OT game for both teams that day, and one of four for the Vikings that season. But the Bears would have the last laugh. They came back to Minnesota for a Wild Card playoff game and beat the Vikings 35-18.

5

5. A good beginning

Sept 6, 1998 - vs. Tampa Bay

It didn't take long for Randy Moss to show what he was about to do to the division. In his first regular season game, in the first quarter, Moss lined up left in front of the Vikings bench. He left the line, turned a cornerback around with a fake inside and was off. Brad Johnson's pass was short. But Moss adjusted. The ball and the cornerback arrived at the goal line about the same time, the ball bounced in the air and Moss hauled it in for his first TD catch. He added another that day, finishing his first game with four receptions for 95 yards and two TDs.

To note: Moss ended the season with a rookie record 17 TD receptions.

6

6. The miss and the make

Jan 17, 1999 - vs. Atlanta

First, the miss: Gary Anderson hadn't missed a kick all season, going 35-for-35 on field goals during the regular season. When he lined up for a 38-yarder with 2:07 left in the fourth quarter, he was looking to give the Vikings a 10-point lead. Only problem: He missed, wide right by a foot. Atlanta QB Chris Chandler led the Falcons 71 yards in eight plays to force overtime with his 16-yard pass to Terance Mathis that tied the game 27-27. And then, the make: After Chandler had led a 70-yard drive to set it up, Morten Andersen hit a 38-yarder from nearly the same point Anderson had missed. It sailed through the uprights with 3:22 left in OT, sending the Falcons to the Super Bowl.

To note: Anderson and Andersen were both foreign-born (Andersen from Denmark and Anderson from South Africa) and both had entered the league in 1982. They currently rank 1-2 in all-time league scoring.

7

7. 1,000 Strong

Nov 30, 2000 - vs. Detroit

Cris Carter entered this Thursday night game needing five catches to become the second NFL wide receiver with 1,000 catches. One by one he got closer until, on the first play of the second quarter, Carter beat Lions safety Kywin Supernaw, ran a fade to the right corner of the end zone, and caught Daunte Culpepper's pass for a 4-yard touchdown that gave the Vikings a 14-0 lead. Minnesota went on to win 24-17 and improve to 11-2.

To note: How fitting is it that Carter's 1,000th catch was a TD reception? Interestingly, the Vikings lost their final three regular season games but still won the division and had a first-round playoff bye. The Vikings beat the Saints before going to New York and losing 41-0 to the Giants in the NFC title game.

8

8. Catch him if you can

Dec 1, 2002 - vs. Atlanta

2002 was the first season Michael Vick was the full-time starter at quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, who had suffered through three straight losing seasons. The Vikings forced overtime in this game on Gary Anderson's 29-yard field goal with 14 seconds left in regulation. The Vikings got the ball first in the OT session, but had to punt from deep in its end, giving Atlanta the ball at the Vikings' 48. T.J. Duckett gained 2 yards on first down. On second down Vick took the snap, play-faked, dropped back and felt pressure. He scrambled around left end and was off. At the 30 he cut a bit towards the inside. At the 20 linebacker Greg Biekert and defensive back Corey Chavous collided with one another trying to tackle Vick, who raced in for the game-winning score.

To note: Vick passed for 173 yards and a score in the game and ran 10 times for 173 yards and two scores.

9

9. Here you go, Moe

Oct. 19, 2003 - vs. Denver

It was the final seconds of the first half, and the Vikings had a third-and-24 from their 41. Daunte Culpepper rolled right, then let it fly from the 40. Moss came back to make the catch at the Denver 11. As he was being tackled by two Broncos defender, he used his right arm to flip the ball over his shoulder to a trailing Moe Williams, who hauled into the lateral at the 15 and finished the TD play to give Minnesota a 14-7 lead in a game they would win 20-28.

To note: That victory gave the Vikings a 6-0 record, and incredible start that would end in disappointment for the Vikings, who went 3-7 down the stretch. Their bid for a playoff spot was ended in Arizona in the season's final game.

10

10. Favre's record-breaker

Sept. 30, 2007 - vs. Green Bay

The Packers had the ball, third-and-7, at the Vikings' 16 in the first quarter. Greg Jennings lined up right, with Marcus McCauley in coverage. Brett Favre took the snap and Jennings ran a slant. He caught Favre's pass at the five and ran into the end zone, giving Favre his NFL-record 421st TD pass. The Packers went on to win 23-16, one of 13 Packers victories that season.

