The Minnesota Vikings are about to begin a new chapter in their playoff history. This weekend, the team will host the first-ever NFL playoff game at U.S. Bank Stadium—the downtown Minneapolis venue that opened for the team in 2016.
U.S. Bank Stadium is building up to a larger place in the spotlight, as it is preparing to host Super Bowl LII in February. That will be just the second Super Bowl to be played in Minneapolis, following Super Bowl XXVI at the Metrodome in 1992. However, when it comes to the Vikings’ playoff history, U.S. Bank Stadium is just the latest in a long line of venues to host postseason games for the franchise.
Since beginning play in 1961, the Vikings have played in four venues. All four stadiums hosted at least one Vikings’ playoff game, and in the process, became the sites of memorable NFL postseason moments.
Home to the Vikings from 1961-1981, Metropolitan Stadium was the site of 10 playoff games for the franchise. The Vikings went 7-3 over in those contests, with one of the first victories being an NFL Championship Game win over the Cleveland Browns on January 4, 1970 in what was just the second postseason game to be played at the facility.
The next time the Vikings clinched a Super Bowl berth at Metropolitan Stadium was on December 29, 1974, when they defeated the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game. There were just three postseason games played at Metropolitan Stadium following that contest, a stretch that concluded with a successful NFC Championship Game for the Vikings on December 26, 1976, when they defeated the Rams.
It took until 1983 for the Vikings to host another postseason game. By then, the team had moved to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome—or as it was more simply known, the Metrodome. Like its predecessor, the Metrodome hosted 10 postseason games for the Vikings.
The first, played on January 9, 1983 resulted in a Wild Card Round win over the Atlanta Falcons. From there, the Vikings hosted at least one playoff game for each decade that they played in Metrodome. Perhaps the most infamous of those games occurred on January 17, 1999, when the Vikings lost a heartbreaking overtime contest to the Falcons in the NFC Championship Game.
The final playoff game at the Metrodome was on January 17, 2010, when the Vikings defeated the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional Round. Following the 2013 season, the Vikings departed the Metrodome so that it could be demolished to clear the way for the team’s new stadium. Needing a temporary venue until the new facility opened, the Vikings spent the next two seasons at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium.
Despite their short stay, TCF Bank Stadium did establish a place in Vikings’ history by hosting a playoff game. That allowed the facility to join a rare group of non-permanent NFL venues to be the site of a playoff game, and perhaps the most prominent example of that development since the Chicago Bears moved a 1932 postseason game from Wrigley Field to Chicago Stadium due to weather-related issues.
For the Vikings, their only playoff game at TCF Bank Stadium—a January 10, 2016 Wild Card game—went down in infamy. They led 9-0 going into the fourth quarter, only to see the Seattle Seahawks come back and score 10 points. With 26 seconds left in the game, Vikings kicker Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal attempt, resulting in a heartbreaking 10-9 loss for the Vikings.
The Vikings will hope that Sunday’s Divisional Round matchup against the New Orleans Saints ends in a better fashion by putting them a step closer to playing in the Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium. Getting to the Super Bowl is a tall task for the Vikings, but the team is already adding U.S. Bank Stadium to its unique history of home venues that hosted postseason games.
U.S. Bank Stadium photo courtesy Minnesota Vikings. Photo of Met Stadium courtesy Minnesota Historical Society. TCF Bank Stadium photo by Jim Robins.
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