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1998 Minnesota Vikings season: Wikis


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1998 Minnesota Vikings season
Head coach Dennis Green
Home field Metrodome
Record 15-1
Place 1st NFC Central
Playoff finish Won NFC Divisional Playoff
Lost NFC Championship
Previous season Next season
1997 1999

1998 was the 38th year of season play for the Minnesota Vikings and the 79th regular season of the National Football League.

The 1998 Minnesota Vikings became only the third team in NFL history to win 15 games during the regular season. That year, the Vikings high powered offense scored 556 points and broke the record for most points scored in the regular season. This record was broken by the 2007 New England Patriots who finished the season with 589 points. The team cruised to the NFC Central title and held home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. They defeated the Arizona Cardinals in the Divisional round, but were defeated in overtime by the 14-2 Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game in one of the most disappointing losses in franchise history.



Prior to the start of the 1998 season, the Vikings were sold to Red McCombs. The NFL had not been happy with the Vikings' ownership arrangement of ten owners with none owning 30%. The ownership decided to sell the club. At first it appeared that Tom Clancy would become the new owner. However, his attempt to buy the team fell through. So in July 1998, the team was sold to McCombs who was from San Antonio, Texas.

1998 was a year to remember for the Minnesota Vikings. With a spectacular offense led by quarterback Randall Cunningham, who had the best year of his NFL career, running back Robert Smith, veteran wide receiver Cris Carter, and explosive rookie Randy Moss, the Vikings set a then-NFL record by scoring a total of 556 points, never scoring fewer than 24 in a game. The Vikings finished the season 15-1, their only loss by 3 points to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week nine. Twelve of their fifteen wins came by a margin of at least 10 points.

Ten Vikings (not all pictured) were named to the 1999 Pro Bowl.

In the playoffs, the Vikings rolled past the Arizona Cardinals 41-21, and came into the Metrodome heavily favored for their NFC title showdown with the Atlanta Falcons, who had finished 14-2. Leading 20-7 just before halftime, some would argue that the Vikings got greedy with their playcalling, as they called a deep pass play on 3rd down, which led to a Cunningham fumble deep in Minnesota territory. Shortly thereafter, the Falcons scored to cut the lead to 20-14. The Vikings were again leading 27-20 with two minutes left in the 4th quarter and had a chance to potentially put the game out of reach with a field goal. However, kicker Gary Anderson, who had gone 35 for 35 in the regular season, missed a 38-yard attempt. That allowed the Falcons to tie the game. The Vikings had an opportunity to score at the end of regulation, but Head Coach Dennis Green opted to down the ball and go to overtime (even though the Vikings had arguably the most potent offense in NFL history). Minnesota won the toss but was forced to punt. Atlanta eventually won 30-27 in overtime on Morten Andersen's field goal, which was, coincidentally, also a 38-yarder. The Vikings became the first 15-1 team to fail to reach the Super Bowl.


Reasons for success

Several factors contributed to the Vikings' success that year:

  • Head Coach Dennis Green developed a high-powered West-Coast style offense and had been building the offense through free agency and the draft for almost 8 years.
  • Offensive Coordinator Brian Billick was considered to be the mastermind behind the offense. One of the innovative techniques Billick used to develop such an effective offense was the use of a computer to generate play calling schemes and game plans. Billick was promptly hired to be the Baltimore Ravens head coach after the 1998 season and he won Super Bowl XXXV as the Ravens head coach just two years later.
  • Randy Moss was drafted in 1998 and while most wide receivers usually take a year or two to develop, Moss made an impact right away. He scored 2 touchdowns in week one against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and posted 95 yards on 4 catches. Moss had another particularly memorable game on Thanksgiving in front of a national TV audience against the Dallas Cowboys. Moss had 3 catches for 163 yards, all for touchdowns. He went on to set the single season record for most touchdown receptions by a rookie with 17.
  • The 6' 4" 197 lb. Moss teamed up with 6' 3" 217 lb. Jake Reed and 6' 3" 215 lb. Cris Carter to make a very dangerous trio of big Wide Receivers.
  • Kicker Gary Anderson was perfect during the regular season hitting 35 of 35 field goals, he also set a record for most points scored in a season, no touchdowns. He scored 164 points.
  • Randall Cunningham made an impressive comeback after being out of the league in 1996. He joined the Vikings in 1997 and played 6 games that year. In 1998, starting QB Brad Johnson was hurt early in the year and Cunningham took over. He threw for 3704 yards and 34 TDs.
  • The Vikings defense, led by defensive tackle John Randle and linebacker Ed McDaniel, both Pro Bowlers, had a good year. They only allowed 296 points during the regular season, sixth in the league for fewest points allowed; the Vikings defense was also second in the league in turnover differential, at plus-14.
  • Injury prone Running Back Robert Smith was healthy most of the year and played in 14 games. He had 1187 rushing yards and scored 8 TDs (6 rushing and 2 receiving).
  • The Vikings offensive line featured 3 Pro Bowlers that year: Jeff Christy, Todd Steussie, and Randall McDaniel.

