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1987 Minnesota Vikings season
Head Coach Jerry Burns
General Manager Mike Lynn
Home Field Metrodome
Results
Record 8–7
Place 2nd NFC Central
Playoff Finish Won NFC Wild Card Playoff (at Saints) 44–10
Won NFC Divisional Playoff (at 49ers) 36–24
Lost NFC Championship Game (at Redskins) 10–17
Timeline
Previous season Next season
1986 1988

The 1987 season was the Minnesota Vikings' 27th year in the National Football League. A players strike caused the cancellation of the September 27 game at the Kansas City Chiefs, while the games played on October 4, 11 and 18 were played with replacement players. The Vikings finished with an 8–7 record.

Despite finishing the season only one game over .500, and losing three of their final four games, Minnesota sneaked into the playoffs with the final Wild Card position. There, they won two huge upsets, beating the Saints (12–3) and 49ers (13–2) on the road. The Vikings were unable, however, to defeat the eventual Super Bowl champion Redskins in the NFC Championship Game.

OffseasonEdit

1987 DraftEdit

Pro Bowler
1987 Minnesota Vikings Draft
Draft order Player name Position College Notes
Round Selection
1 14 D. J. Dozier Running back Penn State from Dolphins[a]
16 Traded to the Miami Dolphins[a]
2 44 Ray Berry Linebacker Baylor
3 72 Henry Thomas Defensive tackle Louisiana State
4 100 Reggie Rutland Cornerback Georgia Tech
5 128 Traded to the Miami Dolphins[a]
6 156 Greg Richardson Wide receiver Alabama
7 184 Traded to the Seattle Seahawks[b]
8 211 Rick Fenney Running back Washington
9 239 Leonard Jones Defensive back Texas Tech
10 267 Bob Riley Offensive tackle Indiana State
11 295 Brent Pease Quarterback Montana
12 323 Keith Williams Defensive tackle Florida
^[a] The Vikings traded their first- and fifth-round selections (16th and 128th overall) to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for Miami's first-round selection (14th overall).

PersonnelEdit

StaffEdit

1987 Minnesota Vikings staff
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

  • Special teams – Tom Batta


[1]

Final rosterEdit

1987 Minnesota Vikings roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Practice squad



Rookies in italics
51 Active, 2 Inactive, 0 Practice squad

PreseasonEdit

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance[2]
1 August 15 at New Orleans Saints L 17–23 0–1 Louisiana Superdome 52,884
2 August 22 Indianapolis Colts W 37–13 1–1 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 49,304
3 August 29 New England Patriots L 27–38 1–2 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 49,339
4 September 3 at Denver Broncos W 27–17 2–2 Mile High Stadium 74,081

Regular seasonEdit

ScheduleEdit

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance
1 September 13 Detroit Lions W 34–19 1–0 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 57,061
2 September 20 at Los Angeles Rams W 21–16 2–0 Anaheim Stadium 63,367
September 27 at Kansas City Chiefs canceled 2–0 Arrowhead Stadium
3 October 4 Green Bay Packers L 16–23 2–1 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 13,911
4 October 11 at Chicago Bears L 7–27 2–2 Soldier Field 32,113
5 October 18 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers L 10–20 2–3 Tampa Stadium 20,850
6 October 26 Denver Broncos W 34–27 3–3 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 51,011
7 November 1 at Seattle Seahawks L 17–28 3–4 Kingdome 61,134
8 November 8 Los Angeles Raiders W 31–20 4–4 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 57,150
9 November 15 Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 23–17 5–4 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 48,605
10 November 22 Atlanta Falcons W 24–13 6–4 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 53,866
11 November 26 at Dallas Cowboys W 44–38 (OT) 7–4 Texas Stadium 54,229
12 December 6 Chicago Bears L 24–30 7–5 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 62,331
13 December 13 at Green Bay Packers L 10–16 7–6 Milwaukee County Stadium 47,059
14 December 20 at Detroit Lions W 17–14 8–6 Pontiac Silverdome 27,693
15 December 26 Washington Redskins L 24–27 (OT) 8–7 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 59,160

Notes:

  • Intra-division opponents are in bold text.
  • The October 18 game against Tampa Bay was originally scheduled to be played in Minneapolis. The game was switched with the November 15 game due to Game 2 of the World Series. The game against the Broncos, originally scheduled for October 25, was pushed back to Monday because the Metrodome was being used for Game 7 of the World Series.

Game summariesEdit

Week 11: at Dallas CowboysEdit

Week 11: Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 14 7 7 10

44

Cowboys 0 14 10 14

38

at Texas Stadium, Irving, Texas

Game information

First quarter

Second quarter

  • DAL – Danny White 1-yard run (Roger Ruzek kick). Vikings 14–7.
  • DAL – Herschel Walker 3-yard pass from Danny White (Roger Ruzek kick). Tied 14–14.
  • MIN – Anthony Carter 37-yard pass from Tommy Kramer (Chuck Nelson kick). Vikings 21–14.

