1973 Minnesota Vikings season

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1973 Minnesota Vikings season
Head coach Bud Grant
General manager Jim Finks
Home field Metropolitan Stadium
Results
Record 12–2
Division place 1st NFC Central
Playoff finish

Won Divisional Playoffs (Redskins) 27–20
Won Conference Championship (Cowboys) 27–10

Lost Super Bowl VIII (Dolphins) 24–7
Timeline
Previous season Next season
< 1972 1974 >

The 1973 Minnesota Vikings season was their 13th year of play in the National Football League. The Vikings regained the NFC Central title after a disappointing 7–7 record the previous season, as they finished with a record of 12 wins and two losses. 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 Super Bowl VIII to the Miami Dolphins, 24–7 at Rice Stadium in Houston.

Offseason[edit]

1973 Draft[edit]

Main article: 1973 NFL draft
Draft order Player name Position College Notes
Round Choice Overall
1 12 12 Chuck Foreman Running Back Miami
2 8 34 Jackie Wallace Defensive Back Arizona from Cardinals[a]
14 40 Traded to the New York Giants[b]
3 13 65 Jim Lash Wide Receiver Northwestern
4 2 80 Mike Wells Quarterback Illinois from Eagles[c]
11 89 Traded to the Kansas City Chiefs[e] from VIkings[d] via Cardinals[a]
5 14 118 Brent McClanahan Running Back Arizona State
6 9 139 Doug Kingsriter Tight End Minnesota from Saints[f]
6 13 143 Fred Abbott Linebacker Florida
7 12 168 Josh Brown Running Back Texas State
8 14 196 Craig Darling Tackle Iowa
9 13 221 Larry Dibbles Defensive End New Mexico
10 2 236 Randy Lee Defensive Back Tulane from Eagles[g]
12 246 Dave Mason Defensive Back Nebraska
11 14 274 Geary Murdock Guard Iowa State
12 13 299 Alan Spencer Wide Receiver Pittsburg State
13 12 324 Ron Just Guard Minot State
14 14 352 Eddie Bishop Defensive Back Southern
15 13 377 Tony Chandler Running Back Missouri Valley
16 12 402 Larry Smiley Defensive End Texas Southern
17 13 429 Dave Winfield Tight End Minnesota did not play college football[h]
^[a] St. Louis traded their 2nd round selection (34th overall), a 4th round selection (89th overall), and WR John Gilliam to Minnesota for QB Gary Cuozzo.
^[b] Minnesota traded their 2nd round selection (40th overall), 1972 1st round selection (24th overall), QB Norm Snead, WR Bob Grim, and RB Vince Clements to the Giants for QB Fran Tarkenton.
^[c] Philadelphia traded their 4th round selection (80th overall) to Minnesota for QB Bill Cappleman.
^[d] Minnesota traded their 4th round selection (89th overall), LB Mike McGill, and DB Dale Hackbart to St. Louis for TE Bob Brown and CB Nate Wright.
^[e] Minnesota traded their 4th round selection (89th overall) to Kansas City for Punter Mike Eischeid.
^[f] New Orleans traded this 6th round selection (139th overall) and their 1974 4th round selection (86th overall) to Minnesota for TE Bob Brown.
^[g] Philadelphia traded their 10th round selection (236th overall) to Minnesota for LB Bill Cody.
^[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 MLB 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]

Regular season[edit]

Schedule[edit]

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

Game summaries[edit]

Week 1: vs. Oakland Raiders[edit]

Week 1: Oakland Raiders at Minnesota Vikings – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Raiders 0 13 3 0 16
Vikings 10 0 7 7 24

at Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington, Minnesota

  • Date: September 16
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. CDT
  • Game weather: 50 °F (10 °C), Wind 8 mph
  • Game attendance: 44,818
  • Pro-Football-Reference.com
Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • OAK – George Blanda 16-yard field goal. Vikings 10–3.
  • OAK – George Blanda 25-yard field goal. Vikings 10–6.
  • OAK – George Atkinson 63-yard punt return (George Blanda kick). Raiders 13–10.
Third quarter
  • OAK – George Blanda 9-yard field goal. Raiders 16–10.
  • MIN – Chuck Foreman 9-yard pass from Fran Tarkenton (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 17–16.
Fourth quarter
  • MIN – Bill Brown 6-yard run (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 24–16.
Top passers
Top rushers
Top receivers

Week 2: at Chicago Bears[edit]

