’69 Vikings: Remembered 50 Years Later

40 for 60. That was the mantra for what could be argued as the best Vikings squad to ever take the field.

Bud Grant, finishing his third season coaching with the young franchise, led the talented, yet tough Vikings to a franchise best 12-2 record and their first appearance in the big game: Super Bowl IV.

Although considered a contemporary problem for the franchise, getting to the big game proved to be an impossible effort for the talented squad in the ‘60s.

The Vikings, after stumbling through their franchise’s infancy dating back to 1961, began to build their roster with their newly appointed head coach, Bud Grant, in 1967 after the coaching tenure of former NFL star, Norm Van Brocklin (also known as the “Dutchman”).

What most people do not realize about the 1969 Minnesota Vikings is that they had a real shot at making it to the Super Bowl the previous year.

In 1968, the Vikings were playoff contenders and advanced to face the eventual representative of the NFL in the Super Bowl: the Baltimore Colts. It was a game in which the Colts’ Memorial Stadium was covered in mud. Joe Kapp, the team’s rough-and-tough starting quarterback, provided a valiant effort as the game’s leading rusher with 52 yards, but was battered around all afternoon as the Vikes fell to the Colts 24-14.

Kapp in the snow

Joe Kapp under center in a snowstorm at Metropolitan Stadium.

Kapp’s journey to the purple and gold was not a traditional one, to say the least.

After leading the BC Lions to a CFL Championship appearance in 1963 and a championship victory the following year (while being an all-star in both seasons as well), he held a desire to return to the U.S. to play professional football (he went to college at Cal Berkley). Grant and General Manager, Jim Finks – needing a replacement for the newly traded legend, Fran Tarkenton – both had experienced Kapp’s success in the CFL and wanted him to be their guy.

A multi-player trade occurred between the Vikings and the BC Lions that allowed Kapp to switch leagues in order for numerous Vikings players to switch over to the CFL.

After a rough start to his NFL career statistically, Kapp bounced back in 1969 to career highs with 19 TDs and 1,072 yards through the air, earning him a Pro Bowl selection. He also broke an NFL record by throwing for 7 TDs in one game against the Colts, the team that knocked him and the Vikings out of the playoffs the year before.

The other aspect likely incorporated into the decision of his Pro Bowl honor was his leadership. He was a fierce competitor that was the ultimate team player, often rallying the troops on the sidelines, commanding respect in the huddle, and never being afraid of putting his body out on the line to help the team.

Kapp is also famous for choosing not to accept the team MVP award given to him that season, stating that they win and lose as a team and he could not accomplish the feats he did without his teammates.

Purple People Eaters.jpg

The defensive linemen, known as the “Purple People Eaters,” sit together on the bench.

The real MVP of the Vikings, though, was their defense.

Stars like Alan Page and Paul Krause joined forces with the likes of Carl Eller and Jim Marshall to form the famous defensive nickname, “Purple People Eaters.”

The smashmouth-style defense, mostly known for their legendary defensive line, dominated opponents in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. They led the NFL in least amount of points allowed with 133 points, ranked as the number one team in pass defense with 116.5 yards allowed per game, and number two in rush defense with 77.8 yards allowed per game.

The “Purple People Eaters” invoked fear in the hearts and minds of opposing offenses, stopping them in every facet imaginable.

As explained in the episode of America’s Game: The Missing Rings about the team, Kapp was injured before the start of the season and did not start in the opener. Gary Cuozzo, the popular backup quarterback formerly under Johnny Unitas with the Colts, took the reigns and did a solid job, but the Vikes fell short of their former star quarterback, Fran Tarkenton, of the New York Giants: 24-23.

Kapp would return the following week and break the passing touchdown record vs. the Colts.

You also have to keep in mind that the NFL back then was quite a different landscape than it is today. It is often referred to as the “Dead Ball Era,” meaning that the rules of the game and the style of which it was played does not compare statistically in the slightest to the NFL today.

The rules did not favor the offense, including the quarterback position. The defense could body slam the ball carrier and not get penalized for it. In fact, it would be encouraged. Offensive lineman were limited with how they could pass block and pass interference did not exist like in the way it does today.

Most games were low scoring because of the ground-and-pound approach most teams used. The phrase “offense sells tickets, defense wins championships” was even more prevalent in the ‘60s.

In a way, this Vikings team benefited from the rules of that era.

Their defense would demolish opposing offenses and their run-heavy mentality made life easier for that vaunted defense.

Considering the bitter cold location of the team and their strong demeanor, the cold weather only played to their strengths even more. Offenses struggled with footing and speed was taken out of the equation. With how tough the Vikings defense was, adding the fact that the heart of their defense was on the defensive line, teams could not run or move the ball against them.

