One of the most classic matchups of all time. Vikings. Broncos. The mere mention of these two teams in the same breath hearkens the mind back to such memorable games like...
Well, there was that one... Uh...
Okay, I admit it. There are really no 'legendary' games between these two teams. However, there are matchups that will make you say, "oh yeah, I kind of remember that." Here's an in-depth look back those mildly notable games.
Let's be honest: part of the reason the Broncos don't have a hands-down favorite memorable game has to do with the fact that AFC teams and NFC teams met only sporadically before the NFL realigned divisions in 2002. Before then, the Broncos and Vikings met just ten times with Minnesota winning all but four of those games.
November 18, 1984
Up until this date, the Broncos and Vikings had played close, competitive games. John Elway changed all that, outscoring the Vikings, 42-21. Elway carpet bombed Minnesota at Mile High Stadium, throwing five touchdowns to Sammy Winder, Steve Watson (twice!), Butch Johnson and Ray Alexander. Running back Gerald Willhite also had a rushing touchdown. This game was well in-hand by halftime.
November 24, 1996
Everyone remembers that the 1996 season ended in disappointment with a playoff loss at home to the Jacksonville Jaguars. One of the side effects of that loss is that few people remember the games that led to their terrific 13-3 record. Of all those games, this Vikings game was one of the more exciting ones. Although he did score a touchdown, Terrell Davis struggled, racking up just 68 yards in 19 attempts. Elway's arm took up the slack and was 27 for 36 attempts with two touchdowns. On the other side of the field, Brad Johnson (of Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl fame) was 24 of 35 attempts for 266 yards and two touchdowns.
With the Broncos down by three points in the closing minutes of the game, Denver was driving. On third and goal with 26-seconds left on the clock, Elway's pass was tipped into the air and found its way in the soft supple hands of Ed McCaffrey who fell into end zone for the game winning touchdown. Had the ball bounced any other way, the Vikings could very well have intercepted the ball, killing not only the win, but all hope of a game-tying field goal.
October 19, 2003
With apologies to Brian Griese and Brandon Marshall's freak injuries (read about Griese's here and Brandon Marshall's here) Jake Plummer's was the most unexpected. In the week leading up to the Vikings game, Plummer broke a bone in his foot by getting off his couch (read about it here). Yes, his couch. Broncos fans would get to watch a woefully ineffective Steve Beuerlein and Danny Kanell play against Minnesota. The Broncos would go on to lose this game, 20-28. However, the real heart-wrenching moment came in the second quarter. After Randy Moss caught a deep bomb from Minnesota quarterback Dante Culpepper, it appeared that Denver defensive back Nick Ferguson had the future hall-of-famer just short of the goal line. That's when Moss no-look-lateraled over his shoulder to running back Moe Williams who streaked into the end zone untouched.
Also of note in that game was that Steve Buerlein broke his pinky finger in probably one of the grossest minor football injuries of all time.The reaction from Phil Simms and Jim Nance is pretty awesome.
So, looking back, what can we expect from this Sunday's Broncos game against the Vikings? Maybe we'll see more exciting acrobatic plays like McCaffrey's miraculous catch and Moss' ridiculous lateral. It would almost be a let-down to not have any. Here's hoping that Manning can carpet bomb the Vikings like Elway did in 1984. Let's also keep the injuries to a minimum. No icky finger injuries this time, either please. Broncos win in another close one.