Adding together their regular-season and postseason games — games that have thrilled us and tortured us and sewed stitches into Minnesota's fabric for 62 seasons — the Vikings played Game No. 1,000 Saturday with a game that did all of those and more.
Over the course of each decade, we tracked the team's wins and losses into a running total of games above or below a .500 record, including both regular season and playoff games. Wins gained a point, losses dropped one, and ties, more common in the 1960s than today, did neither. When the line drops below zero, it indicates a losing record, but above zero means they were winning more that decade.
After their historic 1,000th matchup, the Vikings have won more games than they've lost — 535 wins, 454 losses and 11 ties. From the opener in 1961, to frozen games in numbing windchills, to toasty ones under an inflatable roof, to four Super Bowls, with 949 regular-season games and 51 more in the postseason, a miracle or two, a missed kick or three, here's a grand in games.
After winning in their NFL debut, the Vikings would lose seven straight to kick off a rough opening decade littered with more losses (69) than wins (54). Regular seasons were only 14 games long in the NFL's early days, and didn't expand until the late '70s. Bringing in Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant helped flip the team's fortunes by the end of the '60s, bringing the team to its first Super Bowl in January 1970.
1 Game No. 1 • Sept. 17, 1961
Firsts: First regular-season game for the franchise. Quarterback Fran Tarkenton led the Vikings to a 37-13 win over the Bears at Metropolitan Stadium with four touchdown passes.
2 No. 49 • Oct. 25, 1964
Uh-oh: Despite Jim Marshall's infamous "wrong way" return of a fumble forced by Carl Eller 66 yards into his own end zone, the Vikings still defeated San Francisco 27-22.
3 No. 89 • Oct. 15, 1967
Bud: The Vikings scored 10 fourth-quarter points to give Bud Grant the first of his 158 regular-season wins as Vikings coach against Vince Lombardi and the defending champion Packers in Milwaukee 10-7.
4 No. 116 • Sept 28, 1969
7 TDs: Quarterback Joe Kapp entered NFL history with seven touchdown passes in a 52-14 win over Baltimore. He finished with 449 yards passing. His counterpart for the Colts, Johnny Unitas, was 8-for-22 for 68 yards and no TDs.
5 No. 128 • Dec. 27, 1969
Playoffs: Vikings defeated Los Angeles 23-20 in the first NFL playoff game played in Minnesota. The Vikings outscored the Rams 16-3 in the second half.
6 No. 130 • Jan. 11, 1970
Super Bowl IV: The first Super Bowl berth for the Vikings ended in a 23-7 loss to Kansas City at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. The Vikings, 12-point favorites at kickoff, committed five turnovers.
The Vikings' glory days were highlighted by eight winning seasons and three Super Bowl appearances in a span of four years. Over the whole decade, they had just one losing season — a 7-9 finish in 1979.
1 No. 191 • Jan. 13, 1974
Super Bowl VII: The Vikings' second Super Bowl trip was upended by a 145-yard day from Larry Csonka and resulted in a 24-7 loss to Miami at Rice Stadium in Houston.
2 No. 208 • Jan. 12, 1975
Super Bowl IX: Three interceptions by Tarkenton plagued the Vikings' third Super Bowl appearance and return to Tulane, a 16-6 loss to Pittsburgh in New Orleans.
3 No. 223 • Dec. 28, 1975
Drew Pearson: The Vikings were eliminated from the playoffs by Dallas on controversial "Hail Mary" play in the waning seconds that resulted in a 17-14 loss. Pearson came down with a 50-yard catch near the end zone, but the Vikings contended he pushed Nate Wright and should have been called for pass interference.
4 No. 240 • Jan. 9, 1977
Super Bowl XI: The Vikings made their fourth Super Bowl appearance but trailed by 16 at the half and lost to John Madden's Oakland Raiders, 32-14, at the Rose Bowl. It was the largest crowd (103,438) the Vikings have ever played in front of.
5 No. 252 • Dec. 4, 1977
The rally: The Vikings mounted their largest comeback in team history, rallying from a 24-0 deficit to beat the 49ers 28-27. Rookie Tommy Kramer threw three TD passes in the fourth quarter to engineer the comeback.
6 No. 274 • Sept. 2, 1979
4 TDs: Ahmad Rashad's four touchdown catches against San Francisco set a team record. He finished with 152 yards in a 28-22 victory.
7 No. 289 • Dec. 16, 1979
The end: This 27-23 loss to New England was the last of Jim Marshall's 270 regular-season games, still the most in franchise history. Rickey Young sent him off with a 15-reception game, a team record.