The Vikings embraced the cold – Coach Grant would not even allow heaters to be on their sideline during the game – as they would let the opposition take themselves out of the game.


Marshall reaching for Gabriel.jpg

Jim Marshall reaches out to grab Rams quarterback, Roman Gabriel. Image rights go to getty images.

The Vikings first two playoff games in 1969 (and technically 1970) were indicative of that notion.

Their first of two home playoff games saw them hosting the Los Angeles Rams.

They were led by their All-Pro QB Roman Gabriel, whom won the NFL MVP award that season by throwing 24 TDs compared to only 7 INTS.

They also had a staunch defense of their own, known as the “Fearsome Foursome.”

The Rams had quite an interesting season, to say the least. They started off winning their first 11 games (still a team record to this day), but found a way to lose their final 3 games of the regular season. That is what helped the Vikings secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The cold, steam-breath Rams gave the Vikings everything they could handle.

The usually dependable and solid halfback Bill Brown fumbled early in the 1st quarter and an offsides call against our defense nullified a pick-six by DE Carl Eller. Gabriel took advantage of the miscue and led the Rams down the field and into the endzone to take the lead.

Despite Kapp coming out of the gate throwing after the Rams touchdown and leading the Vikings down the field to score a touchdown of their own (a run up-the-gut to Dave Osborne), the Rams would go on to score 10 unanswered points, leading 17-7 at halftime.

A wake-up call to a team destined to reach the Super Bowl.

Despite two poor interceptions in the early stages of the second half, Kapp led the team down the field and scored two TDs – the first being a run by Osborne and the second being an outside keeper by Kapp – which gave the Vikings a 21-20 lead.

A sack for a safety by Carl Eller and an interception by fellow lineman Alan Page secured a 23-20 comeback victory for the Vikings and an opportunity to compete for the NFL Championship and Super Bowl (remember, those were two completely different games back then since the NFL champion and AFL champion competed for the Super Bowl).

Kapp vs the Browns

         Joe Kapp under center yelling the snap count. Image rights go to getty images.

The Browns stood in the Vikings path, but did not stand a chance against the purple gang. The Vikings were led out of the tunnel by their All-Pro center, Mick Tingelhoff, and they did not look back.

The Browns took a beating as the Vikings earned their NFL Championship by winning the game 27-7.

There were three iconic moments during the game at Metropolitan Stadium (back when the Vikings and Twins shared an outdoor stadium built for baseball).

The first of which occurred in the first half when the Vikings had the ball down inside the 5-yard line. Kapp turned to hand the ball off to Brown and instead they collided with one another. Kapp turned, held onto the ball, and fought his way through Browns defenders to score a touchdown. Talk about toughness.

The second big moment occurred late in the 3rd quarter when Kapp scrambled out to the right and took off upfield. He collided with Browns Pro Bowl linebacker, Jim Houston, and to everyone’s surprise, Kapp was the one that was able to get up from the hit.

The final iconic moment involved the fans overrunning the field and taking down the goal posts in celebration. The Vikings were going to the Super Bowl.

January 11, 1970. New Orleans, Louisiana. Tulane Stadium. The biggest moment in the franchise’s history as the Vikings are set to take on the AFL Champion, Kansas City Chiefs.

Everyone predicted the Vikings to win. In fact, they were 14-point favorites.

The NFL had just lost its first Super Bowl the year before in stunning fashion after winning the first two handily – the first one against the same Chiefs team – and, in the eyes of the NFL, the Vikings were supposed to show the world that the previous Super Bowl was only a fluke. The NFL had always been the superior league and were supposed to prove that theory true again.

Chiefs Super Bowl IV

Chiefs quarterback, Len Dawson, drops back to pass in Super Bowl IV. Image rights go to Roy Iman Photographics.

Everyone was in for another huge surprise on that afternoon – even the Vikings fan involved with the hot air balloon debacle on the field before the game.

The Chiefs head coach, Hank Stram, utilized a confusing offense to defend, known as: “Hank Stram’s Wild West Variety Show.”

The AFL in general was known for being more of a wide-open, high-octane league with lost of points (and even introduced the two-point conversion).

This gave the Vikings some problems in terms of defensive assignments. When watching highlights of the game, you can see moments where even the Vikings star-studded defensive linemen do not know where to lineup against the Chiefs underrated offensive line, which performed phenomenally that day.

That is just it, though. The Chiefs were an underrated football team from top-to-bottom.

They had a visionary head coach for that era in Stram – whom is also well-remembered for being an entertaining person to have mic’d up.