Third quarter

  • MIN – Darrin Nelson 52-yard run (Chuck Nelson kick). Vikings 28–14.
  • DAL – Roger Ruzek 38-yard field goal. Vikings 28–17.
  • DAL – Mike Renfro 8-yard pass from Danny White (Roger Ruzek kick). Vikings 28–24.

Fourth quarter

  • MIN – Chuck Nelson 33-yard field goal. Vikings 31–24.
  • MIN – Rick Fenney 1-yard run (Chuck Nelson kick). Vikings 38–24.
  • DAL – Mike Renfro 14-yard pass from Danny White (Roger Ruzek kick). Vikings 38–31.
  • DAL – Mike Renfro 18-yard pass from Danny White (Roger Ruzek kick). Tie 38–38.

Overtime

  • MIN – Darrin Nelson 24-yard run. Vikings 44–38.

Top passers

  • MIN – Wade Wilson – 9/18, 189 yards, INT
  • DAL – Danny White – 25/41, 341 yards, 4 TD, 3 INT

Top rushers

  • MIN – Darrin Nelson – 16 rushes, 118 yards, 2 TD
  • DAL – Herschel Walker – 21 rushes, 76 yards

Top receivers

  • MIN – Anthony Carter – 8 receptions, 184 yards, 2 TD
  • DAL – Mike Renfro – 7 receptions, 100 yards, 3 TD

In the Vikings' first game on Thanksgiving for 18 years, starting quarterback Tommy Kramer helped the team to a 14–0 lead by the end of the first quarter, opening with an 11-yard strike to Anthony Carter, before taking the ball in himself from a yard out. However, a bruised throwing arm meant he had to leave the game for a time meant Wade Wilson took over. The Cowboys tied it up with two touchdowns of their own in the second quarter, but another throw from Kramer to Carter, this time from 37 yards, meant the Vikings took a seven-point lead into halftime. Darrin Nelson extended the Vikings' lead with the opening score of the second half, running 52 yards for the Vikings' fourth touchdown of the game. A field goal and another touchdown for the Cowboys reduced the Vikings' lead to four points going into the final quarter, but they restored the two-score margin with a field goal from Chuck Nelson and a 1-yard run from Rick Fenney. The Cowboys managed to come back and tie the game with just over two minutes left to play, enough time for the Vikings to drive downfield and set up a potential game-winning, 46-yard field goal attempt for Chuck Nelson with nine seconds left. He missed the kick and the game went to overtime. Both teams failed with their first two possessions, with both throwing interceptions. Vikings linebacker Scott Studwell returned his interception to the Minnesota 40-yard line to begin their third drive of the extra period. They opened with four straight run plays, including a fourth-down conversion to get them to midfield, followed by a 24-yard pass from Wilson to Carter, before Darrin Nelson ran the remaining distance for the walkoff game-winning touchdown. The result brought the Vikings to a 7–4 record with four games left to play.[3]

StandingsEdit

NFC Central
view · talk · edit W L T PCT PF PA
Chicago Bears 11 4 0 .733 356 282
Minnesota Vikings 8 7 0 .533 336 335
Green Bay Packers 5 9 1 .367 255 300
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4 11 0 .267 286 360
Detroit Lions 4 11 0 .267 269 384
[4]

PlayoffsEdit

ScheduleEdit

Week Date Opponent (seed) Result Record Venue
Wild Card January 3 at New Orleans Saints (4) W 44–10 1–0 Louisiana Superdome
Divisional January 9 at San Francisco 49ers (1) W 36–24 2–0 Candlestick Park
NFC Championship January 17 at Washington Redskins (3) L 10–17 2–1 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium

NFC Wild Card Playoff GameEdit

NFC Wild Card Playoffs: (#5) Minnesota Vikings at (#4) New Orleans Saints – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 10 21 3 10

44

Saints 7 3 0 0

10

at Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

Game information

First quarter

Second quarter

  • MIN – Steve Jordan 5-yard pass from Wade Wilson (Chuck Nelson kick). Vikings 17–7.
  • MIN – Anthony Carter 10-yard pass from Allen Rice (Chuck Nelson kick). Vikings 24–7.
  • NO – Morten Andersen 40-yard field goal. Vikings 24–10.
  • MIN – Hassan Jones 44-yard pass from Wade Wilson (Chuck Nelson kick). Vikings 31–10.

Third quarter

  • MIN – Chuck Nelson 42-yard field goal. Vikings 34–10.

Fourth quarter

  • MIN – Chuck Nelson 19-yard field goal. Vikings 37–10.
  • MIN – D. J. Dozier 18-yard run (Chuck Nelson kick). Vikings 44–10.

Top passers

Top rushers

Top receivers

In the Saints' first playoff game in history, the Vikings dominated the game by recording two sacks, forcing four turnovers and allowing only 149 yards. The 34-point margin of victory stands as the most lopsided win by an NFC team in a Wild Card round game in NFL history.