Week 2: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 0 13 0 9 22
Bears 7 3 0 3 13

at Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois

  • Date: September 23
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. CDT
  • Game weather: 61 °F (16 °C), Wind 10 mph
  • Game attendance: 52,035
  • Pro-Football-Reference.com
Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • CHI – Mac Percival 31-yard field goal. Bears 10–0.
  • MIN – Fred Cox 41-yard field goal. Bears 10–3.
  • MIN – John Beasley 3-yard pass from Fran Tarkenton (Fred Cox kick). Tied 10–10.
  • MIN – Fred Cox 25-yard field goal. Vikings 13–10.
Third quarter
  • None.
Fourth quarter
  • MIN – Fred Cox 14-yard field goal. Vikings 16–10.
  • MIN – Fred Cox 11-yard field goal. Vikings 19–10.
  • CHI – Mac Percival 12-yard field goal. Vikings 19–13.
  • MIN – Fred Cox 35-yard field goal. Vikings 22–13.
Top passers
Top rushers
Top receivers

Week 3: vs. Green Bay Packers[edit]

Week 3: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Packers 0 3 0 0 3
Vikings 0 5 3 3 11

at Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington, Minnesota

  • Date: September 30
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. CDT
  • Game weather: 56 °F (13 °C), Wind 10 mph
  • Game attendance: 48,176
  • Pro-Football-Reference.com
Game information
First quarter
  • None.
Second quarter
  • GB – Chester Marcol 42-yard field goal. Packers 3–0.
  • MIN – MacArthur Lane tackled in end zone for a safety. Packers 3–2.
  • MIN – Fred Cox 22-yard field goal. Vikings 5–3.
Third quarter
  • MIN – Fred Cox 13-yard field goal. Vikings 8–3.
Fourth quarter
  • MIN – Fred Cox 14-yard field goal. Vikings 11–3.
Top passers
Top rushers
Top receivers

Week 4: at Detroit Lions[edit]

Week 4: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 14 6 0 3 23
Lions 3 3 3 0 9

at Tiger Stadium, Detroit, Michigan

  • Date: October 7
  • Game time: 3:00 p.m. CDT
  • Game weather: 61 °F (16 °C), Wind 8 mph
  • Game attendance: 49,549
  • Pro-Football-Reference.com
Game information
First quarter
  • MIN – Ed Marinaro 12-yard pass from Fran Tarkenton (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 7–0.
  • MIN – Ed Marinaro 8-yard pass from Fran Tarkenton (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 14–0.
  • DET – Errol Mann 37-yard field goal. Vikings 14–3.
Second quarter
  • DET – Errol Mann 15-yard field goal. Vikings 14–6.
  • MIN – Fred Cox 38-yard field goal. Vikings 17–6.
  • MIN – Fred Cox 37-yard field goal. Vikings 20–6.
Third quarter
  • DET – Errol Mann 33-yard field goal. Vikings 20–9.
Fourth quarter
  • MIN – Fred Cox 27-yard field goal. Vikings 23–9.
Top passers
Top rushers
Top receivers

Week 5: at San Francisco 49ers[edit]

Week 5: Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 7 7 0 3 17
49ers 3 3 7 0 13

at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California

  • Date: October 14
  • Game time: 3:00 p.m. CDT
  • Game weather: 64 °F (18 °C), Wind 8 mph
  • Game attendance: 56,438
  • Pro-Football-Reference.com
Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • MIN – Chuck Foreman 1-yard run (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 14–3.
  • SF – Bruce Gossett 41-yard field goal. Vikings 14–6.
Third quarter
Fourth quarter
  • MIN – Fred Cox 22-yard field goal. Vikings 17–13.
Top passers
Top rushers
Top receivers

Week 6: vs. Philadelphia Eagles[edit]

Week 6: Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Eagles 0 7 7 7 21
Vikings 7 7 7 7 28

at Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington, Minnesota

  • Date: October 21
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. CDT
  • Game weather: 54 °F (12 °C), Wind 13 mph
  • Game attendance: 47,478
  • Pro-Football-Reference.com
Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
Third quarter
  • MIN – John Gilliam 24-yard pass from Fran Tarkenton (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 21–7.
  • PHI – Lee Bouggess 2-yard run (Tom Dempsey kick). Vikings 21–14.
Fourth quarter
  • MIN – Chuck Foreman 5-yard run (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 28–14.
  • PHI – Charle Young 17-yard run (Tom Dempsey kick). Vikings 28–21.
Top passers
Top rushers
Top receivers

Week 7: vs. Los Angeles Rams[edit]

