We are talking drama at the moment of occurrence, and in that category, the ability of the Vikings to hire Jim Harbaugh as their new coach would be No. 2 all time with this franchise.

The events of Aug. 18, 2009, when Brett Favre, the quarterback rival for the ages, arrived at the downtown St. Paul airport and was followed by helicopters to Winter Park in Eden Prairie … that will never be topped for instant Purple hysteria.

Again, we're not discussing wins here, we're not rating Sunday victories that sent the Vikings to Super Bowls, or a "Minneapolis Miracle,'' or the drafting of Randy Moss.

These are the moments the Vikings made a move to add a coach or a player that didn't seem realistic out here on the prairie.

The top five here all involve quarterbacks, although Harbaugh would be the second of those to be a QB-turned-coach.

1. Signing Brett Favre

The Vikings had won the NFC North with a 10-6 record, with Gus Frerotte making 11 starts and Tarvaris Jackson five. Jackson started the 26-14 playoff loss vs. Philadelphia and was not good.

Coach Brad Childress had put together a solid roster, but with Jackson and veteran Sage Rosenfels as the quarterback options in 2009 Mankato training camp.

Favre was home in Mississippi, retired from the New York Jets one year after retiring from the Packers. There were pipe dreams that Favre could be the Vikings' quarterback solution, and then it happened: The disliked rival becoming our immediate savior.

He brought the Vikings to the cusp of a Super Bowl, refusing to break, even as the New Orleans Saints bent him in all directions in that long, tense ballgame in the Superdome.

2. Hiring Jim Harbaugh

This remains only a possibility. The local media will have to see the private plane on the ground in the Twin Cities to believe this 58-year-old nuclear-charged personality could by any outlandish definition turn out to be the coaching "partner'' that new GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was describing last Thursday.

There's no question this guy can coach. He posted a 12-1 final season at Stanford in 2010, drubbing Virginia Tech 40-12 in an Orange Bowl. He went to the 49ers and became the first NFL coach to take his team to a conference championship in his first three years.

His record there was 49-22-1, counting the playoffs. He went to the Super Bowl with the inaccurate Colin Kaepernick as his quarterback.

He feuded with 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke and was let go after the 2014 season. Two losing seasons later, Baalke and coach Chip Kelly were fired by the 49ers.

Harbaugh is 43-17 in the Big Ten in seven seasons at Michigan. The 2020 pandemic season was a 2-4 disaster. He entered this season 0-5 vs. Ohio State and was pushed into a sizable pay cut by the Michigan administration.

The 2021 Wolverines whipped the Buckeyes and went to the College Football Playoff without much of a quarterback. Point proved.

Now, Harbaugh is ready to come back to the NFL. And he'll win, if the Vikings have the guts to make the deal.

3. Hiring Norm Van Brocklin

The Philadelphia Eagles defeated Green Bay 17-13 to win the NFL title on Dec. 26, 1960. Van Brocklin, the Eagles' 34-year-old quarterback, was selected as the league's MVP.

On Jan. 18, 1961, the Vikings announced the hiring of Van Brocklin as the expansion team's first coach and de facto GM.

We were somewhat surprised this week that a 44-year-old quarterback of amazing accomplishment, Tom Brady, announced his retirement. Can you imagine the modern media — the time spent on ESPN, the NFL Network, etc. — if Aaron Rodgers (at 38, not 34) quit to become coach and de facto GM for the Jacksonville Jaguars?

4. Return of Fran Tarkenton

The NFL's original scrambler became the franchise's first hero when he led the Vikings to a 37-13 embarrassment of the Chicago Bears in the team's inaugural game.

Van Brocklin, pocket passer for life, never favored Tarkenton's hectic approach. The two large egos clashed, and Tark went public with a trade demand after the 1966 season. Van Brocklin resigned, but Tark stuck to his demand and was traded to the New York Giants.

The Vikings had a historically great defense and a quarterback vacuum by 1971. On Jan. 22, 1972, Tarkenton was traded back to the Vikings. Two days later, he was back and in TV ads, trying to sell Cadillacs and recommending a savings institution. He took the Vikings to three (losing) Super Bowls.

5. Vikings land Kirk Cousins

The Vikings had been pummeled in the NFC title game in January 2018. They saw Case Keenum's highly productive season as a one-off and wanted an upgrade at quarterback (as in 2009).

The Vikings swooped in in late March and gave Cousins a three-year, $84 million contract that was fully guaranteed.

Admit it, Purpleheads: You were delighted to see the Vikings out-hustle other bidders for the NFL's No. 1 free agent. This was the best news on Minnesota's pursuit of long-awaited titles since the Wild brought in Zach Parise and Ryan Suter on July 4, 2012, and created vivid Stanley Cup dreams.