Despite several notable moments and plays — like the "Miracle at the Met" — the '80s were a decidedly middling decade for the Vikings, with a disappointing downturn that didn't turn around until the end of the 1987 season.
1 No. 304 • Dec. 14, 1980
First Miracle: Before the Minneapolis Miracle, there was the "Miracle at the Met." Rashad's 46-yard one-handed TD catch on the final play gave the Vikings a 28-23 win over Cleveland.
2 No. 322 • Dec. 20, 1981
Closing time: The last hurrah for the Vikings in Bloomington as the they played their final game at the Met. The Vikings committed four turnovers in a 10-6 loss to Kansas City.
3 No. 331 • Jan. 3, 1983
99-yarder: Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett made NFL history with the first 99-yard touchdown run in the Vikings' 31-27 win on "Monday Night Football." Dorsett was the only NFL player to achieve the feat until Tennessee's Derrick Henry did it on Dec. 6, 2018.
4 No. 381 • Dec. 22, 1985
Farewell: Grant's final game on the Vikings sideline, in his second stint as head coach, was a 37-35 loss to Philadelphia.
5 No. 390 • Nov. 2, 1986
490: QB Tommy Kramer set a team record for passing yards in a game with 490 against Washington, breaking his own mark (456) set in 1980.
6 No. 400 • Oct. 4, 1987
Who?: The players strike canceled one week of play and meant this Vikings-Packers matchup was the first of three games using replacement players. The game at the Metrodome drew 13,911 as the replacement Vikings lost 23-16.
7 No. 414 • Jan. 9, 1988
All AC: The Vikings stunned the 49ers, favored by 11 points, with a team-record 227 yards from wide receiver Anthony Carter in a 36-24 NFC divisional playoff win at Candlestick Park.
8 No. 439 • Oct. 15, 1989
Herschel: Herschel Walker's first game as a Viking after the blockbuster trade with Dallas started with a 47-yard run. He finished with 148 yards on 18 carries in a 26-14 win over Green Bay.
9 No. 442 • Nov. 5, 1989
7 field goals: Vikings kicker Rich Karlis was successful on all seven of his field goal attempts (20, 24, 22, 25, 29, 36, 40) in a 23-21 win over Los Angeles Rams.
Even with a 14-18 start, the '90s turned into the Vikings' most exciting — and winningest — decade since the Purple People Eater days. Randy Moss arrived in 1998 but a famously gutting missed kick ended the team's best hopes of a Super Bowl return at the end of that season.
1 No. 456 • Oct. 15, 1990
Revenge game: Claimed off waivers on Sept 4 from the Eagles for $100, receiver Cris Carter scored his first two touchdowns as a Viking in a 151-yard performance against his former team in a 32-24 loss in Philadelphia. Carter would go on to score a franchise-record 110 touchdowns.
2 No. 497 • Dec. 20, 1992
The punt: Harry Newsome entered Vikings lore with an 84-yard punt in a 6-3 win over Pittsburgh. The Vikings settled for two Fuad Reveiz field goals despite 172 yards rushing from Terry Allen.
3 No. 500 • Sept. 5, 1993
Milestone: This milestone game — a 24-7 loss to the Raiders at the L.A. Coliseum — was also the first NFL game between two Black head coaches, Art Shell and Dennis Green. The Vikings quarterback in the game? Jim McMahon.
4 No. 530 • Dec. 11, 1994
Over the moon: Acquired for two draft picks in the offseason from the Houston Oilers, Warren Moon, at age 38, became the first Vikings quarterback to pass for 4,000 yards in a season with 261 in a 21-17 win over Buffalo in Week 14.
5 No. 585 • Sept. 6, 1998
Hello: The first game for Moss was a 31-7 win over Tampa Bay and featured four catches for 95 yards and two TDs, including an acrobatic 48-yarder.
6 No. 589 • Oct. 5, 1998
Moss on MNF: Moss' breakout game on "Monday Night Football" featured two long TDs and 190 yards receiving at Lambeau Field. Randall Cunningham finished with 442 yards passing in a 37-24 win.
7 No. 602 • Jan 17, 1999
The kick: Gary Anderson's missed 38-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter, his first miss of the season for the 15-1 Vikings, led to a 30-27 overtime loss to Atlanta in the NFC Championship Game.
The early aughts started out promising, but then dipped into several years of mediocre football. Adrian Peterson's rushing prowess bolstered the team's outlook in 2007, and Brett Favre's surprise arrival in 2009 made heads turn, helping the Vikings end the decade on an upswing with another trip to the NFC Championship Game.
