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1961 Minnesota Vikings season

1961 Minnesota Vikings season
Head coach Norm Van Brocklin
Home field Metropolitan Stadium
Record 3-11-0
Division place 7th NFL Western
Playoff finish did not qualify
Previous season      Next season
N/A      1962 >

The 1961 Minnesota Vikings season was the first year of season play for the expansion franchise and the 42nd regular season of the National Football League. The Vikings finished with a record of three wins and eleven losses under head coach Norm Van Brocklin. The team's first ever regular season game was a victory against the Chicago Bears, 37-13. In that game, rookie quarterback Fran Tarkenton came off the bench to toss 4 touchdown passes and ran for another.

The Vikings' defense surrendered 5.41 rushing yards-per-attempt in 1961, the fifth-most of all time.[1]


Although the NFL had no interest in expanding, after Max Winter and Bill Boyer agreed to start an American Football League franchise in Minnesota, the NFL approached them to change leagues. After they accepted to join the NFL for the 1961 season, the Minnesota group joined Ole Haugsrud in the new team's ownership group, with Haugsrud dubbing the team the Minnesota Vikings.[2]

1961 Draft

Main article: 1961 NFL Draft
Draft order Player name Position College
Round Choice Overall
1 1 1 Tommy Mason Running Back Tulane
2 1 15 Rip Hawkins Linebacker North Carolina
3 1 29 Fran Tarkenton Quarterback Georgia
4 1 43 Chuck Lamson Safety Wyoming
5 1 57 Ed Sharockman Cornerback Pittsburgh
6 1 71 Jerry Burch End Georgia Tech
7 1 85 Allan Ferrie End Wagner
8 1 99 Paul Lindquist Defensive Tackle New Hampshire
9 1 113 Dan Sheehan Offensive Tackle Tennessee-Chattanooga
10 1 127 Doug Mayberry Fullback Utah State
11 1 141 Jerry Mays Defensive Tackle Southern Methodist
12 1 155 Steve Stonebreaker Linebacker Detroit
13 1 169 Ray Hayes Fullback Central State
14 1 183 Ken Petersen Offensive lineman Utah
15 1 197 Mike Mercer Kicker Arizona State
16 1 211 Ted Karpowicz Running Back Detroit
17 1 225 Willie Jones Fullback Purdue
18 1 239 Bob Voigt Offensive Tackle Cal State-Los Angeles
19 1 253 Bill Hill Fullback Presbyterian
20 1 267 Mike McFarland Quarterback Western Illinois

1961 Expansion Draft

Player name Position College Acquired from
Grady Alderman Guard Detroit Mercy Detroit Lions
Tom Barnett Running Back Purdue Pittsburgh Steelers
Byron Beams Offensive Tackle
Defensive Tackle
Notre Dame Pittsburgh Steelers
Ken Beck Defensive Tackle Texas A&M Green Bay Packers
Bill Bishop Defensive Tackle North Texas State Chicago Bears
Don Boll Offensive Tackle Nebraska New York Giants
Ed Culpepper Defensive Tackle Alabama St. Louis Cardinals
Don Ellersick Defensive Back Washington State Los Angeles Rams
Dick Haley Defensive Back Pittsburgh Washington Redskins
Gerry Huth Guard Wake Forest Philadelphia Eagles
Charlie Janerette Guard Penn State Los Angeles Rams
Gene Johnson Defensive Back Cincinnati Philadelphia Eagles
Don Joyce Defensive End Tulane Baltimore Colts
Bill Kimber End Florida State New York Giants
Bill Lapham Center Iowa Philadelphia Eagles
Hugh McElhenny Running Back Washington San Francisco 49ers
Dave Middleton End Auburn Detroit Lions
Jack Morris Defensive Back Oregon Pittsburgh Steelers
Rich Mostardi Defensive Back Kent State Cleveland Browns
Fred Murphy End Georgia Tech Cleveland Browns
Clancy Osborne Linebacker Arizona State San Francisco 49ers
Dick Pesonen Defensive Back Minnesota-Duluth Green Bay Packers
Mike Rabold Guard Indiana St. Louis Cardinals
Perry Richards End Detroit Mercy St. Louis Cardinals
Bill Roehnelt Linebacker Bradley Washington Redskins
Karl Rubke Linebacker USC San Francisco 49ers
Gene Selawski Offensive Tackle Purdue Cleveland Browns
Glenn Shaw Fullback Kentucky Chicago Bears
Lebron Shields Defensive Tackle Tennessee Baltimore Colts
Zeke Smith Linebacker Auburn Baltimore Colts
Jerry Stalcup Linebacker Wisconsin Los Angeles Rams
Louis Stephens Guard San Francisco Washington Redskins
Charlie Sumner Defensive Back William & Mary Chicago Bears
Dave Whitsell Defensive Back Indiana Detroit Lions
Paul Winslow Running Back North Carolina Central Green Bay Packers
Frank Youso Offensive Tackle Minnesota New York Giants

Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Venue Attendance Record
1 9-17-1961 Chicago Bears W 37-13 Metropolitan Stadium 32,236 1-0
2 9-24-1961 at Dallas Cowboys L 21-7 Cotton Bowl 20,500 1-1
3 10-1-1961 at Baltimore Colts L 34-33 Memorial Stadium 54,259 1-2
4 10-8-1961 Dallas Cowboys L 28-0 Metropolitan Stadium 33,070 1-3
5 10-15-1961 San Francisco 49ers L 38-24 Metropolitan Stadium 34,415 1-4
6 10-22-1961 Green Bay Packers L 33-7 Metropolitan Stadium 42,007 1-5
7 10-29-1961 at Green Bay Packers L 28-10 Milwaukee County Stadium 44,112 1-6
8 11-05-1961 at Los Angeles Rams L 31-17 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 38,594 1-7
9 11-12-1961 Baltimore Colts W 28-20 Metropolitan Stadium 38,010 2-7
10 11-19-1961 Detroit Lions L 37-10 Metropolitan Stadium 32,296 2-8
11 11-26-1961 at San Francisco 49ers L 38-28 Kezar Stadium 43,905 2-9
12 12-3-1961 Los Angeles Rams W 42-21 Metropolitan Stadium 30,068 3-9
13 12-10-1961 at Detroit Lions L 13-7 Tiger Stadium 42,655 3-10
14 12-17-1961 at Chicago Bears L 52-35 Wrigley Field 34,539 3-11

Game summaries

Week 1: vs. Chicago Bears

This was the first regular season game in Vikings history, and surprisengly, they would win their first ever game, 37-13 over the Chicago Bears. They would be the last expansion team to win their first game until the 2002 Houston Texans.

1 234Total
Bears 0 607 13
Vikings 3 71413 37
  • Source:


W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT= Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against

NFL Western
Green Bay Packers 11 3 0 .786 391 223 W-1
Detroit Lions 8 5 1 .615 270 258 L-1
Chicago Bears 8 6 0 .571 326 302 W-2
Baltimore Colts 8 6 0 .571 302 307 W-1
San Francisco 49ers 7 6 1 .538 346 272 L-1
Los Angeles Rams 4 10 0 .286 263 333 L-1
Minnesota Vikings 3 11 0 .214 285 407 L-2

See also


Template:Navbox season by team

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