1998 Vikings Named to ‘Most Dominant NFL Teams’ List (The Athletic); Only Non-Super Bowl Team

(Top, from right) Randall Cunningham, with Randy Moss and Cris Carter, led what was, in 1998, the most prolific offense in NFL history. The only miss by kicker Gary Anderson that season came at a most inopportune time - Star Tribune File Photo

Every Vikings fan knows how devastating the end of the 1998 season was. Gary Anderson missed the game-winning field goal that would have sent the Purple to the Super Bowl. This was (very) arguably the start of a never ending curse to Minnesota sports.

How good were they?

According to The Athletic, the 1998 Vikings were the best NFL team without a Super Bowl appearance in the last 50 years. The 1976 Vikings just barely missed the cut landing a spot in the “On the Fringe” category. The scary 1998 Vikings came in at 16th on the list of 25.

Take it for what you will, it obviously does not compare to making it to the Super Bowl and winning it all. At least we can hang our hat on the fact that we are the best non-Super Bowl participant in recent history.

16. 1998 Minnesota Vikings (90.53)

How they fared: Lost 30-27 in overtime to Falcons in NFC Championship Game

Record: 15-1 (.938)

While reaching and winning Super Bowls helped teams in this ranking, the 1998 Vikings proved it was possible for a team to factor despite falling short of that standard. Minnesota set a league record with 556 points (since broken) and became the only team to score at least 24 points in every regular-season game during the 16-game era (since matched by the 2018 Chiefs). Counting playoffs, the 1998 Vikings and the 2018 Chiefs are the only teams to score at least 24 points in 18 games during the same season. They led the NFC Championship Game 20-7 at halftime and led by a touchdown with less than two minutes remaining.

The Athletic – The 25 most dominant NFL teams of the last 50 years

The 1998 Vikings were led by a lethal offense featuring Randall Cunningham, Randy Moss, Cris Carter, Jake Reed, and Robert Smith. The Vikings outscored their opponents 556 – 296 and finished the regular season at 15-1, with their only loss coming against old NFC Central rival, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This team had no shortage of awards come their way, as to be expected with 10 players making the Pro Bowl and 7 making 1st Team All-Pro. The two biggest honors the 1998 Vikings received were Randall Cunningham winning the Bert Bell Award (Player of the Year), and Randy Moss earning the AP Offensive Rookie of the year. 


The 1998 Minnesota Vikings truly were the greatest football team the Twin Cities has seen since the likes of the Purple People Eaters, and maybe even beyond that. It is a shame we couldn’t have a Super Bowl parade down South 5th Street in front of the Metrodome.

We can only hope that we have the privilege of seeing another Vikings team that is half as exciting as this team was, but this time getting the job done. 

Cam Thompson | Minnesota Sports Fan

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