List of Minnesota Vikings starting quarterbacks

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A white man wearing a white and purple American football uniform. His helmet and the trim on the sleeves of his jersey are purple and there is a large numeral "4" in purple on his chest.
Brett Favre took over as the Vikings' starting quarterback in 2009.

The Minnesota Vikings are a professional American football team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). A franchise was granted to Minneapolis businessmen Bill Boyer, H. P. Skoglund and Max Winter in 1959 as a member of the American Football League (AFL). The ownership forfeited their AFL membership in January 1960 and received the National Football League's 14th franchise on January 28, 1960 that started play in 1961.[1]

The Vikings have had 30 starting quarterbacks (QB) in the history of their franchise; they have never had more than three starting quarterbacks in one season.[a] The Vikings' past starting quarterbacks include Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees Fran Tarkenton and Warren Moon.[2] The team's first starting quarterback was George Shaw; he was replaced by Tarkenton in the franchise's first game, and the future Hall of Famer retained the starting role for most of the remainder of the season. The Vikings' starting quarterback from 2009 to 2010 was Brett Favre—formerly of the Vikings' rivals, the Green Bay Packers—who was playing in his 19th season in the NFL.

The 2011 season started with quarterback Donovan McNabb, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins, under center. He was benched late in the sixth game of the season and replaced with rookie Christian Ponder. Ponder became the 31st starting quarterback in Vikings history the following week, when he made his first NFL start in a 33–27 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

History[edit]

The Vikings' starting quarterback for the first game of their inaugural season against the Chicago Bears was George Shaw.[3] However, he was replaced by Fran Tarkenton early on, who passed for four touchdowns in the game and rushed for one more. Tarkenton went on to start in 10 of the Vikings' 14 regular season matches that year.[4] He played for the Vikings until 1967, when he was traded to the New York Giants,[5] and Joe Kapp took his place as the Vikings' starting QB.[6] Kapp led the Vikings to their first playoff appearance in 1968,[7] but he was traded to the Boston Patriots in 1970 and Gary Cuozzo stepped up to replace him.[6][8] Cuozzo remained in the position for two seasons, moving to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1972.[8]

Tarkenton returned for another seven-year spell as the Vikings' starting quarterback in 1972, continuing until his retirement in 1978,[5] at which point Tommy Kramer was promoted from the second string in his second season with the franchise.[9] Kramer was injured for most of the 1983 season, so Steve Dils served as the starting quarterback for most of the season,[10] before Kramer reclaimed the position in 1984.[9] For the 1987 season, Kramer shared QB duties with Wade Wilson, before Wilson took over on a permanent basis from 1988.[11] Wilson was replaced by the emerging Rich Gannon in 1990,[12] but Gannon was released after the 1992 season and veteran Jim McMahon took over for the 1993 season until the arrival of Warren Moon in 1994.[13]

Moon retained the starting QB spot for two seasons,[14] but suffered a broken collarbone halfway through his third season with the Vikings and was replaced by Brad Johnson for the remainder of the season.[15] The Vikings had three starting quarterbacks in the following three seasons – Johnson (1997),[15] Randall Cunningham (1998)[16] and Jeff George (1999)[17] – before Daunte Culpepper began a six-year spell in his second year in the NFL in 2000.[18] He suffered a serious knee injury during the 2005 season, and Johnson took over in the position again, having re-signed the previous summer after seven years away from the franchise.[15] Culpepper then joined the Miami Dolphins in 2006,[18] giving Johnson another full year as starting QB,[15] only to be replaced by sophomore Tarvaris Jackson in 2007.[19] The 2008 season commenced with Jackson starting at quarterback,[19] but he was replaced after two games by Gus Frerotte, who was returning to the Vikings from the St. Louis Rams after having been traded to the Miami Dolphins in 2005.[20] Jackson regained the job for the final three games and led the Vikings to their first divisional title since 2000, and their first NFC North title.[19]

In 2009, the Vikings recruited veteran QB Brett Favre out of retirement to be their new starting quarterback.[21] In Week 13 of the 2010 season, Favre suffered a chest injury that ended his NFL-record streak of consecutive starts at 297 (321 including postseason games), and Tarvaris Jackson reclaimed the starting spot for Week 14. However, Jackson was injured himself in Week 15, giving rookie Joe Webb a chance to stake a claim for the position. He was unable to hold onto the position as Donovan McNabb was signed as a free agent to replace Favre, who retired at the end of the 2010 season. After going 1–5 through the first six games of 2011, though, McNabb was replaced by first-round draft pick Christian Ponder, who retained the starting position for the remainder of the season and for the whole of 2012. However, he was plagued by indifferent form and the Vikings signed Matt Cassel – recently released by the Kansas City Chiefs. When Ponder suffered an injury early in the 2013 season, Cassel was given his first start for the Vikings in week 4 in the NFL International Series game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Wembley Stadium, London. He started the following game, but was replaced in week 7 by Josh Freeman, recently signed after his release by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, he was injured during the game and did not make another start for the Vikings, allowing Ponder to reclaim the starting role. Cassel then returned as the starter in week 14, and retained the role for the rest of the season and into 2014. After three games, he was placed on injured reserve and first-round draft pick Teddy Bridgewater took over for the week 4 game against the Atlanta Falcons. Bridgewater himself was injured late in the game, allowing Ponder the chance to come back in for the following week, but he soon returned and has held the starting berth ever since.