They had a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Len Dawson. They also had other future Hall of Famers on their roster, such as wide receiver, Otis Taylor, linebacker, Willie Lanier, and safety, Johnny Robinson.

Don’t forget that they also had to take on the likes of the previous powerhouse AFL Champions: the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets – which one could argue was a tougher road to the Super Bowl than the Vikings taking on the Rams and the Browns.

Needless to say, the Chiefs and the AFL were for-real and the entire football world were sleeping on them.

Super Bowl IV was a game remembered for plays like the infamous “65 Toss Power Trap” and the quick hitch pass to Taylor that he took to the house for a game-sealing touchdown.

It was also remembered for the lack of a Vikings running game and the beating that Kapp took at the hands of the Chiefs defense.

Late in the game, Kapp threw two INTs – one to Lanier over the middle and the other to Johnny Robinson on a deep ball – effectively ending any hope for the Vikings, but it was the hit he took on the following possession that sums up his afternoon.

In what has since become known straight from the sources as a difference of opinion in terms of play-calling, Kapp called a bootleg to the left. As he did so, he was slammed to the ground and fumbled in the process, turning it over one last time.

The image of Kapp, perhaps the toughest Viking, staying on the ground around the Vikings’ 13-yard line and favoring his left side – officially diagnosed as a dislocated shoulder – is the moment that everyone knew that the Chiefs and the AFL were for real.

Outside of a possession on offense and defense to open the second half, the Chiefs were in complete domination of the game.

Bud Grant

Bud Grant on the Vikings sideline.

The entirety of that game changed everything moving forward.

The following season in 1970 saw the NFL and AFL merge together into one professional football league, the NFL, with two conferences: the NFC and the AFC.

The Vikings’ loss to the Chiefs would ultimately foreshadow the following three Super Bowl losses in the ensuing decade under Grant.

Kapp would fight through a contract dispute and never play for the Vikings again. He wound up being traded to the New England Patriots. After one lackluster season, he was out of the league.

The defensive stars would remain and dominate for many years to come, but even bringing back Tarkenton and drafting Hall of Fame halfback, Chuck Foreman, wouldn’t help the Vikings overcome their Super Bowl woes.

The 1969 Minnesota Vikings are not universally thought of as the best Super Bowl team under Grant, but it is a widely conceived notion that this game not only had the most importance for the team moving forward (much like the Buffalo Bills in the ‘90s), but was also the Vikings’ best chance at winning a Super Bowl.

Despite not ending the season they way they would have hoped, they proved themselves as a legitimate contender and paved the way for many great years ahead for the franchise.

Even 50 years later, this team is still quite memorable in the eyes of Vikings fans and for those interested, there is an excellent book about the team, titled The Last Kings of the Old NFL: The 1969 Minnesota Vikings by Pat Duncan.

Even though the Vikings couldn’t finish they way they would have hoped, their legacy will live on forever.

AP won’t repeat as rushing champ, but not for the reason you think

Adrian Peterson is obviously one of the best running backs the NFL has ever seen. Having him in our backfield has been wonderful ever since 2007. That being said, he is aging – especially for a position that doesn’t see much success over the age of 30. This guy has to be the one exception, right? Well, the answer is a little more complicated than that. He has a good chance to continue rushing for 1,400 yards for at least 3-4 more seasons, but his physical ability won’t be the reason for not repeating as rushing champ: it’s Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings receivers.

Laquon Treadwell

With the 23rd pick in the 1st round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Vikings selected WR Laquon Treadwell from Ole Miss. He was a playmaker and will hopefully provide a bigger target for Bridgewater in the redzone with his 6’2″ frame. When you combine Treadwell with the returning trio of receivers (Thielen, Diggs, and Johnson), us Vikings fans can only hope Bridgewater is progressing and preparing to take the next step. If he is making strides and showing signs of becoming a franchise-caliber quarterback, less stress can be put on Peterson to carry the offense on his back. By less stress, that means he will be given a few less carries and perhaps a few less plays on the field since Jerick McKinnon is a more versatile receiver out of the backfield.

Todd Gurley

Recently on NFL.com, there was an article with writers and analysts split between which running back will rush for the most yards this upcoming season. The two backs that are the favorites are Adrian Peterson and popular young Rams running back Todd Gurley. Gurley ran for 1,106 yards while missing three games due to injury. I think Gurley has a better chance to run for more yards since he has a rookie quarterback. The Rams will surely ease their #1 overall selection (QB Jared Goff) into things – which means the Rams will lean heavily on Gurley for offense.

