1989 Minnesota Vikings season
Head Coach Jerry Burns
General Manager Mike Lynn
Home Field Metrodome
Record 10–6
Place 1st NFC Central
Playoff Finish Lost NFC Divisional Playoff (at 49ers) 13–41
Previous season Next season
1988 1990

The 1989 season was the Minnesota Vikings' 29th in the National Football League. They finished with a 10–6 record to win the NFC Central Division. This title was secured during one of what is considered by many to be among the most exciting Monday Night Football contests ever: a Christmas Day victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at home, at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, which was the de facto first playoff game of the year. This season was also notable by how many sacks the defense produced, with 39 coming from only two players (Chris Doleman and Keith Millard) and 71 overall. Millard would later receive Defensive Player of the Year honors after putting up record numbers by a defensive tackle. The Vikings were once again embarrassed by the defending Super Bowl champion 49ers in the divisional round, losing 41–13.


1989 DraftEdit

1989 Minnesota Vikings Draft
Draft order Player name Position College Notes
Round Selection
1 24 Traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers[a]
2 52 David Braxton Linebacker Wake Forest
3 80 John Hunter Offensive tackle Brigham Young
4 108 Darryl Ingram Tight end California
5 136 Pick forfeited during 1988 Supplemental Draft[b]
6 163 Jeff Mickel Offensive tackle Eastern Washington
7 191 Benji Roland Defensive end Auburn
8 219 Alex Stewart Defensive end Cal State Fullerton
9 247 Traded to the New England Patriots[c]
10 275 Traded to the Miami Dolphins[d]
11 303 Brad Baxter Running back Alabama State
12 331 Shawn Woodson Linebacker James Madison
335 Everett Ross Wide receiver Ohio State from 49ers via Raiders[c]
^[a] The Vikings traded their first-round selection (24th overall) to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for LB Mike Merriweather.
^[b] The Vikings forfeited their fifth-round selection (136th overall) after selecting defensive back Ryan Bethea in the fifth round of the 1988 NFL Supplemental Draft.
^[c] The Vikings traded their ninth-round selection (247th overall) to the New England Patriots in exchange for New England's 1988 11th-round selection (296th overall).
^[d] The Vikings traded their 10th-round selection (275th overall) to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for OL Greg Koch.
^[e] The Vikings traded their 1990 11th-round selection to the Los Angeles Raiders in exchange for the 12th-round selection the Raiders received from the San Francisco 49ers.



1989 Minnesota Vikings staff
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

  • Offensive coordinator – Bob Schnelker
  • Assistant offensive coordinator/passing game – Dick Rehbein
  • Running backs – John Brunner
  • Receivers – Jerry Brown
  • Tight ends – Tom Batta
  • Offensive line – John Michels
Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

  • Special teams – Tom Batta


Final rosterEdit

1989 Minnesota Vikings roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice squad

Rookies in italics
51 Active, 1 Inactive, 0 Practice squad


Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance[2]
1 August 12 vs Kansas City Chiefs W 23–13 1–0 Liberty Bowl (Memphis, TN) 63,528
2 August 21 Washington Redskins W 24–13 2–0 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 50,213
3 August 26 at Los Angeles Rams L 14–24 2–1 Anaheim Stadium 45,087
4 September 1 Cincinnati Bengals W 17–10 3–1 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 49,867

Regular seasonEdit

The defensive line of Chris Doleman, Keith Millard, Al Noga and Henry Thomas were key contributors in helping the Vikings rank number one in the NFL in total defense. In addition, the Vikings set a franchise record with 71 sacks in one season. Chris Doleman had 21 sacks and was one shy of tying the NFL record.


Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance
1 September 10 Houston Oilers W 38–7 1–0 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 54,015
2 September 17 at Chicago Bears L 7–38 1–1 Soldier Field 66,475
3 September 24 at Pittsburgh Steelers L 14–27 1–2 Three Rivers Stadium 50,744
4 October 1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 17–3 2–2 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 54,817
5 October 8 Detroit Lions W 24–17 3–2 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 55,380
6 October 15 Green Bay Packers W 26–14 4–2 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 62,075
7 October 22 at Detroit Lions W 20–7 5–2 Silverdome 51,579
8 October 30 at New York Giants L 14–24 5–3 Giants Stadium 76,041
9 November 5 Los Angeles Rams W 23–21 (OT) 6–3 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 59,600
10 November 12 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 24–10 7–3 Tampa Stadium 56,271
11 November 19 at Philadelphia Eagles L 9–10 7–4 Veterans Stadium 65,944
12 November 26 at Green Bay Packers L 19–20 7–5 Milwaukee County Stadium 55,592
13 December 3 Chicago Bears W 27–16 8–5 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 60,664
14 December 10 Atlanta Falcons W 43–17 9–5 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 58,116
15 December 17 at Cleveland Browns L 17–23 (OT) 9–6 Cleveland Stadium 70,777
16 December 25 Cincinnati Bengals W 29–21 10–6 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 58,829


Template:1989 NFC Central standings



Week Date Opponent (seed) Result Record Venue Attendance
Wild Card First-round bye
Divisional January 6 at San Francisco 49ers (1) L 13–41 0–1 Candlestick Park 64,585

Herschel WalkerEdit

In 1989, at the height of his NFL career, the Cowboys traded Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings for a total of five players (LB Jesse Solomon, DB Issiac Holt, RB Darrin Nelson, LB David Howard, DE Alex Stewart) and six draft picks (which led to Emmitt Smith, Russell Maryland, Kevin Smith, and Darren Woodson). This was judged to be one of the turning points in the rise of the Cowboys to the top echelon of the NFL. Walker's trade was widely perceived as an exceptionally poor move considering what the Vikings had to give up in order to get him, and remains one of the most frequently vilified roster moves of the team's history. The Vikings coaches reluctantly accepted Walker after the trade and never totally used the tool they had been given. says, "Walker was never used properly by the coaching brain trust (a total oxymoron in this case)".[3]


Team leadersEdit

Category Player(s) Value
Passing yards Wade Wilson 2,543
Passing touchdowns Wade Wilson 9
Rushing yards Herschel Walker 669
Rushing touchdowns Herschel Walker 5
Receiving yards Anthony Carter 1,066
Receiving touchdowns Anthony Carter 4
Points Rich Karlis 120
Kickoff return yards Herschel Walker 374
Punt return yards Leo Lewis 446
Tackles Chris Doleman
Henry Thomas
Sacks Chris Doleman 21.0
Interceptions Joey Browner 5
Forced fumbles Chris Doleman 5

League rankingsEdit

Category Total yards Yards per game NFL rank
(out of 28)
Passing offense 3,189 199.3 17th
Rushing offense 2,066 129.1 7th
Total offense 5,255 328.4 14th
Passing defense 2,501 156.3 1st
Rushing defense 1,683 105.2 11th
Total defense 4,184 261.5 1st

Awards and recordsEdit


  • Chris Doleman, third player in NFL history to reach 20 sacks in a season
  • Chris Doleman, franchise record, 21 sacks


  1. 2010 Minnesota Vikings Media Guide. p. 265. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  2. [1]
  3. "History: Walker Trade". June 20, 2001. Archived from the original on 10 January 2008. Retrieved January 29, 2008.

External linksEdit

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