1978 Minnesota Vikings season

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1978 Minnesota Vikings season
Head coach Bud Grant
Home field Metropolitan Stadium
Results
Record 8–7–1
Division place 1st NFC Central
Playoff finish Lost Divisional Round
Timeline
Previous season Next season
< 1977 1979 >

The 1978 Minnesota Vikings season was the team's 18th in the National Football League. The Vikings finished with a record of eight wins, seven losses, and one tie, and finished in first place in the NFC Central division.

In 2004, Football Outsiders named the 1978 Vikings as one of the "worst playoff teams ever":[1]

"A 10–10 tie against the Packers on Thanksgiving weekend helped the Vikings clinch the division. The Vikings won the first meeting between the two teams, but the Packers would eventually have a better division record (the Vikings had lost to the 5–11 Buccaneers early in the year). A win might have given the Packers the division. Green Bay led 10–3 with under two minutes to play, but Fran Tarkenton led a 57-yard drive that ended with a five-yard touchdown pass to Ahmad Rashad to force overtime. Both teams missed field goals in overtime, and the Vikings emerged with a better head-to-head record.

The Vikings were 7–5–1 after that game and looked like a legitimate playoff team, but after a tight win against the Eagles, the team lost their final two games, including a 45–14 blowout at the hands of the Lions. The weak finish foreshadowed a quick exit from the postseason. The Rams beat the Vikings in the opening round of the playoffs 34–10, outgaining Bud Grant's team 409–244.

Were those Vikings an up-and-coming team? Just the opposite: they were a perennial Super Bowl contender on their way down. They had talent, but players like Tarkenton (38 years old), Carl Eller (36), Jim Marshall (40), Mick Tingelhoff (38) and Paul Krausse (36) were on their last legs. The Vikings had spent the early part of the 1970s beating up on the NFC Central. [...] [I]n 1975, the Vikings went 12–2, and no division opponents was [Sic] above .500. In 1977 and 1978, they started falling back to earth."

The Vikings won the division despite being outscored by twelve points in the regular season.

Offseason[edit]

1978 Draft[edit]

Main article: 1978 NFL Draft
Draft order Player name Position College Notes
Round Choice Overall
1 21 21 Randy Holloway Defensive End Pittsburgh
2 20 48 John Turner Defensive Back Miami
3 19 75 Whip Walton Linebacker San Diego State
4 16 100 Jim Hough Center Utah State
5 22 132 Traded to the New York Giants[a]
6 21 159 Traded to the San Francisco 49ers[b]
7 20 186 Traded to the Philadelphia Eagles[c]
8 10 204 Mike Wood Kicker Southeast Missouri State from Seahawks[d]
19 213 Traded to the New York Jets[e]
9 18 240 Mike Deutsch Punter Colorado State
10 22 272 Hughie Shaw Running Back Texas A&I
11 21 299 Ron Harris Running Back Colorado State
12 20 326 Jeff Morrow Offensive Tackle Minnesota
^[a] Minnesota traded their 5th round selection (132nd overall) to the New York Giants for TE Bob Tucker.
^[b] Minnesota traded their 6th round selection (159th overall) to San Francisco for DBs Windlan Hill and Nate Allen.
^[c] Minnesota traded their 7th round selection (186th overall) for Safety Bill Bradley.
^[d] Seattle traded their 8th round selection (204th overall) to Minnesota for CB Autry Beamon and LB Amos Martin.
^[e] Minnesota traded their 8th round selection (213th overall) and 1979 10th round selection (263rd overall) to the New York Jets for Safety Phil Wise.

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 3, 1978 at New Orleans Saints L 31–24
54,187
2 September 11, 1978 Denver Broncos W 12–9
46,508
3 September 17, 1978 Tampa Bay Buccaneers L 16–10
46,152
4 September 25, 1978 at Chicago Bears W 24–20
53,551
5 October 1, 1978 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 24–7
65,972
6 October 8, 1978 at Seattle Seahawks L 29–28
62,031
7 October 15, 1978 Los Angeles Rams L 34–17
46,551
8 October 22, 1978 Green Bay Packers W 21–7
47,411
9 October 26, 1978 at Dallas Cowboys W 21–10
61,848
10 November 5, 1978 Detroit Lions W 17–7
46,008
11 November 12, 1978 Chicago Bears W 17–14
43,286
12 November 19, 1978 San Diego Chargers L 13–7
38,859
13 November 26, 1978 at Green Bay Packers T 10–10 (OT)
51,737
14 December 3, 1978 Philadelphia Eagles W 28–27
38,722
15 December 9, 1978 at Detroit Lions L 45–14
78,685
16 December 17, 1978 at Oakland Raiders L 27–20
44,643

Playoffs[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
Divisional December 31, 1978 at Los Angeles Rams L 34–10
69,631

Standings[edit]

NFC Central
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA
Minnesota Vikings(3) 8 7 1 .531 5–2–1 7–4–1 294 306
Green Bay Packers 8 7 1 .531 5–2–1 6–5–1 249 269
Detroit Lions 7 9 0 .438 4–4 5–7 290 300
Chicago Bears 7 9 0 .438 3–5 7–5 253 274
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5 11 0 .313 2–6 3–11 241 259

Statistics[edit]

Team leaders[edit]

Category Player(s) Value
Passing Yards Fran Tarkenton 3,468
Passing Touchdowns Fran Tarkenton 25
Rushing Yards Chuck Foreman 749
Rushing Touchdowns Chuck Foreman 5
Receiving Yards Ahmad Rashād 769
Receiving Touchdowns Sammy White 9
Points Rick Danmeier 72
Kickoff Return Yards Kevin Miller 854
Punt Return Yards Kevin Miller 239
Interceptions Bobby Bryant 7

League rankings[edit]

Category Total Yards Yards Per Game NFL Rank
Passing Offense 3,243 Yards 202.7 YPG 2nd
Rushing Offense 1,536 Yards 96.0 YPG 28th
Total Offense 4,779 Yards 298.7 YPG 17th
Passing Defense 2,690 Yards 168.1 YPG 19th
Rushing Defense 2,116 Yards 132.3 YPG 10th
Total Defense 4,806 Yards 300.4 YPG 14th

References[edit]