Adrian Peterson

What do you guys think? Do you think AP will win the rushing title again, or do you think Gurley has a better chance of stealing it away from Peterson? Maybe there is another dark-horse candidate that could win? Thanks for reading!

My Favorite Sports Movies

I really enjoy sports. You really enjoy sports. We really enjoy sports. Whether it be watching it on the TV, or playing out in the backyard, sports are inevitably a big part of many people’s lives. Since I love movies, seeing a good sports movie always fulfills a part of me inside. The following is my list (in no particular order) of favorite sports movies.


NOTE: This list is one of the most challenging tasks I’ve ever done. There are so many good sports movies out there, so this won’t quite cover them all.


Honorable Mentions:

Rudy (1993)


Draft Day (2014)

Draft Day

Miracle (2004)



Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)



Top 10:

The Replacements (2000)




Major League (1989)

Major League


Space Jam (1996)

Space Jam


Rocky II (1979)

Rocky 2


Happy Gilmore (1996)

Happy Gilmore


Remember the Titans (2000)

Remember the Titans



42 (2013)



Field of Dreams (1989)



For Love of the Game (1999)

For Love of the Game.jpg


The Waterboy (1998)



The Great Madden Idea!

Xbox One and PS4

Are you a gamer? Do you enjoy playing the Madden video game franchise? Well, then this is the article for you. I have an idea for them that will hopefully intrigue them into bringing back a certain feature they used to have. Would you like to know what that is?

Madden NFL 06

Football is my favorite sport. I’ve been playing Madden back since I was a kid and just gotten my first PS2 (I feel old, who else does?). Among the ones I most enjoyed playing are Madden NFL ’06 – having Donovan McNabb on the cover was really cool since I was a fan of him, and the new QB vision feature that put emphasis on the awareness attribute, and was also dubbed (gaming-wise) “year of the quarterback.” Being a quarterback myself, I love that thought. I also played Madden NFL ’08, but probably put my most hours into Madden NFL ’10. That game was awesome! From there, I’ve played Madden NFL ’12, ’13, 25 – with all of them not really changing much and making me start losing faith in the future of the quality for the Madden gaming franchise. Having said that, the newest installment in the game really pleasantly surprised not only myself, but many others as well. IGN rated it an 8.7/10, which was at least a whole one point higher than they rated it the year before. It was now much easier to progress players on what they call connected career/franchise mode, where it contains player, coach, and owner modes. I mostly play for that particular part, but I’ve also played online and ultimate team. They’re fun, but don’t intrigue me as much as playing through a career and building a team/progressing a player. Madden NFL ’15 also has a new feature called “chew clock” where you can turn it on at the end of games (or right in the middle of them) to automatically work as accelerated clock and have it skip right to 12 seconds on the clock to snap the ball. It really speeds up the end of a game and saves time. Another great feature it has: the best, realistic graphics and presentation that the game has ever seen. It seems – at least for now – Madden is going in the right direction.

Madden NFL 15

So the Madden franchise is definitely an improvement in the game’s series, but what are they going to do for this coming year? So far they haven’t released any new information lately about it. All they’ve said publicly is their release date, which is August 25, 2015. Speculation is that Madden game developers will be releasing more details come May, but who knows if that is true or not. One thing that is true though is the announcement of Joe Montana Football 16, and much like Madden, not much for details is known about the game. The only time Madden’s franchise has been rivaled was back when ESPN NFL 2K5 came out, and is still considered to this day one of the best football games ever made. It knocked Madden NFL 2005‘s price down from the $50-$60 price range to about $29.99. EA then got the exclusive rights for the NFL, and haven’t been in competition since. Yes, games like NFL Head Coach, NFL Head Coach ’09, and All-Pro Football 2K8 (the only 2K game since EA gained their exclusive rights), but none of them even came close to competing with the iconic Madden games. Montana has said that Madden games are like “roster updates,” and his game would change that idea.

Joe Montana Football 16

Thinking about this new Joe Montana Football 16 game has me really interested in what direction they are going to go and what it is going to be like. He was always one of my biggest inspirations growing up, so I’m really cheering for him to make a great game. I mean, competition only brings out the best in people (and their games), right? I sure hope so in this case! One of the things that came across my mind while pondering about the game was how when I was younger and played the older Madden games, they had all the old classic teams from the past that you could play with, and I always enjoyed that. Of course they didn’t have names, so I would go through and name the players I knew. Also recently, I’m playing a connected franchise as some NFL legends as rookies, and the combination of those thoughts led me to an idea that has been unconscious in my brain for quite a while until now. What if they made a game, or even brought back those classic teams, into their own spin-off game? EA could even include them into their next installment of the Madden franchise if they wanted to. I doubt people are commanding for former legendary teams to be included into Madden NFL ’16 though, sadly.


