How the Vikings Have Fared Historically on Halloween

This Sunday night, the Minnesota Vikings will take on the Dallas Cowboys in a huge Halloween Night showdown. At 3-3, the Vikings begin a pivotal four-game stretch that will likely reveal whether or not they are contenders.

Of course, this isn’t the first time the team has played on Halloween in their 61-year history. In fact, it will be their ninth such game. After winning their first two games on All Hallows Eve, their last five have been murkier, including two that live in team infamy. Today, we take a look back on these seven games.

1965, Vikings Beat the Browns 27-17

The Vikings were still trying to find their footing in the NFL back in 1965. At 3-3, they faced off with the 5-1 Browns, a team that was coming off of their eighth and final NFL Championship victory. Minnesota handled Cleveland, outgaining them 408-167 in yardage. Although it was an impressive victory, the Vikings would finish 7-7 on the season and Cleveland would lose to the Packers in the NFL Championship Game, 23-12.

1971, Vikings Beat the Giants 17-10

Minnesota squared off against their original quarterback Fran Tarkenton. Despite winning, the Vikings’ passing offense was its typical sub-par self. Gary Cuozzo was 12/27 passing for 93 yards and an interception. Norm Snead, acquired as part of the original Tarkenton trade, came in and was 4/6 for 87 yards and a score. Tarkenton was 20/30 for only 144 yards, and after the season was traded back to Minnesota.

1976, Vikings Lose to the Bears 14-13

A trip to Soldier Field for the eventual NFC Champion Vikings was still a house of horrors even in 1976. The Vikings somehow lost their first game of the season despite holding a 354-173 yardage advantage. Chicago only netted 38 passing yards on 13 passing attempts. Tarkenton threw two picks on the day even though he was 24/46 in the air.

1993, Vikings Lose to the Lions, 30-27

A Sunday Night showdown at the Metrodome saw the Vikings build a 27-13 lead heading into the fourth quarter. In typical Vikings fashion, they gave up 17 unanswered points to the Lions that was kickstarted on a 93-yard touchdown pass from Rodney Peete to Herman Moore. The Vikings, 4-2 heading into the game, fell to 4-3. They would lose four of their next six games, setting them up for a Wild Card exit.

1999, Vikings Beat the Broncos 23-20

In what should have been a Super Bowl rematch, the 3-4 Vikings headed to Mile High to face the struggling Broncos. Cris Carter caught eight passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns in the game, and a Gary Anderson field goal with one second remaining gave the Vikings a 23-20 victory. It was the team’s second victory in a row and part of a five-game win streak overall led by Jeff George.

2004, Vikings Lose to the Giants, 34-13

For the second straight year, the high-flying Vikings lost on Halloween weekend, in the Metrodome, to the Giants. 5-1 heading into the game, Minnesota fell behind 34-0 heading into the fourth quarter. It began a three-game skid for the Vikings, much like the 2003 team that began 6-0, lost to the Giants, and lost four games in a row. Ultimately, the Vikings would make the playoffs this time, but only as a Wild Card. The Giants only won one game the rest of the season.

2010, Vikings Lose to the Patriots, 28-18

A season that had so much promise essentially came down to this game. At 2-4, Brett Favre and the Vikings went to Foxborough to face the Patriots. After driving down the field and scoring off of an Adrian Peterson touchdown, the Vikings’ offense sputtered. Favre tried finding Randy Moss on a deep pass but the Hall of Fame receiver possibly may have given up on the play. Favre got knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter, the Vikings lost 28-18, and Moss gave an impromptu press conference after the game praising the Patriots organization. Moss would be released that week.

2016, Vikings Lose to the Bears, 20-10

Another promising start to the season took a turn on Halloween Night when the Vikings faced off against the Bears on Monday Night Football. At 5-1, Minnesota had Super Bowl aspirations. The 1-6 Bears’ season was already over. But because the game was played at Soldier Field, Chicago jumped all over Minnesota, taking a 20-3 lead into the fourth quarter. During the game, a laminated play sheet got caught in the wind and cut head coach Mike Zimmer’s eye. He would undergo several surgeries on the eye throughout the season, even missing one game. The loss was part of a four-game losing skid, and the Vikings, who started the season off 5-0, missed the playoffs altogether.