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The Greatest Team Ever, That Didn’t Win The Big One
Posted By Sean Eckhardt On Apr 5 2011 @ 8:58 pm In Minnesota Vikings | 1 Comment
The NFL is in somewhat of a confused state right now. On one hand, the league is frozen due to the current lockout, but on the other hand, the focus is on the draft, the future, and which stars will land on which teams. Certainly a bit of a paradox. So instead of trying to sort out the current mess and look into some fictional crystal ball towards the future, I figured that a look back might be more entertaining. The 1998 Minnesota Vikings were the best team ever that failed to win the Super Bowl.
Any Viking fan alive can remember 1998. Minnesota was an absolute juggernaut. They finished the regular season 15-1 and never had a game in which they scored less than 24 points. Watching this team, you knew you were witnessing something special. Randy Moss, who exploded on to the scene, was catching bomb after bomb from QB Randall Cunningham, who was only playing because Pro Bowl QB Brad Johnson got hurt. Cris Carter was his outstanding self and had another 1,000 yard season for the Vikes. Running back Robert Smith wasn’t too bad either, gaining almost 1,200 yards on the ground. When it was all said and done, Moss had won Rookie of the Year, and he,Carter, Cunningham, and Smith were named to the Pro Bowl along with six other teammates. The city was lit up, literally. All season there was a magic kind of feeling around this team, and then the weekend of the NFC Championship game, anywhere you went in Minneapolis, it was all anybody wanted to talk about. I remember the huge purple “V” on one of the signature skyscrapers downtown. Of course the Vikings lost that title game, but this is really a look back at how good that team was and how teams like that don’t come along very often. Minnesota went back to the NFC Championship just two years later, but it didn’t feel the same, even if many of the same players were on that team.
There are plenty of people who would argue that the 2007 Patriots were better than the 1998 Vikings. In pure statistics, New England carries a slight edge, but I still take Minnesota. Randy Moss was on both of those teams. Coincidence? It’s not a coincidence that he was on the two highest scoring teams in NFL history, though he is not at fault for either team not winning the Lombardi Trophy. If you want to see how that game would turn out, try Madden from EA. Covering or being a fan of the Vikings isn’t always easy, but thinking about that team ought to make you smile. How good was that team? There are already two members of that team in the Hall of Fame; John Randle and Randall McDaniel. You can count on at least three more with Cris Carter, Randy Moss, and Gary Anderson sure to make Canton. Don’t be surprised if Randall Cunningham sneaks in someday, just because of how he changed the way the QB position is played. It was a great team indeed. From Head Coach Denny Green on down, that team made Minnesota fans everywhere proud. The Viking faithful should always remember the ’98 team as a special one, with the obvious hope that one day, the Lombardi Trophy will reside in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”.
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