1 No. 629 • Nov. 6, 2000
"He did what?!": On a rainy night at Lambeau Field, Packers receiver Antonio Freeman had perhaps the most improbable catch against the Vikings. In overtime, Vikings cornerback Cris Dishman dropped a Brett Favre pass, which landed on Freeman lying on the grass and popped up for him to catch. He got up and ran untouched for 43-yard TD and a 26-20 win.
2 No. 653 • Dec. 30, 2001
Denny goes: Green coached his final game for the Vikings, losing to the Packers 24-19. 2001 was Green's only losing season in 10 years in Minnesota. With a 97-62-0 record, he sits behind Grant in the franchise record book.
3 No. 686 • Dec. 28, 2003
No! No!: Arizona's Josh McCown hit Nate Poole in the corner of the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown on the final play of the game in the final game of the season to knock the Vikings out of playoff contention.
4 No. 691 • Oct. 17, 2004
On his way: Daunte Culpepper passed for 425 yards and 5 TDs in a 38-31 win at New Orleans. It was his third 5-TD game of what would become a record-shattering season in which he set franchise marks in passing yards (4,717) and touchdowns (39).
5 No. 726 • Oct. 22, 2006
Stunner: Chester Taylor's 95-yard run in the third quarter sparked a 31-13 win that ended Seattle's 12-game home win streak. The run is the longest in team history.
6 No. 744 • Nov. 4, 2007
296: In his eighth game, rookie Adrian Peterson broke the NFL single-game rushing record with 296 yards on 30 carries in a 35-17 win over San Diego.
7 No. 764 • Nov. 30, 2008
Gus!: The team's longest play from scrimmage, a 99-yard TD pass from Gus Frerotte to Bernard Berrian, highlighted a 34-14 win over Chicago.
8 No. 770 • Sept. 13, 2009
#1 for #4: The season opener was Brett Favre's first game as Vikings quarterback after signing in the offseason. He passed for 110 yards in a 34-20 win at Cleveland.
This was the Vikings' losingest decade since the 1960s (see also: another missed kick during a playoff game), but there were bright spots, including a move to a new state-of-the-art stadium and the "Minneapolis Miracle" heard 'round the NFL.
1 No. 800 • Dec. 13, 2010
No dome: The 21-3 "home" loss to the Giants was played at Ford Field in Detroit after the Metrodome roof collapsed in a snowstorm the day before. The game also marked the end of Favre's NFL record streak of 297 straight starts.
2 No. 840 • Sept. 29, 2013
Wembley: The franchise's first regular-season game outside the U.S. was a 34-27 win over Pittsburgh at Wembley Stadium in London. Adrian Peterson rushed for 140 yards and two TDs.
3 No. 843 • Oct. 27, 2013
All the way: Cordarrelle Patterson tied the record for the longest play in NFL history with a 109-yard kickoff return on the opening play in a 44-31 loss to Green Bay.
4 No. 852 • Dec. 29, 2013
Lights out: The Vikings' final game at the Metrodome is a 14-13 win over Detroit. Patterson scored both TDs, including the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.
5 No. 885 • Jan. 10, 2016
Brrr: The coldest game in team history was an NFC wild-card playoff game at TCF Bank Stadium. Temperature at kickoff was -6 with a -25 windchill. The Vikings lost 10-9 to Seattle after Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal with 26 seconds left.
6 No. 918 • Jan. 14, 2018
Second Miracle: Stefon Diggs' 61-yard catch and run on the final play, the "Minneapolis Miracle," gave the Vikings a 29-24 win over New Orleans at U.S. Bank Stadium and sent them to the NFC Championship Game.
7 No. 928 • Nov. 4, 2018
Sack day: The Vikings' defense set the franchise record with 10 sacks in a 24-9 win over Detroit. Danielle Hunter led the way with 3.5 sacks.
This decade is just getting started, but could a new offensive-minded coach and a young league-leading receiver give the Vikings another shot at a Super Bowl?
1 No. 995 • Nov. 13, 2022
The catch: The Vikings defeated Buffalo 33-30 in overtime with the help of a fumble recovery for a touchdown by Eric Kendricks and game-clinching interception by Patrick Peterson, but the biggest buzz surrounded a leaping, one-handed, 32-yard catch by Justin Jefferson on fourth-and-19 that fueled the Vikings' late charge.
2 No. 1,000 • Dec. 17, 2022
The comeback: After entering halftime of their 1,000th game down 33-0 to the Indianapolis Colts, the Vikings pulled off the largest comeback in NFL history with a thrilling 39-36 overtime win at home.
Editor's note: The NFL held a third-place game from 1961 to '69, which the Vikings participated in at the conclusion of the 1968 season, but these games, known as the "Playoff Bowl," are recorded as exhibition games, like preseason games, and not included in our count.
Data source: Star Tribune analysis of FiveThirtyEight NFL data