To note: it was Favre's last appearance in the Metrodome as a member of the Packers. He wouldn't set foot in the Dome again until Sept. 27, 2009, as a member of the Vikings, ready to make another memory.

11

11. The single-game rushing record falls

Nov. 2, 2007 - vs. San Diego

What a game this was to watch. On a day when Antonio Cromartie had a 109-yard return of a missed field goal for a touchdown, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had the best day ever by an NFL running back. Thirty carries for 296 yards with three touchdowns in the Vikings' convincing victory. What a day. Touchdown runs of 1, 64 and 46 yards. On his longest play, on third-and-3 with just under 13 minutes left in the third quarter and the Vikings down 14-7, Peterson took the handoff, burst off the left side into the secondary, broke a tackle just past midfield and was off for the score.

To note: How many times do you get two records set in the same day? Cromartie (along with Cordarrelle Patterson) still share the record for the NFL's longest scoring play. And Peterson's 296 yards remains an NFL single-game record.

12

12. A Berrian bomb

Nov 30, 2008 - vs. Chicago

Down 7-3 late in the first half, and the ball at their 1-yard line, receiver Bernard Berrian - the former Bear -- lined up left, covered by Charles Tillman. Vikings QB Gus Frerotte took the snap and dropped into his end zone. Berrian ran a go route. Tillman appeared to look inside and, perhaps expecting safety help, hesitated, allowing Berrian to blow past him. He caught Frerotte's pass at the 46 and ran the final 54 yards to score with 4:48 left in the half, giving the Vikings the lead for good in a 34-14 victory.

To note: This is one of 13 99-yard pass plays in NFL history, three of which have come against the Bears. It was the second in a four-game winning streak for the Vikings, who ended up division champions.

13

13. Favre Magic

Sept 27, 2009 - vs. San Francisco

This was Brett Favre's first game in the Metrodome as a member of the Vikings. Both Minnesota and the 49ers - coached by current Vikings assistant Mike Singletary - were 2-0 entering the game, the Vikings having won twice on the road. With 12 seconds left and the ball on the 32, Favre lined up at shotgun and took the snap. He moved to his right, using a swim move to avoid pressure from Justin Smith. As he was about to be hit from behind he sent the ball to the end zone where Lewis - covered by Mark Roman - went high to make the catch in the back of the end zone with 2 seconds left.

To note: It was Lewis' first catch with Minnesota and one of eight with the team that season.

14

14. A season for the ages

Dec 30, 2012 - vs. Green Bay

Adrian Peterson's regular season began with him coming back from knee surgery and ended against Green Bay. He entered the game needing 208 yards to best Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record and the Vikings needed a win to make the playoffs. Tthe Vikings took over the ball at their own 28 in a tie game with less than 3 minutes left. Moments later, on a first-and-10 from the Green Bay 28, Peterson ran for 7 yards. And then for 4, and then for no gain. Finally, with less than a minute left on second down from the Green Bay 37, Peterson ran off left tackle. He cut inside at the 30 and carried down to the 11 before being dragged down. The 26-yard run set up the game-winning field goal. And it gave Peterson 199 yards on the day. But, ultimately, Peterson, ended up 8 yards shy of Dickerson's record.

To note: This was one of 10 games in which Peterson had 100 or more yards.

15

15. 109-yard gem

Oct 27, 2013 - vs. Green Bay

There have been two 109-yard scoring plays in league history, and both happened in the Metrodome. Play 1: The Vikings were tied 7-7 against the visiting Chargers when, at the end of the first half, they lined up for Ryan Longwell's 57-yard field goal attempt, which failed. Antonio Cromartie caught the ball at the very back of the end zone, checked to make sure he was in bounds, then took off. He moved up, then to the right sidelines and was off for the score, one that left Vikings coach Brad Childress irate. Play 2: On the first play of the Viking's game with the Packers, Cordarrelle Patterson hauled in the kick and took off up the middle of the field. He escaped would-be tacklers at the 15, cut to the left sidelines and was off for the score.

To note: Neither big play resulted in a win. Adrian Peterson's career 296-yard day sunk the Chargers in 2007 and the Packers rallied for a 44-31 victory in October.

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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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