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Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Flash Points: Vikings' defining moment

By Kevin Seifert

What key event significantly changed the fortunes of the Vikings -- for better or worse? Give us your take and we'll give you our definitive moment on May 17.

The Minnesota Vikings, founded in 1961, are the relative expansion team of the NFC North. Their early history was marked by a golden age of four Super Bowl appearances, more than the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions over that span. More recently, they've offered an entertaining and drama-filled timeline of off-field shenanigans.

Behind coach Bud Grant, hired in 1967, the Vikings appeared in four Super Bowls in a seven-year span. General manager Jim Finks, who would later play a part in the Bears' renaissance, plucked Grant out of the Canadian Football League.

Finks and Grant assembled a defensive line that changed the game and served as the franchise's anchor. Two of its members, Alan Page and Carl Eller, are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A third, Jim Marshall, played in a then-record 270 consecutive games.

The decision to draft receiver Randy Moss in 1998 was transformative, elevating the Vikings from a team that couldn't sell out the Metrodome to one that has sold out every game since. Ultimately, however, the Vikings failed in their efforts to build a championship team around him.

Finally, the Vikings' humiliating performance in the 2000 NFC Championship Game -- they appeared to give up at halftime of a 41-0 loss to the New York Giants -- sparked a downswing that lasted for most of the decade. It took eight seasons to win another division championship and 10 seasons to return to the NFC Championship Game.

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