1979 Minnesota Vikings season

1979 Minnesota Vikings season
Head coach Bud Grant
General manager Mike Lynn
Home field Metropolitan Stadium
Record 7–9
Division place 3rd NFC Central
Playoff finish did not qualify

The 1979 season was the Minnesota Vikings' 19th in the National Football League. The Vikings finished with a 7–9 record, their first losing season since 1967.

The loss of Fran Tarkenton to retirement in the off-season meant third-year quarterback Tommy Kramer became the starter. The season also marked the end of an era as the last remaining original Viking, longtime defensive end Jim Marshall, retired after 19 seasons with the Vikings 20 in the NFL, having set league records for most consecutive games played (282) and consecutive starts (270). Counting playoff games, he had started in every one of the 289 games in Vikings history. Safety Paul Krause also retired after the season ended; he holds the league record with 81 career interceptions.


1979 Draft

Pro Bowler
1979 Minnesota Vikings Draft
Draft order Player name Position College
Round Choice Overall
11616Ted BrownRunning backNorth Carolina State
21543Dave HuffmanCenterNotre Dame
31672Pick forfeited due to illegal tryout[a]
41597Steve DilsQuarterbackStanford
519129Jerry MeterLinebackerMichigan
615152Joe SenserTight endWest Chester (PA)
716181Bob WinkelDefensive tackleKentucky
815207Traded to the Baltimore Colts[b]
916236Billy DiggsWide receiverWinston-Salem State
1015263Traded to the New York Jets[c]
1116291Brian NelsonWide receiverTexas Tech
1214317David StephensLinebackerKentucky
^[a] The details of this forfeited pick are unknown.
^[b] Minnesota traded their 8th round selection (207th overall) to Baltimore for OT Frank Myers.
^[c] Minnesota traded their 10th round selection (263rd overall) and 1978 8th round selection (213th overall) to the New York Jets for S Phil Wise.


1979 Minnesota Vikings final roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice squad

Rookies in italics
53 Active, 5 Inactive, 5 Practice squad


1August 2at Seattle SeahawksL 9–120–1Kingdome60,881
2August 11at San Diego ChargersL 0–190–2San Diego Stadium49,037
3August 18Miami DolphinsL 10–210–3Metropolitan Stadium45,790
4August 23Kansas City ChiefsL 0–250–4Metropolitan Stadium39,578

Regular season


1 September 2 San Francisco 49ers W 28–22 1–0 Metropolitan Stadium 46,539
2 September 9 at Chicago Bears L 26–7 1–1 Soldier Field 53,231
3 September 16 Miami Dolphins L 27–12 1–2 Metropolitan Stadium 46,187
4 September 23 Green Bay Packers W 27–21 (OT) 2–2 Metropolitan Stadium 46,524
5 September 30 at Detroit Lions W 13–10 3–2 Silverdome 75,295
6 October 7 Dallas Cowboys L 36–20 3–3 Metropolitan Stadium 47,572
7 October 15 at New York Jets L 14–7 3–4 Shea Stadium 54,479
8 October 21 Chicago Bears W 30–27 4–4 Metropolitan Stadium 41,164
9 October 28 Tampa Bay Buccaneers L 12–10 4–5 Metropolitan Stadium 46,906
10 November 4 at St. Louis Cardinals L 37–7 4–6 Busch Memorial Stadium 47,213
11 November 11 at Green Bay Packers L 19–7 4–7 Milwaukee County Stadium 52,706
12 November 18 Detroit Lions W 14–7 5–7 Metropolitan Stadium 43,650
13 November 25 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 23–22 6–7 Tampa Stadium 70,039
14 December 2 at Los Angeles Rams L 27–21 (OT) 6–8 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum 56,700
15 December 9 Buffalo Bills W 10–3 7–8 Metropolitan Stadium 42,239
16 December 16 at New England Patriots L 27–23 7–9 Schaefer Stadium 54,719


NFC Central
Tampa Bay Buccaneers(2) 10 6 0 .625 6–2 8–6 273 237 W1
Chicago Bears(5) 10 6 0 .625 5–3 8–4 306 249 W3
Minnesota Vikings 7 9 0 .438 5–3 6–6 259 337 L1
Green Bay Packers 5 11 0 .313 3–5 4–8 246 316 W1
Detroit Lions 2 14 0 .125 1–7 2–10 219 365 L3

Awards and records

  • On September 2, WR Ahmad Rashād caught four touchdown passes, which remains a Vikings single-game record.
  • On November 25, the team blocked four kicks – two extra point attempts, a field goal attempt and a punt by Tom Blanchard – against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This remains a club record.
  • On December 16, RB Rickey Young caught fifteen passes, a new single-game franchise record that lasts today.


Team leaders

Category Player(s) Value
Passing yardsTommy Kramer3,397
Passing touchdownsTommy Kramer23
Rushing yardsRickey Young708
Rushing touchdownsRickey Young3
Receiving yardsAhmad Rashād1,156
Receiving touchdownsAhmad Rashād9
PointsRick Danmeier67
Kickoff return yardsJimmy Edwards1,103
Punt return yardsJimmy Edwards186
InterceptionsTom Hannon
Nate Wright

League rankings

Category Total yards Yards per game NFL rank
(out of 28)
Passing offense3,139196.212th
Rushing offense1,764110.323rd
Total offense4,903306.419th
Passing defense2,697168.611th
Rushing defense2,526157.926th
Total defense5,223326.418th


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