Starting quarterbacks by season[edit]

Head and shoulders of a bald black man wearing a light shirt and a black suit jacket.
Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Warren Moon was the Minnesota Vikings' starting quarterback from 1994 to 1996.
A smiling black man with very short, dark hair, wearing a white sleeveless shirt.
Daunte Culpepper was the Vikings' starting quarterback for six seasons from 2000 to 2005.
A white man wearing a purple jersey with white trim and a large numeral "9" in white on his chest. He is wearing a purple American football helmet with a dark visor covering his eyes.
Jim McMahon was the Vikings' starting quarterback for the 1993 season.
Year Column links to corresponding team season
(#) Number of games started in the regular season or post-season win–loss record
Inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame[2]

Regular season[edit]

Season Quarterback(s) Ref(s)
1961 Fran Tarkenton (10) / George Shaw (4) [4][5][3]
1962 Fran Tarkenton (14) [22]
1963 Fran Tarkenton (13) / Ron Vander Kelen (1) [23][24]
1964 Fran Tarkenton (14) [25]
1965 Fran Tarkenton (14) [26]
1966 Fran Tarkenton (12) / Bob Berry (1) / Ron Vander Kelen (1) [27][28]
1967 Joe Kapp (11) / Ron Vander Kelen (3) [29][6]
1968 Joe Kapp (14) [7]
1969 Joe Kapp (13) / Gary Cuozzo (1) [30][8]
1970 Gary Cuozzo (12) / Bob Lee (2) [31][32]
1971 Gary Cuozzo (8) / Bob Lee (4) / Norm Snead (2) [33][34]
1972 Fran Tarkenton (14) [35]
1973 Fran Tarkenton (14) [36]
1974 Fran Tarkenton (13) / Bob Berry (1) [37]
1975 Fran Tarkenton (14) [38]
1976 Fran Tarkenton (13) / Bob Lee (1) [39]
1977 Fran Tarkenton (9) / Bob Lee (4) / Tommy Kramer (1) [40][9]
1978[b] Fran Tarkenton (16) [41]
1979 Tommy Kramer (16) [42]
1980 Tommy Kramer (15) / Steve Dils (1) [43][10]
1981 Tommy Kramer (14) / Steve Dils (2) [44]
1982[c] Tommy Kramer (9) [45]
1983 Steve Dils (12) / Tommy Kramer (3) / Wade Wilson (1) [46][11]
1984 Tommy Kramer (9) / Wade Wilson (5) / Archie Manning (2) [47][48]
1985 Tommy Kramer (15) / Wade Wilson (1) [49]
1986 Tommy Kramer (13) / Wade Wilson (3) [50]
1987[c] Wade Wilson (7) / Tommy Kramer (5) / Tony Adams (3) [51][52]
1988 Wade Wilson (10) / Tommy Kramer (6) [53]
1989 Wade Wilson (12) / Tommy Kramer (4) [54]
1990 Rich Gannon (12) / Wade Wilson (4) [55][12]
1991 Rich Gannon (11) / Wade Wilson (5) [56]
1992 Rich Gannon (12) / Sean Salisbury (4) [57][58]
1993 Jim McMahon (12) / Sean Salisbury (4) [59][13]
1994 Warren Moon (15) / Sean Salisbury (1) [60][14]
1995 Warren Moon (16) [61]
1996 Warren Moon (8) / Brad Johnson (8) [62][15]
1997 Brad Johnson (13) / Randall Cunningham (3) [63][16]
1998 Randall Cunningham (14) / Brad Johnson (2) [64]
1999 Jeff George (10) / Randall Cunningham (6) [65][17]
2000 Daunte Culpepper (16) [66][18]
2001 Daunte Culpepper (11) / Todd Bouman (3) / Spergon Wynn (2) [67][68][69]
2002 Daunte Culpepper (16) [70]
2003 Daunte Culpepper (14) / Gus Frerotte (2) [71][20]
2004 Daunte Culpepper (16) [72]
2005 Brad Johnson (9) / Daunte Culpepper (7) [73]
2006 Brad Johnson (14) / Tarvaris Jackson (2) [74][19]
2007 Tarvaris Jackson (12) / Kelly Holcomb (3) / Brooks Bollinger (1) [75][76][77]
2008 Gus Frerotte (11) / Tarvaris Jackson (5) [78]
2009 Brett Favre (16) [79][21]
2010 Brett Favre (13) / Tarvaris Jackson (1) / Joe Webb (2) [80][81]
2011 Christian Ponder (10) / Donovan McNabb (6) [82][83][84]
2012 Christian Ponder (16) [85]
2013 Christian Ponder (9) / Matt Cassel (6) / Josh Freeman (1) [86][87][88]
2014 Teddy Bridgewater (11) / Matt Cassel (3) / Christian Ponder (1) [89][87][84]