1998 Draft Results

Round Pick Name Position College
1 (21) Randy Moss Wide Receiver Marshall
2 (51) Kailee Wong Linebacker Stanford
3 (80) Ramos McDonald Cornerback New Mexico
4 (110) Kivuusama Mays Linebacker North Carolina
5 (144) Kerry Cooks Safety Iowa
6 (173) Matt Birk Center Harvard
7 (208) Chester Burnett Linebacker Arizona
7 (225) Tony Darden Cornerback Texas Tech


Regular season

Week Date Opponent Result Venue Record TV Time
1 1998-09-06 Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 31-7 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 1-0 FOX 1:00pm
2 1998-09-13 St. Louis Rams W 38-31 Trans World Dome 2-0 FOX 1:00pm
3 1998-09-20 Detroit Lions W 29-6 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 3-0 FOX 1:00pm
4 1998-09-27 Chicago Bears W 31-28 Soldier Field 4-0 FOX 4:15pm
5 1998-10-05 Green Bay Packers W 37-24 Lambeau Field 5-0 ABC 9:00pm
6 Bye
7 1998-10-18 Washington Redskins W 41-7 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 6-0 FOX 1:00pm
8 1998-10-25 Detroit Lions W 34-13 Pontiac Silverdome 7-0 FOX 1:00pm
9 1998-11-01 Tampa Bay Buccaneers L 24-27 Raymond James Stadium 7-1 FOX 1:00pm
10 1998-11-08 New Orleans Saints W 31-24 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 8-1 FOX 1:00pm
11 1998-11-15 Cincinnati Bengals W 24-3 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 9-1 CBS 1:00pm
12 1998-11-22 Green Bay Packers W 28-14 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 10-1 FOX 1:00pm
13 1998-11-26 Dallas Cowboys W 46-36 Texas Stadium 11-1 FOX 4:15pm
14 1998-12-06 Chicago Bears W 48-22 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 12-1 ESPN 8:15pm
15 1998-12-13 Baltimore Ravens W 38-28 Ravens Stadium at Camden Yards 13-1 FOX 4:15pm
16 1998-12-20 Jacksonville Jaguars W 50-10 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 14-1 ESPN 8:15pm
17 1998-12-26 Tennessee Oilers W 26-16 Vanderbilt Stadium 15-1 FOX 12:30pm


Week Date Opponent Result Venue Record
Div 1999-01-09 Arizona Cardinals W 41-21 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 16-1
NFC 1999-01-17 Atlanta Falcons L 30-27 (OT) Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 16-2

Best performances

  • Randall Cunningham, 442 passing yards vs. Green Bay, (October 5) [1]
  • Randy Moss, 3 receptions 163 yards, 3 TD at Dallas, (November 28)


NFC Central
Minnesota Vikings 15 1 0 .938 556 296 W-8
Green Bay Packers 11 5 0 .688 408 319 W-3
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8 8 0 .500 314 295 W-1
Detroit Lions 5 11 0 .313 306 378 L-4
Chicago Bears 4 12 0 .250 276 368 L-1


