American Football Database
1996 Minnesota Vikings season
Head Coach Dennis Green
Home Field Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Record 9–7
Place 2nd NFC Central
Playoff Finish Lost NFC Wild Card Playoff (at Cowboys) 15–40
Previous season Next season
1995 1997

The 1996 season was the Minnesota Vikings' 36th in the National Football League. Under head coach Dennis Green, they finished with a 9–7 record and qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 1994, starting a run of five consecutive playoff appearances.

They started the season with five wins in their first six games, before losing their next four. Starting quarterback Warren Moon suffered a broken collarbone during the season and missed the final six games, allowing fifth-year backup Brad Johnson to take his place. With Johnson under center, the Vikings won four of their remaining five games, including divisional victories on the road against the Detroit Lions and at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Those wins proved pivotal in the Vikings qualification for the playoffs, as their superior intra-conference record (8–4) over the Washington Redskins rendered Minnesota's week 17 loss to the Green Bay Packers irrelevant, despite the Redskins defeating the defending Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys. The Vikings entered the playoffs as the number 6 seed in the NFC, pitting them against the Cowboys in the wildcard round. The Cowboys put up 30 unanswered points in the first half and ultimately won the game 40–15, making it the fourth time in five seasons that the Vikings' season ended in the wildcard round.

For the season, the Vikings sported new uniforms, adding the team's logo to both sleeves of the jersey. These uniforms would remain in use with the Minnesota Vikings until 2005.


Additions Subtractions
T Scott Dill (Buccaneers) DE Roy Barker (49ers)
DE Robert Goff (Saints) T Rick Cunningham (Raiders)
LB Dixon Edwards (Cowboys) TE Adrian Cooper (49ers)
TE David Frisch (Patriots) LB Jack Del Rio (Dolphins)
DB Anthony Prior (Jets) S Charles Mincy (Buccaneers)
T Ariel Solomon (Steelers)
LB Darryl Talley (Falcons)

1996 Draft

1996 Minnesota Vikings Draft
Draft order Player name Position College Notes
Round Selection
1 16 Duane Clemons Linebacker California
2 45 James Manley Defensive tackle Vanderbilt
3 75 Moe Williams Running back Kentucky
4 97 Hunter Goodwin Tight end Texas A&M from Cardinals[a]
112 Traded to the Arizona Cardinals[a]
5 137 Traded to the Arizona Cardinals[a] from Giants[b]
148 Sean Boyd Defensive back North Carolina
6 182 Traded to the New York Giants[b]
7 223 Jon Merrill Offensive tackle Duke
^[a] The Vikings traded their fourth-round selection and the fifth-round selection they received from the New York Giants (112th and 137th overall) to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for Arizona's fourth-round selection (97th overall).
^[b] The Vikings traded their sixth-round selection and safety Vencie Glenn to the New York Giants in exchange for the Giants' fifth-round selection (137th overall) and 1995 sixth-round selection (189th overall).


Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance[1]
1 August 3 San Diego Chargers W 23–20 (OT) 1–0 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 34,367
2 August 8 Buffalo Bills L 12–35 1–1 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 36,297
3 August 19 at Miami Dolphins L 17–24 1–2 Joe Robbie Stadium 55,598
4 August 23 at New Orleans Saints L 13–16 1–3 Louisiana Superdome 35,728

Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Attendance
1 September 1 Detroit Lions W 17–13 1–0 Metrodome 52,972
2 September 8 at Atlanta Falcons W 23–17 2–0 Georgia Dome 42,688
3 September 15 at Chicago Bears W 20–14 3–0 Soldier Field 61,301
4 September 22 Green Bay Packers W 30–21 4–0 Metrodome 64,168
5 September 29 at New York Giants L 15–10 4–1 Giants Stadium 70,970
6 October 6 Carolina Panthers W 14–12 5–1 Metrodome 60,894
7 October 13 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers L 24–13 5–2 Houlihan's Stadium 32,175
8 Bye
9 October 28 Chicago Bears L 15–13 5–3 Metrodome 58,143
10 November 3 Kansas City Chiefs L 21–6 5–4 Metrodome 59,552
11 November 10 at Seattle Seahawks L 42–23 5–5 Kingdome 50,794
12 November 17 at Oakland Raiders W 16–13 (OT) 6–5 Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum 41,183
13 November 24 Denver Broncos L 21–17 6–6 Metrodome 59,142
14 December 1 Arizona Cardinals W 41–17 7–6 Metrodome 45,767
15 December 8 at Detroit Lions W 24–22 8–6 Silverdome 46,043
16 December 15 Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 21–10 9–6 Metrodome 49,202
17 December 22 at Green Bay Packers L 38–10 9–7 Lambeau Field 59,306

Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.


NFC Central
view · talk · edit W L T PCT PF PA
Green Bay Packers 13 3 0 .813 456 210
Minnesota Vikings 9 7 0 .563 298 315
Chicago Bears 7 9 0 .438 283 305
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6 10 0 .375 221 293
Detroit Lions 5 11 0 .313 302 368


Week Date Opponent Result Venue Attendance
Wildcard December 28 at Dallas Cowboys L 40–15 Texas Stadium 64,682


Team leaders

Category Player(s) Value
Passing yards Brad Johnson 2,258
Passing touchdowns Brad Johnson 17
Rushing yards Robert Smith 692
Rushing touchdowns Leroy Hoard
Robert Smith
Receiving yards Jake Reed 1,320
Receiving touchdowns Cris Carter 10
Points Scott Sisson 96
Kickoff return yards Qadry Ismail 527
Punt return yards David Palmer 216
Tackles Jeff Brady 101
Sacks John Randle 11.5
Interceptions Orlando Thomas 5
Forced fumbles John Randle 4

League rankings

Category Total yards Yards per game NFL rank
(out of 30)
Passing offense 3,658 228.6 8th
Rushing offense 1,546 96.6 24th
Total offense 5,204 325.2 12th
Passing defense 3,121 195.1 9th
Rushing defense 1,966 122.9 24th
Total defense 5,087 317.9 16th



1996 Minnesota Vikings staff
Front office
  • Chairman of the Board – John Skoglund
  • President/Chief Executive Officer – Roger Headrick

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches
  • Defensive coordinator – Foge Fazio
  • Defensive line – John Levra
  • Inside linebackers – Tom Olivadotti
  • Outside linebackers – Trent Walters
  • Defensive backs – Richard Solomon

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning

  • Strength and conditioning – Steve Wetzel
  • Assistant strength and conditioning – Jeff Friday


Final roster

1996 Minnesota Vikings roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice squad

  • 67 Kenneth McDaniel OG

Rookies in italics
53 Active, 7 Inactive, 0 Practice squad


AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Buffalo Baltimore Denver Arizona Chicago Atlanta
Indianapolis Cincinnati Kansas City Dallas Detroit Carolina
Miami Houston Oakland NY Giants Green Bay New Orleans
New England Jacksonville San Diego Philadelphia Minnesota St. Louis
NY Jets Pittsburgh Seattle Washington Tampa Bay San Francisco
1996 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl XXXI