Post-season[edit]

Season Quarterback(s) Ref(s)
1968 Joe Kapp (0–1) [6]
1969 Joe Kapp (2–1) [6]
1970 Gary Cuozzo (0–1) [8]
1971 Bob Lee (0–1) [32]
1973 Fran Tarkenton (2–1) [5]
1974 Fran Tarkenton (2–1) [5]
1975 Fran Tarkenton (0–1) [5]
1976 Fran Tarkenton (2–1) [5]
1977 Bob Lee (1–1) [32]
1978 Fran Tarkenton (0–1) [5]
1980 Tommy Kramer (0–1) [9]
1982 Tommy Kramer (1–1) [9]
1987 Tommy Kramer (1–0) / Wade Wilson (1–1) [9][11]
1988 Wade Wilson (1–1) [11]
1989 Wade Wilson (0–1) [11]
1992 Sean Salisbury (0–1) [58]
1993 Jim McMahon (0–1) [13]
1994 Warren Moon (0–1) [14]
1996 Brad Johnson (0–1) [15]
1997 Randall Cunningham (1–1) [16]
1998 Randall Cunningham (1–1) [16]
1999 Jeff George (1–1) [17]
2000 Daunte Culpepper (1–1) [18]
2004 Daunte Culpepper (1–1) [18]
2008 Tarvaris Jackson (0–1) [19]
2009 Brett Favre (1–1) [21]
2012 Joe Webb (0–1) [81]

Statistics[edit]

Having been the franchise's starting quarterback for 13 seasons (longer than any other Vikings player), Fran Tarkenton holds the record for the most starts in a Vikings jersey, and those for the most wins and ties.[90] He is also the franchise's leading passer in terms of numbers of attempts, completions, total yards gained and passing touchdowns, although Brett Favre has the best pass completion percentage.[90] However, Tarkenton has also thrown the most interceptions.[90] The record for the longest completed pass by a Vikings starting quarterback is held by Gus Frerotte, who threw a 99-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Bernard Berrian in a home game against the Chicago Bears in the 2008 season.[90][91]

Tarkenton is also the franchise leader for rushing attempts and rushing yards as a quarterback, but it is Daunte Culpepper – with 72 fewer rushing yards on 10 fewer attempts than Tarkenton – who has the most rushing touchdowns.[92] Joe Webb holds the record for the longest rush with a 65-yard run in Minnesota's 34–28 road loss to the Detroit Lions in 2011.[92][93]

