Hey, Detroit Lions fans. You want to go back in time again? Well pile into the hot tub time machine and lets learn some stuff. This week we’re talking about the Lions’ rivalry with the Minnesota Vikings. It’s been a fun one and by that I mean it really hasn’t. But you know what’s really fun? Reliving that history. Lets jump right in.
Where it all started
Last week we went all the back to The Great Depression era for the Lions first shindig with the Chicago Bears. This week we don’t have to go back that far at all. We’re going to the swinging 60s, baby! That might not be the last Austin Powers reference in here by the way.
The Lions’ first game against the Vikings was November 19, 1961. In only the 10th game in Vikings history, the Lions went to Minnesota and got the job done with a 37-10 win. Earl Morrall—who is not a Hall of Famer, but should be considering he’s won three Super Bowls, an NFL championship and a league MVP award—outdueled Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton by throwing three touchdowns. Morrall even led the Lions in rushing that day with 62 yards on the ground. Good stuff, Earl.
What the world was like the first time
Sometimes I think I write these articles just so I can write this section. In November of 1961 the world was a very different place. Enos the chimpanzee became the first American in orbit. Yes, the first American in orbit was chimp. That’s real. Sean Connery had just been selected to be the actor to portray James Bond. There have been 24 Bond movies since then. There have also been six different actors to portray 007, as well.
Here are some fun facts. On the day of the first Lions-Vikings game, Meg Ryan was born and the number one movie in America was West Side Story.
You want another fun fact? When the Lions play the Vikings on December 5 this year, it will be five days before Steven Spielberg's adaptation of West Side Story comes out. Doesn’t that make you fell pretty? Oh so pretty?
Okay, here’s the random stuff I know you can’t get enough of. The Lions are 39-78-2 all time against the Vikings. You think that’s bad? Let me hit you with this. The Lions are 16-42-1 against the Vikings in Minnesota and haven’t won there since their 14-7 win in 2017. That’s not good.
How about another random fact? The Lions have played the Vikings in four different stadiums, including one that was part of Mall of America. The Lions won seven times at the mall. All the other times they went to Abercrombie and passed out from the cologne smell and missed the game.
It’s hard to pinpoint just one, so I’ll do two. The first one is Randy Moss’ big game. The entire Lions team got Moss’d when the Hall of Famer grabbed seven catches for 168 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-24 Vikings win in 2001.
The other is Adrian Peterson running all over his future team for 171 yards and a touchdown in a 34-24 Vikings win in 2011. This game didn’t overall hurt the Lions’ chance to make the playoffs, but it did make it a little harder. The Lions had to beat the Raiders and Chargers in the next two games to get in.
You all know where this is going right? The Lions’ first trip to U.S. Bank Stadium. The 22-16 overtime win that featured this beautiful moment.
#Lions QB Matthew Stafford has one career TD pass in OT. It won't be one you forget. #OnePride pic.twitter.com/d4Uqx6BfSY— Logan Lamorandier (@LLamorandier) November 12, 2016
We have to dive into that game now. It was part of possibly the most fun Lions season in recent memory. The Lions just had a ton of fun games that season. This might have topped them all, though. The Lions went into this game at 4-4 looking to get ahead. Late in the game it looked like that wasn't going to happen.
The Lions were down 16-13 and took the ball from the 25 down to midfield when Stafford threw a risky 27-yard pass down the middle. The Lions then had to rush Matt Prater and the special teams unit out to the field in a hurry-up mode and Prater nailed a 58-yard field goal as time expired to send the game to overtime.
In the extra session, Matthew Stafford dinked and dunked a bit and then hit Golden Tate on a 28-yard pass. Tate did the amazing things that he did and then hit an X-Pac style spin kick on Andrew Sendejo in the end zone and the Lions won. Man, don’t you miss those days?