For some time, it appeared that the NFL team from the Twin Cities was being punished per se for its Super Bowl failures. The Minnesota Vikings first took the field in 1961 under the guidance of head coach Norm Van Brocklin.
The franchise hired Bud Grant to be their new sideline leader in 1967. In his third season at the controls, the club made its first Super Bowl appearance. The Vikings would return to the “Big Game” in 1973, 1974 and ’76 but fell short on all four occasions. In fact, the team failed to score a point in the first half of their Super Sunday setbacks to the Chiefs, Dolphins, Steelers, and Raiders, respectively.
What's more, the Purple Gang has not been back to the Super Bowl since. Still, those were some fantastic teams laced with talent but just couldn't get past some of the greatest squads in NFL history. Over the last 40-plus years, the franchise has seen its share of star performers who should perhaps get a closer look when it comes to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Vikings that deserve stronger Hall of Fame consideration: 5. RB Bill Brown
He was a hard-nosed and versatile runner in the early days of the organization. Bill Brown was a second-round draft choice of the Chicago Bears in 1961, the same year that the Vikings took the field. The 5-foot-11, 228-pound prospect from the University of Illinois played in all 14 games for George Halas’ club but wasn’t much of a factor for that franchise. A year later, he was dealt to Minnesota.
Brown had a fairly quiet debut season with his new club but that would change in 1963, when he started 13-of-14 contests. He totaled 554 yards from scrimmage and scored seven touchdowns and also had a kickoff return for a score. A season later, he was named to his first Pro Bowl and totaled career highs in total yards from scrimmage (1,569) and total touchdowns (16).
If you include his one season with the Bears, Brown finished his 14-year NFL career with 9,339 total combined yards and 76 total touchdowns. He would be named to a total of four Pro Bowls, played in a dozen postseason contests for head coach Bud Grant and was part of Minnesota’s first three Super Bowl teams, his final contest being Super Bowl IX vs. the Steelers. Brown was named to the Vikings’ Ring of Honor in 2004.