Years Years that the quarterback was on the Vikings' roster Yds Yards gained by passing
GP Games played (regular season) TD Passing touchdowns
GS Games started (regular season) Int Interceptions thrown
W Number of wins as starting quarterback Lng Longest completed pass thrown (yards)
L Number of losses as starting quarterback Rate Quarterback rating
T Number of ties as starting quarterback Att Rushes attempted
Cmp Passes completed Yds Yards gained by rushing
Att Passes attempted TD Rushing touchdowns
Cmp% Percentage of passes completed Lng Longest rushing attempt
Name Years GP GS W L T Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD Int Lng Rate Att Yds TD Lng Ref
Passing Statistics Rushing Statistics
Shaw, GeorgeGeorge Shaw 1961 8 4 1 3 0 46 91 50.5 530 4 4 42 64.8 10 39 0 19 [3]
Tarkenton, FranFran Tarkenton 1961–1966
1972–1978
177 170 91 73 6 2635 4569 57.7 33098 239 194 89 80.1 464 2548 22 52 [5]
Vander Kelen, RonRon Vander Kelen 1963–1967 29 5 1 4 0 107 252 42.5 1375 6 11 53 50.0 26 116 1 20 [24]
Berry, BobBob Berry 1965–1967
1973–1975
24 2 1 1 0 63 124 50.8 708 7 8 52 60.1 7 25 0 8 [28]
Kapp, JoeJoe Kapp 1967–1969 40 38 23 12 3 351 699 50.2 4807 37 47 85 62.2 99 540 5 27 [6]
Cuozzo, GaryGary Cuozzo 1968–1971 33 21 16 5 0 276 556 49.6 3552 18 23 72 63.6 36 85 0 15 [8]
Lee, BobBob Lee 1969–1972
1975–1978
52 11 9 2 0 159 306 52.0 2153 15 17 63 67.9 39 37 2 10 [32]
Snead, NormNorm Snead 1971 7 2 2 0 0 37 75 49.3 470 1 6 55 40.4 6 6 1 5 [34]
Kramer, TommyTommy Kramer 1977–1989 128 110 54 56 0 2011 3648 55.1 24775 159 157 76 72.9 214 531 8 20 [9]
Dils, SteveSteve Dils 1979–1984 47 15 6 9 0 336 623 53.9 3867 15 18 68 68.9 24 73 0 19 [10]
Wilson, WadeWade Wilson 1981–1991 76 48 27 21 0 929 1665 55.8 12135 66 75 75 73.4 159 679 9 38 [11]
Manning, ArchieArchie Manning 1983–1984 8 2 0 2 0 52 94 55.3 545 2 3 56 66.1 12 41 0 16 [48]
Adams, TonyTony Adams 1987 3 3 0 3 0 49 89 55.1 607 3 5 63 64.2 11 31 0 12 [52]
Gannon, RichRich Gannon 1987–1992 48 35 19 16 0 561 1003 55.9 6457 40 36 78 73.9 144 720 3 42 [12]
Salisbury, SeanSean Salisbury 1992–1994 22 9 5 4 0 228 404 56.4 2772 14 9 55 80.0 24 1 0 6 [58]
Macmahon, JimJim McMahon 1993 12 12 8 4 0 200 331 60.4 1968 9 8 58 76.2 33 96 0 16 [13]
Moon, WarrenWarren Moon 1994–1996 39 39 21 18 0 882 1454 60.7 10102 58 42 85 82.8 69 143 0 16 [14]
Johnson, BradBrad Johnson 1994–1998
2005–2006
68 46 28 18 0 1036 1670 62.0 11098 65 48 82 82.5 139 368 2 28 [15]
Cunningham, RandallRandall Cunningham 1997–1999 27 23 16 7 0 427 713 59.9 5680 48 23 67 94.2 61 317 1 28 [16]
George, JeffJeff George 1999 12 10 8 2 0 191 329 58.1 2816 23 12 80 94.2 16 41 0 17 [17]
Culpepper, DaunteDaunte Culpepper 1999–2005 81 80 38 42 0 1678 2607 64.4 20162 135 86 82 91.5 454 2476 29 42 [18]
Bouman, ToddTodd Bouman 2001–2002 6 3 1 2 0 54 95 56.8 880 8 4 80 98.6 10 70 0 21 [68]
Wynn, SpergonSpergon Wynn 2001 3 2 0 2 0 48 98 49.0 418 1 6 47 38.6 8 61 0 14 [69]
Frerotte, GusGus Frerotte 2003–2004
2008
43 13 10 3 0 216 367 58.9 2847 19 17 99 81.4 31 5 1 5 [20]
Jackson, TarvarisTarvaris Jackson 2006–2010 36 20 10 10 0 354 603 58.7 3984 24 22 71 76.6 119 535 4 33 [19]
Holcomb, KellyKelly Holcomb 2007 3 3 0 3 0 42 83 50.6 515 2 1 40 73.1 0 0 0 0 [76]
Bollinger, BrooksBrooks Bollinger 2006–2007 7 1 0 1 0 46 68 67.6 537 1 2 50 84.0 5 18 0 10 [77]
Favre, BrettBrett Favre 2009–2010 29 29 17 12 0 580 889 65.2 6711 44 26 63 92.2 26 15 0 10 [21]
Webb, JoeJoe Webb 2010–2013 17 2 1 1 0 88 152 57.9 853 3 5 46 66.6 41 273 4 65 [81]
McNabb, DonovanDonovan McNabb 2011 6 6 1 5 0 94 156 60.3 1026 4 2 60 82.9 14 59 1 23 [83]
Ponder, ChristianChristian Ponder* 2011– 38 36 14 21 1 632 1057 59.8 6658 38 36 72 75.9 126 639 7 29 [84]
Cassel, MattMatt Cassel* 2013– 12 9 5 5 0 194 325 59.7 2232 14 13 79 78.1 27 75 1 13 [87]
Freeman, JoshJosh Freeman 2013 1 1 0 1 0 20 53 37.7 190 0 1 22 40.6 0 0 0 0 [88]
Bridgewater, TeddyTeddy Bridgewater* 2014– 12 11 5 6 0 242 377 64.2 2710 13 11 87 84.9 41 191 1 16 [89]
* Statistics accurate as of week 16 of the 2014 season.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

General
Specific
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