10 Best Minnesota Vikings QBs of All-Time

Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings have a storied history when it comes to the quarterback position. While they’ve never had a quarterback lead them to a Super Bowl win, several talented passers have donned the purple and gold. But who are the best Vikings QBs of all time? That’s a fun debate.

You could take many different approaches. From looking at the best season by a Vikings quarterback of all-time, or maybe considering who the best gunslinger to put on a Vikings uniform is. But I decided to pick the best QB in a Vikings uniform, narrowing an extensive list of candidates down to just ten names. So, who is the best Vikings QB in history? You’ll find them ranked below in reverse order.

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10. Brad Johnson

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings
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Some notable names who just missed the cut include Teddy Bridgewater, Rich Gannon, and Jeff George. It’s not a thrilling list, but QB play continues to improve in the NFL, and with it, comes better quarterbacks. Brad Johnson is one of just seven Vikings QBs to top 10,000 career passing yards with the team. Some of his highlights include making 23 starts from 1996-98, where the Vikings reached the playoffs all three years.

9. Joe Kapp

NFL: Super Bowl IV
  • Joe Kapp’s stats with Vikings: 50.2% comp. rate, 4,807 passing yards, 40 TD, 64 INT
  • Joe Kapp’s win/loss record with Vikings: 23-12-3 – 2-2 in playoffs

Several players had a great season in purple, such as Sam Bradford, Case Keenum, Bridgewater, and many more. But Joe Kapp is one of just two Vikings QBs to lead the team to a Super Bowl appearance. That alone deserves a place on any list of best Vikings QBs ever.

8. Wade Wilson

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He may not be among the first names that come to mind when recalling the greatest Vikings QBs in team history, but Wade Wilson ranks fifth in career passing yards with the franchise. He played with the team for ten seasons, helping reach the playoffs three consecutive times from 1987-89. Wilson’s tenure also included a Pro Bowl appearance in 1988.

7. Warren Moon

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There’s no question Warren Moon is one of the greatest quarterbacks in football history, impressing in the NFL and the CFL, but the Hall of Fame QB’s time in Minnesota was short-lived. Still, despite playing just three seasons in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Moon made two Pro Bowls, helping Cris Carter and Jake Reed top 1,000 yards in Dennis Green’s high-powered offense.

6. Tommy Kramer

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Even though he hasn’t played a down since the 1989 season, Tommy Kramer’s 24,775 passing yards still rank second-best in Vikings team history. That’s because No. 9 spent 13 seasons in the North Star State, even becoming a second-team All-Pro in 1986. Considering the big cleats Kramer had to fill, replacing Fran Tarkenton after the 1978 season, it’s impressive to see the career he carved out in Minnesota.

5. Brett Favre

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
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Many Vikings fans will never forget the sensational season longtime rival Brett Favre had when joining the Vikings in 2009. Some will still bend your ear about how that team, led by Adrian Peterson and a “kick-ass offense,” should have had a chance at a Super Bowl ring, but alas, Favre’s gunslinging mentality came back to bite in the end with a game-sealing interception in the NFC Championship. Of course, we’d later learn the Saints had bounties out, trying to hurt the then 40-year-old, but that’s all water under the bridge at this point. The fact remains Favre’s 2009 season, which had him in the MVP conversation, was simply magical. But 2010 wasn’t so great.

4. Randall Cunningham

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A player who never gets enough recognition for what he did in his NFL career, Randall Cunningham has the best single-season performance in Vikings history among QBs. That, of course, came in 1998, forming a dynamic duo with Randy Moss to help lead a 13-1 team to the NFC Championship. Cunningham wasn’t supposed to be the team’s starter that year, yet he ended up as the finalist to win MVP while becoming just the second Vikings QB to earn first-team All-Pro honors, which still rings true today.

  • Cunningham’s stats in 1998: 3,704 passing yards, 34 TD, 10 INT

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3. Kirk Cousins

NFL: New England Patriots at Minnesota Vikings
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One of the most controversial players in team history, you can’t make a list of the best Vikings QBs of all time without including Kirk Cousins near the very top. Love him or hate him, Cousins was incredibly efficient during his time in Minnesota and embraced the franchise at every turn. He finished just 1,510 yards behind Cousins passing Kramer for second place on the Vikings’ career leaders list in passing yards. But what everyone wanted to see was more playoff success from the 3x Vikings Pro Bowl QB.

2. Daunte Culpepper

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Watching Daunte Culpepper wind up and launch bombs downfield to Randy Moss was a true treat. But the best was getting to see Culpepper get his roll on afterward, celebrating another touchdown strike.

Culpepper’s run with the Vikings was explosive, exciting, and must-see TV. One might even argue his 2004 season was worthy of winning MVP, but he did finish second in the Offensive Player of the Year voting. Unfortunately, a 2005 knee injury causing damage to three ligaments derailed his career. This not only robbed the NFL of a talented arm but also forced the Vikings to search for another new QB.

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1. Fran Tarkenton is the best Minnesota Vikings QB of all time

SUPER BOWL IX - Best Minnesota Vikings QBs of all-time
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Was there any question? Scramblin’ Fran Tarkenton is the best Vikings QB in team history. There’s no debate. Decades ahead of his time, Tarkenton kept defenses on their toes by buying himself time either in the pocket or scrambling outside of the hash marks to do whatever it took to move the chains.

Tarkenton is the Vikings’ career leader in nearly every passing category, including yards, touchdowns, and wins. He’s also the only QB to lead the Vikings to multiple Super Bowl appearances, reaching the final stage three times from 1973-76. Any QB with an eye on passing Tarkenton in Vikings history will have to lead the ship to a Super Bowl appearance, at the very least.

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