NFC Divisional Playoff GameEdit

NFC Divisional Playoffs: (#5) Minnesota Vikings at (#1) San Francisco 49ers – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 3 17 10 6

36

49ers 3 0 14 7

24

at Candlestick Park, San Francisco

Game information

First quarter

Second quarter

  • MIN – Carl Hilton 7-yard pass from Wade Wilson (Chuck Nelson kick). Vikings 10–3.
  • MIN – Chuck Nelson 23-yard field goal. Vikings 13–3.
  • MIN – Najee Mustafaa 45-yard interception return (Chuck Nelson kick). Vikings 20–3.

Third quarter

  • SF – Jeff Fuller 48-yard interception return (Ray Wersching kick). Vikings 20–10.
  • MIN – Hassan Jones 5-yard pass from Wade Wilson (Chuck Nelson kick). Vikings 27–10.
  • SF – Steve Young 5-yard run (Ray Wersching kick). Vikings 27–17.
  • MIN – Chuck Nelson 40-yard field goal. Vikings 30–17.

Fourth quarter

  • MIN – Chuck Nelson 40-yard field goal. Vikings 33–17.
  • SF – John Frank 16-yard pass from Steve Young (Ray Wersching kick). Vikings 33–24.
  • MIN – Chuck Nelson 23-yard field goal. Vikings 36–24.

Top passers

Top rushers

  • MIN – Darrin Nelson – 11 rushes, 42 yards
  • SF – Steve Young – 6 rushes, 72 yards, TD

Top receivers

The heavy underdog Vikings pulled off a shocker in San Francisco, controlling most of the game with Anthony Carter leading the way with 227 receiving yards.

NFC Championship GameEdit

NFC Championship Game: (#5) Minnesota Vikings at (#2) Washington Redskins – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 0 7 0 3

10

Redskins 7 0 3 7

17

at RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

Game information

First quarter

Second quarter

Third quarter

  • WAS – Ali Haji-Sheikh 28-yard field goal. Redskins 10–7.

Fourth quarter

  • MIN – Chuck Nelson 18-yard field goal. Tied 10–10.
  • WAS – Gary Clark 7-yard pass from Doug Williams (Ali Haji-Sheikh kick). Redskins 17–10.

Top passers

Top rushers

  • MIN – Wade Wilson – 4 rushes, 28 yards
  • WAS – Timmy Smith – 13 rushes, 72 yards

Top receivers

In a defensive battle, the Redskins played a little better by limiting the Vikings to only 76 rushing yards and forcing eight sacks. Washington scored first on a 98-yard drive that was capped by running back Kelvin Bryant's 42-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Doug Williams. However, Minnesota tied the game before halftime with quarterback Wade Wilson's 23-yard touchdown pass to Leo Lewis. In the third quarter, Redskins linebacker Mel Kaufman returned an interception 10 yards to the Minnesota 17-yard line to set up kicker Ali Haji-Sheikh's 28-yard field goal. In the final period, Vikings kicker Chuck Nelson made an 18-yard field goal to tie the game, 10–10. The Redskins then marched 70 yards to score on Williams' 7-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Gary Clark to take the lead, 17–10, with 5:06 remaining in the game. Minnesota then advanced to the Washington 6-yard line, but Wilson's fourth down pass, intended for running back Darrin Nelson in the end zone was defended by Darrell Green with 52 seconds remaining and the Redskins ran out the clock.

StatisticsEdit

Team leadersEdit

Category Player(s) Value
Passing yards Wade Wilson 2,106
Passing touchdowns Wade Wilson 14
Rushing yards Darrin Nelson 642
Rushing touchdowns D.J. Dozier
Wade Wilson
5
Receiving yards Anthony Carter 922
Receiving touchdowns Anthony Carter 7
Points Chuck Nelson 75
Kickoff return yards Neal Guggemos 808
Punt return yards Leo Lewis 275
Tackles Jesse Solomon 126
Sacks Chris Doleman 11.0
Interceptions Joey Browner 6
Forced fumbles Chris Doleman 6

League rankingsEdit

Category Total yards Yards per game NFL rank
(out of 28)
Passing offense 2,826 176.6 20th
Rushing offense 1,983 123.9 11th
Total offense 4,809 300.6 15th
Passing defense 3,100 193.8 16th
Rushing defense 1,724 107.8 11th
Total defense 4,824 301.8 10th

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Buffalo Cincinnati Denver Dallas Chicago Atlanta
Indianapolis Cleveland Kansas City NY Giants Detroit LA Rams
Miami Houston LA Raiders Philadelphia Green Bay New Orleans
New England Pittsburgh San Diego St. Louis Minnesota San Francisco
NY Jets Seattle Washington Tampa Bay
1987 NFL Draft1987 NFL strikeNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl XXII

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