I used to love watching NFL Films as a kid. I would watch the classic commentary to the NFL Game of the Week (and I’m also a fan of America’s Game) and fall in love with old-school football – whether it be the Colts of the ’60s, Steelers and Cowboys of the ’70s, or the 49ers of the ’80s. With the graphics of the latest Madden and future ones coming, how awesome would it be to play with not only the Hall of Fame player (ex: Warren Moon, John Elway, Walter Payton), but the whole team? For me personally, a dream come true would be able to play with one of those teams in the connected franchise mode and change history. You could make Dan Marino, or even Barry Sanders win a Super Bowl! That is my great Madden idea, and even though the likelihood that it’ll come true is very slim to none, it’s a very entertaining thought. Oh, the joys of “what if?” What are your thoughts? Is this something that you would enjoy to play, or not? Let me know! Thanks for your time, and have a great day gamers!

Why Christian Ponder still has a future in the NFL

It hasn’t slipped by me that this is probably going to be a very controversial topic, and probably a lot of opposition to it, but it is in my firm opinion (one I’ve had for years before he was drafted into the NFL) that Christian Ponder has a future in the NFL. At this point, many are probably wondering why I think this way, and I have (Christian) pondered that as well for a while, until I came to a clear resolution recently. I’ll point out some things that most people have forgotten, which will hopefully make people open to thinking about the idea of him competing to start for whoever he might play for this next season, whether it be the Minnesota Vikings, or anybody else.


First off, remember his promising rookie campaign? He came off the bench in a blowout loss to the Chicago Bears and moved the ball pretty well, and in his first start against the Green Bay Packers at home, he nearly pulled off an upset. He played with an intensity that was missing from their offense (sorry Donovan McNabb) and gave them the spark they needed, while showing why they drafted him high. Yes, there were times when he made bad decisions and bad throws, but overall he had people excited to see what would happen in his sophomore campaign at the pro level.

Before people say he had a boring and almost horrific 2012 season, let’s just look a little more closely at it first. To start off the season, he played pretty well in the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars (20-27, 270 yds), and then dazzled in the home upset vs. the San Francisco 49ers. Yes, he sort of fell off into a slump after that, but it wasn’t like he was throwing a bunch of INTs or anything. I’ll even admit, there were some games that were so boring, I found myself yelling at the TV as well. Ponder seemed to struggle on the road the most, especially at the Seahawks (63 yds, INT), Bears (58 QB Rating), and Packers (2 INT in endzone, 41 QB Rating). What goes beyond those stats are the fact that he often couldn’t find wide open receivers, and then if he did, he would be inaccurate and the ball would never get there. Most of these occurrences would happen beyond 20 yards down the field.  When we got to crunch time and had to win out to make the playoffs, Ponder showed development and won us our final four games. He scrambled to get us more first downs and settled his feet in the pocket to make good, solid throws. In the final game at home against the Green Bay Packers, he played his best game as a pro. He threw 3 TD passes and led us down the field on the final drive while being injured to set up the game-winning FG by Blair Walsh. His presence was missed in the playoffs, as the Vikings struggled on offense with Joe Webb and were blown out by none other than the Green Bay Packers. Overall, he had 18 TDs and 12 INTs, and played well at the beginning and the end of the season, and still made people optimistic as to what the future might bring for this young quarterback.

Christian Ponder 2

Forget the fact that he was benched twice during his third season, I still think he played some of his best football this past season. Yeah he struggled early on in the season to get anything going, like the 3 INT game against Detroit to start out the season. When he got his second chance at becoming the starting quarterback again, he showed the upside Vikings fans had been waiting to see. He really played well at Dallas, and he even had two games of over a 100 QB rating, being against the Washington Redskins and Green Bay Packers. An injury in the following game against the Bears ended his season short, but really played like a franchise quarterback the second half of the season. Yeah his record also wasn’t that great, but with a defense as bad as Minnesota’s last season, Peyton Manning would even have a tough time mustering up a better record.

From this point on, there is little I can say about stats. People can say what they want to say about Christian Ponder, but he has good mobility, can throw on the run, and when given time to throw, he has shown tremendous accuracy, even when throwing deep. Look him up on YouTube and watch the throws he makes. It is in my opinion that the Vikings will keep Ponder to compete for next season with Matt Cassel and a rookie quarterback probably not drafted in the first round. He has all the tools to succeed, it’s just a matter of time before it happens, whether it be in a Vikings uniform or a different one. I’m not saying he’ll make it to Canton one day, but he can play and probably will for a quite a while. Thanks for your time!