1971 Minnesota Vikings season

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1971 Minnesota Vikings season
Head coach Bud Grant
General manager Jim Finks
Home field Metropolitan Stadium
Results
Record 11–3
Division place 1st NFC Central
Playoff finish Lost Divisional Playoffs (Cowboys) 20–12

The 1971 Minnesota Vikings season was the franchise's 11th season in the National Football League. The Vikings won the NFC Central title as they finished with a record of 11 wins and three losses, before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys at home, 20–12, in the NFC Divisional Playoff game.

In 2007, ESPN.com ranked the 1971 Vikings as the fourth-greatest defense in NFL history,[1] saying, "[c]onsidering that their motto was 'Meet at the quarterback,' it's no surprise that the [Purple People] Eaters held opposing QBs to a 40.4 rating, one of the lowest ever." ESPN also noted that the 1971 Vikings "shut out three opponents, and only one team scored more than 20 points against them. As a result, Alan Page became the first defensive player to ever be named NFL MVP. Carl Eller, Jim Marshall and safety Paul Krause joined Page on the All-Pro team."

Offseason[edit]

1971 Draft[edit]

Main article: 1971 NFL draft
1971 Minnesota Vikings Draft
Draft order Player name Position College Notes
Round Choice Overall
1 24 24 Leo Hayden Running Back Ohio State
2 24 50 Traded to the Philadelphia Eagles[a]
3 24 76 Eddie Hackett Wide Receiver Alcorn A&M
4 24 102 Vince Clements Running Back Connecticut
5 24 128 Traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers[b]
6 24 154 Traded to the Philadelphia Eagles[a]
7 24 180 Gene Mack Linebacker Texas-El Paso
8 26 208 John Farley Defensive End Johnson C. Smith originally Colts pick[c]
9 24 232 Tim Sullivan Running Back Iowa
10 24 258 Chris Morris Guard Indiana
11 24 284 Mike Walker Linebacker Tulane
12 24 310 Reggie Holmes Defensive Back Wisconsin–Stout
13 24 336 Benny Fry Center Houston
14 24 362 Jim Gallagher Linebacker Yale
15 24 388 Jeff Wright Defensive Back Minnesota
16 23 413 Greg Edmonds Wide Receiver Penn State originally 49ers pick[d]
17 23 439 Ken Duncan Punter Tulsa originally 49ers pick[e]
^[a] Minnesota traded their 2nd round selection (50th overall), 6th round selection (154th overall), 1972 3rd round selection (76th overall), and OL Steve Smith to Philadelphia for QB Norm Snead.
^[b] Minnesota traded their 5th round selection (128th overall) to Pittsburg for QB Kent Nix.
^[c] Minnesota originally chose 206th overall but passed allowing Dallas and Baltimore to move up and Minnesota to choose 208th overall.
^[d] Minnesota originally chose 414th overall but moved up to the 413th overall selection when San Francisco passed.
^[e] Minnesota originally chose 440th overall but moved up to the 439th overall selection when Oakland passed on the 435th overall selection and allowed Los Angeles, Detroit, Miami, San Francisco, Minnesota, Dallas, and Baltimore to move up.

Regular season[edit]

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Results Venue Attendance
Final score Team record
1 September 20 at Detroit Lions W 16–13 1–0 Tiger Stadium
54,418
2 September 26 Chicago Bears L 17-20 1–1 Metropolitan Stadium
47,900
3 October 3 Buffalo Bills W 19–0 2–1 Metropolitan Stadium
47,900
4 October 10 at Philadelphia Eagles W 13–0 3–1 Veterans Stadium
65,358
5 October 17 at Green Bay Packers W 24–13 4–1 Lambeau Field
56,263
6 October 25 Baltimore Colts W 10–3 5–1 Metropolitan Stadium
49,784
7 October 31 at New York Giants W 17–10 6–1 Yankee Stadium
62,829
8 November 7 San Francisco 49ers L 9-13 6–2 Metropolitan Stadium
49,784
9 November 14 Green Bay Packers W 3–0 7–2 Metropolitan Stadium
49,784
10 November 21 at New Orleans Saints W 23–10 8–2 Tulane Stadium
83,130
11 November 28 Atlanta Falcons W 24–7 9–2 Metropolitan Stadium
49,784
12 December 5 at San Diego Chargers L 14-30 9–3 San Diego Stadium
54,505
13 December 11 Detroit Lions W 29–10 10–3 Metropolitan Stadium
49,784
14 December 19 at Chicago Bears W 27–10 11–3 Soldier Field
55,049

Game summaries[edit]

Week 6[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Colts 0 0 0 3 3
• Vikings 7 0 3 0 10

[2]

Playoffs[edit]

Round Date Opponent Result Venue Attendance
Divisional December 25 Dallas Cowboys L 12-20 Metropolitan Stadium
47,307

Standings[edit]

NFC Central
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
Minnesota Vikings 11 3 0 .786 5–1 9–2 245 139 W2
Detroit Lions 7 6 1 .538 2–3–1 3–6–1 341 286 L2
Chicago Bears 6 8 0 .429 2–4 5–6 185 276 L5
Green Bay Packers 4 8 2 .333 2–3–1 2–7–2 274 298 L1

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.

Awards, records, and honors[edit]

All-Pros[edit]

First Team

Pro Bowlers[edit]

League leaders[edit]

  • Bob Lee – Most punts (89), most punting yards (3515)
  • Charlie West – Longest interception return (89 yards)
  • Alan Page – Most safeties (2)

Statistics[edit]

Team leaders[edit]

Category Player(s) Value
Passing Yards Gary Cuozzo 842
Passing Touchdowns Gary Cuozzo 6
Rushing Yards Clint Jones 675
Rushing Touchdowns Dave Osborn 5
Receiving Yards Bob Grim 691
Receiving Touchdowns Bob Grim 7
Points Fred Cox 91
Kickoff Return Yards Charlie West 556
Punt Return Yards Charlie West 94
Interceptions Charlie West 7

League rankings[edit]

Category Total yards Yards per game NFL rank
(out of 26)
Passing Offense 1,655 Yards 118.2 YPG 25th
Rushing Offense 1,695 Yards 121.1 YPG 17th
Total Offense 3,350 Yards 239.3 YPG 23rd
Passing Defense 1,806 Yards 129.0 YPG 3rd
Rushing Defense 1,600 Yards 114.3 YPG 6th
Total Defense 3,406 Yards 243.3 YPG 2nd

References[edit]