Week 7: Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota Vikings – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Rams 0 3 3 3 9
Vikings 3 7 0 0 10

at Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington, Minnesota

  • Date: October 28
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. CST
  • Game weather: 41 °F (5 °C), Wind 18 mph
  • Game attendance: 47,787
  • Pro-Football-Reference.com
Game information
First quarter
  • MIN – Fred Cox 15-yard field goal. Vikings 3–0.
Second quarter
Third quarter
  • LA – David Ray 35-yard field goal. Vikings 10–6.
Fourth quarter
  • LA – David Ray 47-yard field goal. Vikings 10–9.
Top passers
Top rushers
Top receivers

Week 8: vs. Cleveland Browns[edit]

Week 8: Cleveland Browns at Minnesota Vikings – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Browns 3 0 0 0 3
Vikings 3 6 7 10 26

at Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington, Minnesota

  • Date: November 4
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. CST
  • Game weather: 27 °F (−3 °C), Wind 11 mph
  • Game attendance: 46,722
  • Pro-Football-Reference.com
Game information
First quarter
  • CLE – Don Cockroft 27-yard field goal. Browns 3–0.
  • MIN – Fred Cox 16-yard field goal. Tied 3–3.
Second quarter
  • MIN – Fred Cox 23-yard field goal. Vikings 6–3.
  • MIN – Fred Cox 33-yard field goal. Vikings 9–3.
Third quarter
  • MIN – Oscar Reed 3-yard run (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 16–3.
Fourth quarter
  • MIN – Stu Voigt 7-yard pass from Fran Tarkenton (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 23–3.
  • MIN – Fred Cox 41-yard field goal. Vikings 26–3.
Top passers
Top rushers
Top receivers

Week 9: vs. Detroit Lions[edit]

Week 9: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Lions 7 0 0 0 7
Vikings 7 7 14 0 28

at Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington, Minnesota

  • Date: November 11
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. CST
  • Game weather: 39 °F (4 °C), Wind 10 mph
  • Game attendance: 47,911
  • Pro-Football-Reference.com
Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • MIN – Wally Hilgenberg 2-yard fumble return (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 14–7.
Third quarter
Fourth quarter
  • None.
Top passers
Top rushers
Top receivers

Week 10: at Atlanta Falcons[edit]

Week 10: Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 0 7 0 7 14
Falcons 0 17 3 0 20

at Atlanta Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia

  • Date: Monday, November 19
  • Game time: 8:00 p.m. CST
  • Game weather: 57 °F (14 °C), Wind 5 mph
  • Game attendance: 56,519
  • Pro-Football-Reference.com
Game information
First quarter
  • None.
Second quarter
Third quarter
  • ATL – Nick Mike-Mayer 49-yard field goal. Falcons 20–7.
Fourth quarter
  • MIN – Bill Brown 2-yard pass from Fran Tarkenton (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 20–14.
Top passers
Top rushers
Top receivers

Week 11: vs. Chicago Bears[edit]

Week 11: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Bears 3 0 3 7 13
Vikings 3 7 14 7 31

at Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington, Minnesota

  • Date: November 25
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. CST
  • Game weather: 36 °F (2 °C), Wind 8 mph
  • Game attendance: 46,430
  • Pro-Football-Reference.com
Game information
First quarter
  • MIN – Fred Cox 41-yard field goal. Vikings 3–0.
  • CHI – Mirro Roder 43-yard field goal. Tied 3–3.
Second quarter
  • MIN – Chuck Foreman 2-yard run (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 10–3.
Third quarter
  • CHI – Mirro Roder 24-yard field goal. Vikings 10–6.
  • MIN – John Gilliam 54-yard pass from Fran Tarkenton (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 17–6.
  • MIN – Fran Tarkenton 8-yard run (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 24–6.
Fourth quarter
  • MIN – John Gilliam 30-yard pass from Bob Berry (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 31–6.
  • CHI – Earl Thomas 29-yard pass from Gary Huff (Mirro Roder kick). Vikings 31–13.
Top passers
Top rushers
Top receivers

Week 12: at Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

Week 12: Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 0 0 0 0 0
Bengals 0 10 10 7 27

at Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Date: December 2
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. CST
  • Game weather: 42 °F (6 °C), Wind 10 mph
  • Game attendance: 57,859
  • Pro-Football-Reference.com
Game information
First quarter
  • None.
Second quarter
  • CIN – Horst Muhlmann 22-yard field goal. Bengals 3–0.
  • CIN – Lemar Parrish 23-yard fumble return (Horst Muhlmann kick). Bengals 10–0.
Third quarter
  • CIN – Essex Johnson 40-yard run (Horst Muhlmann kick). Bengals 17–0.
  • CIN – Horst Muhlmann 38-yard field goal. Bengals 20–0.
Fourth quarter
Top passers
Top rushers
Top receivers

