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Flashback Friday: Vikings win franchise's 1st game at Metropolitan Stadium

Updated: September 20, 2019 03:31 PM

The Minnesota Vikings won the franchise's first regular season game 58 years ago this week.

On Sept. 17, 1961, the Vikings opened up their inaugural season at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington against the Chicago Bears. According to the team's website, the 37-13 victory for the home team was a big upset at the time.

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According to Pro Football Reference, 32,236 attended the matchup.

Kicker Mike Mercer scored the first points in the team's history with a 12-yard field goal. The first touchdown was scored by tight end Bob Schnelker from a 14-yard pass from rookie quarterback Fran Tarkenton. And speaking of Tarkenton, the quarterback came off the bench in the win, completing 17-of-23 passes for 250 yards and 4 touchdowns. 


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The Vikings took a three-point lead in the first quarter and led 10-6 at halftime, according to Pro Football Reference. The fireworks were in full force in the second half, when Minnesota notched 27 points to convincingly end up as the victors. Chicago turned the ball over five times in the game.

It was the first Minnesota football game to be hosted at the Met, but not the first football game. Metropolitan Stadium was once the home of the Minneapolis Millers' minor league baseball team, and in 1956, the stadium hosted its first football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles, a preseason matchup.

The rest of the season didn't pan out the way fans may have hoped, with the team accumulating a 3-11 record. However, according to the Minnesota Historical Society, the Vikings became a staple in winning tradition by the end of the decade. They won their first division title in 1968 and their first playoff victory the following year. They made it to their first Super Bowl in 1970, losing to the Kansas City Chiefs 23-7.

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Tommy Wiita

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