AP Pro Football Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Over 32 seasons at the Metrodome, the Minnesota Vikings hosted myriad memorable moments. Here are six that stand out, in chronological order:
DORSETT ESCAPES, JAN. 3, 1983:
The Vikings wrapped up their first regular season, which was shortened by a strike, at the Metrodome with a win over Dallas. They made the playoffs and advanced to the second round, too. But that Monday night game against the Cowboys has been long remembered for what they gave up, not so much what they gained.
In the fourth quarter with the Vikings leading 24-13, Tony Dorsett took a handoff in his own end zone, dodged defenders at the line, sped into the secondary and raced along the field for a 99-yard touchdown. The Cowboys later took the lead before the Vikings prevailed 31-27.
WALKER ARRIVES, OCT. 15, 1989:
The next great star running back for the Cowboys was Herschel Walker, and the Vikings wanted him badly enough they acquired him and four draft picks for five players and eight draft picks, three of which were first-round selections the Cowboys used as fuel for three Super Bowl titles in the coming seasons.
Walker was gone less than two years later, and the Vikings never came close to a championship with him despite a slew of Pro Bowl players on both sides of the ball. But Walker’s first carry was quite the highlight, a 47-yard run he capped by sprinting the final 15 yards without a shoe that came off when a Green Bay player tried to tackle him.
The Vikings beat the rival Packers that day 26-14 and went on to win the NFC Central division by beating the Cincinnati Bengals on Christmas night in the last game of the season. Both the Vikings and Packers finished 10-6, but the Vikings won the tiebreaker.
THE MISS, JAN. 17, 1999:
The Vikings were nearly unstoppable in 1998 when rookie wide receiver Randy Moss was incorporated into an already-potent offense. They finished the regular season 15-1 and cruised into the NFC championship game, where they hosted the Atlanta Falcons.
The Vikings led by 10 points early in the fourth quarter, but they started to struggle to move the ball after halftime. Still, Gary Anderson had a 38-yard field goal attempt in the waning minutes that would’ve pushed the advantage back to double digits. He missed, for the first time all season. The Falcons took the ball for the tying touchdown and won the game 30-27 in overtime on Morten Andersen’s kick.
RECORD RUNNING, NOV. 4, 2007:
Adrian Peterson passed the 200-yard mark just five games into his rookie year, and four games after that he was well on his way to becoming one of the NFL’s best. Peterson had a quiet first half against San Diego, and the Chargers took a 14-7 lead into halftime when Antonio Cromartie stood in front of the goalpost, fielded a field goal attempt by Ryan Longwell that fell short and returned it 109 yards for a touchdown.
Peterson went to work after that, finishing with 296 yards rushing, the most in one game by any player in league history. The Vikings won 35-17.
THE REMATCH, OCT. 5, 2009:
The Vikings played all kinds of unforgettable games against the rival Packers at the Metrodome, like in 1993 when rarely-used wide receiver Eric Guliford sneaked open along the sideline and caught a 45-yard desperation heave from Jim McMahon to set up the go-ahead field goal in the closing seconds for a 15-13 victory. That was Guliford’s only catch that season. The lone touchdown scored in the game was on a short run for the Packers by a young quarterback named Brett Favre.
Sixteen years later, there Favre was wearing purple in his first season with the once-hated Vikings, his time with the two rivals bridged by a year with the New York Jets. Favre led the Vikings to a 30-23 victory that day with three touchdowns and 271 yards against his former teammates. At age 40, he had his best statistical season, leading the Vikings to the NFC championship game until a crushing overtime loss in New Orleans to the Saints.
PETERSON VS. PACKERS, DEC. 30, 2012:
Peterson’s next pursuit of a hallowed mark came last year when he recovered from reconstructive surgery on his left knee to finish with 2,097 yards rushing, eight short of Eric Dickerson’s single-season record but plenty to win him the NFL MVP award.
The Vikings beat the Packers 37-34 in the final game to get into the playoffs, and Peterson finished with 199 yards.