Week 13: at Green Bay Packers[edit]

Week 13: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 14 14 3 0 31
Packers 0 0 0 7 7

at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

  • Date: Saturday, December 8
  • Game time: 12:00 p.m. CST
  • Game weather: 26 °F (−3 °C), Wind 16 mph
  • Game attendance: 53,830
  • Pro-Football-Reference.com
Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • MIN – Chuck Foreman 50-yard run (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 21–0.
  • MIN – John Gilliam 20-yard pass from Fran Tarkenton (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 28–0.
Third quarter
  • MIN – Fred Cox 15-yard field goal. Vikings 31–0.
Fourth quarter
Top passers
Top rushers
Top receivers

Week 14: at New York Giants[edit]

Week 14: Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants – Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 7 10 0 14 31
Giants 0 0 0 7 7

at Yale Bowl, New Haven, Connecticut

  • Date: December 16
  • Game time: 12:00 p.m. CST
  • Game weather: 30 °F (−1 °C)
  • Game attendance: 70,041
  • Pro-Football-Reference.com
Game information
First quarter
Second quarter
  • MIN – Fred Cox 22-yard field goal. Vikings 10–0.
  • MIN – Terry Brown 63-yard interception return (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 17–0.
Third quarter
  • None.
Fourth quarter
Top passers
Top rushers
Top receivers

Standings[edit]

NFC Central
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
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

Playoffs[edit]

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

NFC Divisional Playoff[edit]

Washington Redskins at Minnesota Vikings
1 2 3 4 Total
Redskins 0 7 3 10 20
Vikings 0 3 7 17 27

at Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington, Minnesota

  • Date: Saturday, December 22
  • Game time: 1:00 PM
  • Game weather: 19 °F (−7 °C), wind 11 mph, wind chill 7 °F (−14 °C), relative humidity 71%
  • TV: CBS
  • Pro-Football-Reference.com
Game information
First Quarter
  • None.
Second Quarter
Third Quarter
  • MIN – Bill Brown 2-yard run (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 10–7
  • WAS – Curt Knight 52-yard field goal. Tied 10–10
Fourth Quarter
  • WAS – Curt Knight 42-yard field goal. Redskins 13-10
  • MIN – John Gilliam 28-yard pass from Fran Tarkenton (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 17–13
  • MIN – John Gilliam 6-yard pass from Fran Tarkenton (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 24–13
  • WAS – Roy Jefferson 28-yard pass from Billy Kilmer (Curt Knight kick). Vikings 24–20
  • MIN – Fred Cox 30-yard field goal. Vikings 27–20
Top passers
Top rushers
Top receivers

NFC Championship Game[edit]

Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys
1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 3 7 7 10 27
Cowboys 0 0 10 0 10

at Texas Stadium, Irving, Texas

  • Date: December 30
  • Game time: 1:00 PM
  • Game weather: 48 °F (9 °C), wind 13 mph, relative humidity 60%
  • TV: CBS
  • Pro-Football-Reference.com
Game information
First Quarter
  • MIN – Fred Cox 44-yard field goal. Vikings 3–0
Second Quarter
  • MIN – Chuck Foreman 5-yard run (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 10–0
Third Quarter
Fourth Quarter
  • MIN – Bobby Bryant 63-yard interception return (Fred Cox kick). Vikings 24–10
  • MIN – Fred Cox 34-yard field goal. Vikings 27-10
Top passers
Top rushers
Top receivers

Super Bowl VIII[edit]

Main article: Super Bowl VIII
Minnesota Vikings vs. Miami Dolphins
1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings (NFC) 0 0 0 7 7
Dolphins (AFC) 14 3 7 0 24

at Rice Stadium, Houston, Texas

Statistics[edit]

Team leaders[edit]

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[edit]

Category Total Yards Yards Per Game NFL Rank
(out of 26)
Passing Offense 1,956 Yards 139.7 YPG 14th
Rushing Offense 2,275 Yards 162.5 YPG 6th
Total Offense 4,231 Yards 302.2 YPG 7th
Passing Defense 1,894 Yards 135.3 YPG 12th
Rushing Defense 1,974 Yards 141.0 YPG 11th
Total Defense 3,868 Yards 276.3 YPG 12th

References[edit]

External links[edit]