Position roster

1998 Vikings Roster By Position

7 Randall Cunningham
14 Brad Johnson
11 Jay Fiedler

Running Backs
26 Robert Smith
44 Leroy Hoard
22 David Palmer
21 Moe Williams

29 Charles Evens
33 Harold Morrow

Wide Receivers
80 Cris Carter
84 Randy Moss
86 Jake Reed
89 Matthew Hatchette
81 Chris Walsh
83 Robert Tate
18 Tony Bland

‡Player was named to the Pro Bowl


Tight Ends
82 Andrew Glover
87 Hunter Goodwin

73 Todd Steussie
77 Korey Stringer
76 Chris Liwienski
75 Matt Birk

64 Randall McDaniel
71 David Dixon
61 Everett Lindsay
74 Orlando Bobo

62 Jeff Christy
68 Mike Morris


Defensive Ends
90 Derrick Alexander
92 Duane Clemons
99 Stalin Colinet
98 Ben Williams

Defensive Tackles
93 John Randle
96 Jerry Ball
94 Tony Williams
72 Jason Fisk

58 Ed McDaniel
57 Dwayne Rudd
59 Dixon Edwards
56 Pete Bercich
55 Bobby Houston
43 Greg Briggs
53 Kivuusama Mays
52 Kailee Wong


24 Robert Griffith
42 Orlando Thomas
31 Duane Butler
23 Torrian Gray

37 Jimmy Hitchcock
27 Corey Fuller
38 Anthony Bass
34 Ramos McDonald

1 Gary Anderson

17 Mitch Berger

Numeric roster

1998 Vikings Numeric Roster

1 Gary Anderson K
7 Randall Cunningham QB
8 Todd Bouman QB
11 Jay Fiedler QB
14 Brad Johnson QB
17 Mitch Berger P
18 Tony Bland WR
22 David Palmer RB
24 Robert Griffith S
26 Robert Smith RB
27 Corey Fuller CB


29 Charles Evens FB
30 Antonio Banks S
31 Duane Butler S
33 Harold Morrow FB
34 Ramos McDonald CB
37 Jimmy Hitchcock CB
38 Antony Bass CB
42 Orlando Thomas S
43 Greg Briggs LB
44 Leroy Hoard RB
53 Kivuusama Mays LB


55 Bobby Houston LB
56 Pete Bercich LB
57 Dwayne Rudd LB
58 Ed McDaniel LB
59 Dixon Edwards LB
61 Everett Lindsay G
62 Jeff Christy C
64 Randall McDaniel G
68 Mike Morris C
71 David Dixon G
72 Jason Fisk DT


73 Todd Steussie T
74 Orlando Bobo G
75 Matt Birk c
76 Chris Liwienski T
77 Korey Stringer T
80 Cris Carter WR
81 Chris Walsh WR
82 Andrew Glover TE
83 Robert Tate WR
84 Randy Moss WR
85 Greg DeLong TE


86 Jake Reed WR
87 Hunter Goodwin TE
89 Matthew Hatchette WR
90 Derrick Alexander DE
92 Duane Clemons DE
93 John Randle DT
94 Tony Williams DT
96 Jerry Ball DT
98 Ben Williams DE
99 Stalin Colinet DE

Awards and records

  • Randy Moss, Led Rookies in Receiving Yards, (1,313 yards) [1] Moss also set the record for most receiving touchdowns for a rookie, 17, a record that still stands today.[3]
  • The Vikings became just the third team to post a 15-1 win-loss record since the implementation of the 16-game schedule in 1978. They joined the 1984 San Francisco 49ers and the 1985 Chicago Bears, but became the first of those teams to fail to win the Super Bowl.
  • The Vikings' high-powered offense set a record, which stood until the 2007 season, for most points scored in a season with 556. They eclipsed the 1983 Washington Redskins, who scored 541. The 2007 New England Patriots beat the record by scoring 589 points.

Uniform combinations


  1. ^ a b NFL 2001 Record and Fact Book, Workman Publishing Co, New York,NY, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2, p. 440
  2. ^
  3. ^ Randy Moss
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