It doesn’t take long after meeting me to learn that I am an avid Minnesota Vikings fan. I credit my older brother and mother for this unwavering faith in a team that has yet to win a Super Bowl. Since High School I’ve been attending one or two games a season and every game I go to I become further convinced that people who don’t like sports don’t know what they are missing out on! The excitement and adrenaline felt when the Vikings score a touchdown and “Skol Vikings” is played on the speakers in the Metrodome is unlike anything I can experience elsewhere.
Taking pride in your home team creates a sense of comradery and develops a bond within a community that is undeniable. It’s my opinion that Vikings pride is something that can be leveraged to promote interaction within the community that goes above and beyond Minnesota sports. What I mean is, many Vikings fans I know have an extensive knowledge of the team’s history. They can rattle off dates of season altering games, names of players, coaching staff and notable statistics without a pause for thought. What they may not realize is, Minnesota Vikings history is inextricably linked with Minnesota history. There is an opportunity for us in the Historic Preservation arena to tap into Vikings pride and make it a greater, broader pride in the State of Minnesota. I think that pride in your state translates into a personal obligation to take care of your surroundings (read that as environmental and historic protection). All that being said, let me step off my soap box to get to the real topic at hand: the Minnesota Vikings! Since I attended a game last Sunday and my favorite team is set to play on the national stage tomorrow I thought it appropriate to write a little bit about the team story.
Game day Sunday at the Dome! I’m pretty proud of that cup.
The team franchise played their first game in September of 1961 as the underdog in a game against the Chicago Bears. To everyone’s surprise rookie Quarterback Fran Tarkenton had a break out performance throwing for 4 touchdowns and rushing for a 5th. The Vikes would win that game by scoring 37 to Chicago’s 13. Tarkenton would go on to be Minnesota’s first player to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Vikings players enter every home game led by Ragnar on a purple and gold motorcycle
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Purple People Eaters” which was coined to describe the Vikings defense in the late 1960’s into the early ‘70’s. The Purple People Eaters played under head coach Bud Grant who was brought onto the team in 1967 and in his first 13 seasons with the Vikings helped to lead them to 11 division titles and 4 Super Bowls. Grant would eventually retire from the team in 1984, just to be rehired later that same year. He retired for the second time in 1986 leaving behind a legendary tenure that would make him the 8th winningest coach of all time.
Over the past 51 years the Minnesota Vikings have developed a strong (albeit slightly emotionally stunted) following. One fan in particular stands out, Joseph Juranitch, you probably know him as Ragnar. He’s an eccentric, devoted Vikings fan who became the first “human” mascot of a professional sports team in 1994. You’ll see him at every home game exiting the Vikings ship on his purple and gold motorcycle.
Currently, the Vikings play in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on Mall of America Field in downtown Minneapolis. Before this became their home in 1982 they played at the Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington. The former site is where the Mall of America stands today. Earlier this year Minnesota passed legislation to support the development of a new stadium that is anticipated to open for the 2016 football season. Look forward to future posts where I’ll go into detail about all three of these sites!
Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to show your horns! 🙂