1973 Minnesota Vikings season

The 1973 season was the Minnesota Vikings' 13th in the National Football League. With a 12–2 record, the Vikings regained the NFC Central title after having gone 7–7 the previous year. They started the season 9–0 and looked a threat to the previous year's Dolphins' record of a perfect season before losing to the Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals in their next three games. Their narrow 10–9 win over the Los Angeles Rams constituted the last time until 1997 that the last two unbeaten NFL teams played each other.[1]

The Vikings defeated the Washington Redskins 27–20 in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at home and went on to upset the Dallas Cowboys 27–10 in Irving, Texas to win the NFC Championship, before losing 24–7 to the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VIII at Rice Stadium in Houston.

1973 Minnesota Vikings season
Head coachBud Grant
General managerJim Finks
Home fieldMetropolitan Stadium
Division place1st NFC Central
Playoff finishWon Divisional Playoffs (Redskins) 27–20
Won NFC Championship (at Cowboys) 27–10
Lost Super Bowl VIII (vs. Dolphins) 7–24


1973 Draft

Pro Bowler
1973 Minnesota Vikings Draft
Draft order Player name Position College Notes
Round Overall
1 12 Chuck Foreman Running back Miami
2 34 Jackie Wallace Defensive back Arizona from Cardinals[a]
40 Traded to the New York Giants[b]
3 65 Jim Lash Wide receiver Northwestern
4 80 Mike Wells (quarterback) Quarterback Illinois from Eagles[c]
89 Traded to the Kansas City Chiefs[e] from Vikings[d] via Cardinals[a]
5 118 Brent McClanahan Running back Arizona State
6 139 Doug Kingsriter Tight end Minnesota from Saints[f]
143 Fred Abbott Linebacker Florida
7 168 Josh Brown Running back Texas State
8 196 Craig Darling Tackle Iowa
9 221 Larry Dibbles Defensive end New Mexico
10 236 Randy Lee Defensive back Tulane from Eagles[g]
246 Dave Mason Defensive back Nebraska
11 274 Geary Murdock Guard Iowa State
12 299 Alan Spencer Wide receiver Pittsburg State
13 324 Ron Just Guard Minot State
14 352 Eddie Bishop Defensive back Southern
15 377 Tony Chandler Running back Missouri Valley
16 402 Larry Smiley Defensive end Texas Southern
17 429 Dave Winfield Tight end Minnesota n/a[h]
^[a] The Vikings traded quarterback Gary Cuozzo to St. Louis in exchange for St. Louis' second- and fourth-round selections (34th and 89th overall) and wide receiver John Gilliam.
^[b] The Vikings traded their second-round selection (40th overall), 1972 first-round selection (24th overall), quarterback Norm Snead, wide receiver Bob Grim and running back Vince Clements to the New York Giants for quarterback Fran Tarkenton.
^[c] The Vikings traded quarterback Bill Cappleman to Philadelphia in exchange for Philadelphia's fourth-round selection (80th overall).
^[d] The Vikings traded their fourth-round selection (89th overall), linebacker Mike McGill and defensive back Dale Hackbart to St. Louis for tight end Bob Brown and cornerback Nate Wright.
^[e] The Vikings traded their fourth-round selection (89th overall) to Kansas City in exchange for punter Mike Eischeid.
^[f] The Vikings traded tight end Bob Brown to New Orleans in exchange for New Orleans' sixth-round selection (139th overall) and 1974 fourth-round selection (86th overall).
^[g] The Vikings traded linebacker Bill Cody to Philadelphia in exchange for Philadelphia's tenth-round selection (236th overall).
^[h] Following college, Dave Winfield was drafted by four teams in three different sports. The San Diego Padres selected him as an outfielder with the fourth overall pick in the 1973 Major League Baseball draft. In basketball, both the Atlanta Hawks (NBA) and the Utah Stars (ABA) drafted him. Although he never played college football, the Minnesota Vikings selected Winfield in the 17th round of the NFL draft. He is currently one of three players ever to be drafted by three professional sports (the others being Dave Logan and Mickey McCarty).[2]


1973 Minnesota Vikings final roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice squad

Rookies in italics
54 Active, 4 Inactive, 0 Practice squad


Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance [1]
1 August 11 Pittsburgh Steelers W 10–6 1–0 Metropolitan Stadium 46,619
2 August 18 at Kansas City Chiefs W 13–10 2–0 Arrowhead Stadium 72,676
3 August 25 at Oakland Raiders W 34–10 3–0 Memorial Stadium (Berkeley, CA) 57,515
4 August 31 Miami Dolphins W 20–17 4–0 Metropolitan Stadium 46,619
5 September 8 at San Diego Chargers W 24–16 5–0 San Diego Stadium 42,007

Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance
1 September 16 Oakland Raiders W 24–16 1–0 Metropolitan Stadium 44,818
2 September 23 at Chicago Bears W 22–13 2–0 Soldier Field 52,035
3 September 30 Green Bay Packers W 11–3 3–0 Metropolitan Stadium 48,176
4 October 7 at Detroit Lions W 23–9 4–0 Tiger Stadium 49,549
5 October 14 at San Francisco 49ers W 17–13 5–0 Candlestick Park 56,438
6 October 21 Philadelphia Eagles W 28–21 6–0 Metropolitan Stadium 47,478
7 October 28 Los Angeles Rams W 10–9 7–0 Metropolitan Stadium 47,787
8 November 4 Cleveland Browns W 26–3 8–0 Metropolitan Stadium 46,722
9 November 11 Detroit Lions W 28–7 9–0 Metropolitan Stadium 47,911
10 November 19 at Atlanta Falcons L 14–20 9–1 Atlanta Stadium 56,519
11 November 25 Chicago Bears W 31–13 10–1 Metropolitan Stadium 46,430
12 December 2 at Cincinnati Bengals L 0–27 10–2 Riverfront Stadium 57,859
13 December 8 at Green Bay Packers W 31–7 11–2 Lambeau Field 53,830
14 December 16 at New York Giants W 31–7 12–2 Yale Bowl 70,041


  • Intra-division opponents are in bold text.

Game summaries

Week 11: vs. Chicago Bears

The day of this game was declared "Karl Kassulke Day" in honor of former Viking safety Karl Kassulke, who was left paralyzed in a motorcycle accident just before the beginning of training camp.[5]

Week 14: at New York Giants


NFC Central
Minnesota Vikings 12 2 0 .857 6–0 10–1 296 168 W2
Detroit Lions 6 7 1 .464 3–2–1 6–4–1 271 247 L1
Green Bay Packers 5 7 2 .429 1–4–1 4–6–1 202 259 W1
Chicago Bears 3 11 0 .214 1–5 1–9 195 334 L6


Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance
NFC Divisional Playoff December 22, 1973 Washington Redskins W 27–20 1–0 Metropolitan Stadium 45,475
Conference Championship December 30, 1973 at Dallas Cowboys W 27–10 2–0 Texas Stadium 60,272
Super Bowl VIII January 13, 1974 Miami Dolphins L 7–24 2–1 Rice Stadium 71,882

Super Bowl VIII


Team leaders

Category Player(s) Value
Passing yards Fran Tarkenton 2,113
Passing touchdowns Fran Tarkenton 15
Rushing yards Chuck Foreman 801
Rushing touchdowns Chuck Foreman 4
Receiving yards John Gilliam 907
Receiving touchdowns John Gilliam 8
Points Fred Cox 96
Kickoff return yards Brent McClanahan 410
Punt return yards Bobby Bryant 140
Interceptions Bobby Bryant 7

League rankings

Category Total yards Yards per game NFL rank
(out of 26)
Passing offense 1,956 139.7 14th
Rushing offense 2,275 162.5 6th
Total offense 4,231 302.2 7th
Passing defense 1,894 135.3 12th
Rushing defense 1,974 141.0 11th
Total defense 3,868 276.3 12th


  1. ^ Last Undefeated NFL teams by Year
  2. ^ The Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks Baseball Club – "Home of Midnight Sun Baseball"
  3. ^ 1973 Minnesota Vikings highlight film
  4. ^ 1973 Minnesota Vikings highlight film
  5. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=FLNPAAAAIBAJ&sjid=-AUEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2833%2C5824531

External links

List of NFC champions

The National Football Conference (NFC) is one of two conferences within the National Football League (NFL), the American Football Conference (AFC) being the other. Prior to 1970, there were two separate professional football leagues, the National Football League and the American Football League (AFL). In 1970, the AFL merged with the NFL. As part of the merger, the former AFL teams, plus three former NFL teams (the Baltimore Colts, the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers), were placed into the AFC. The remaining former NFL teams were placed in the NFC. As of the 2018 season only the Detroit Lions have not won an NFC championship.

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Division championships (20)
Conference championships (4)
League championships (1)
Retired numbers
Current league affiliations
Seasons (59)

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