Did Vikings Actually Inhabit Minnesota?

Scandinavian roots run deep in Minnesota, and so does the belief among some that the first Vikings who inhabited the state were not of the National Football League variety. The theory that the ancient Norsemen explored Minnesota as much as 1,000 years ago blossomed after Swedish-American farmer Olof Ohman and his son discovered a 200-pound, rune-covered slab of stone in 1898 while clearing stumps near the rural town of Kensington. The inscription on the Kensington Runestone claimed that Vikings led by Paul Knutson had come to the prairies of western Minnesota in 1362 in search of the Vineland colony established by Leif Erickson, whom some Minnesotans believe also visited the state.

Filmmaker Mike Scholtz, director of the new documentary “Lost Conquest” that explores the debate over whether Vikings ever made it to Minnesota, says the discovery of the Kensington Rhinestone occurred at a time of increased interest in Vikings, not to mention a yearning by new Scandinavian settlers in Minnesota to feel welcome in their new homeland. “It was a time when recent Scandinavian immigrants were angst-ridden about their place in the world, so the discovery of the Kensington Runestone could reassure them that this is where they belonged,” Scholtz says.

Although experts nearly universally declared that the runestone and subsequent discoveries of Viking swords and relics were hoaxes, the idea that Nordic explorers once visited Minnesota gained new life after archaeologists uncovered evidence in Newfoundland that Leif Erickson had indeed traveled to North America. “The discovery emboldened people in Minnesota that they also may have had a Viking settlement,” says Scholtz, who is skeptical of the idea. “Prior to that, everyone who suggested that Vikings made it to North America were ridiculed, so when you have proof they made it to a part of North America, that said they could be anywhere.” In spite of scant evidence and little support from scholars, the belief among some Minnesotans still persists. “People are just genuinely interested in their own culture, and this is an exciting way to explore their own Scandinavian heritage,” Scholtz says.

What Really Happened To The Real Life Version Of Vikings' Ubbe

Vikings, the popular historical drama created by Michael Hirst, just released its final ten episodes — the second half of season 6 — on Amazon Prime Video, ahead of a normal release on the show's O.G. home network, History. The series takes place during the late 8th and early 9th century, following the legendary Viking Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) and sons as they fight to conquer distant lands and maintain rule over Norway. Ragnar's sons Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig), Hvitserk (Marco Islø), Ivar (Alex Høgh Andersen), Sigurd (David Lindstron), and Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith) follow closely in his footsteps. His first wife, Lagertha, who is a legend in her own right, is played by Katheryn Winnick.

In the final episodes of the series, the brothers are all moving on their own paths. For Ubbe, the eldest son of Ragnar from his second marriage to Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland), his journey takes him across the ocean in search of the "Golden Land," recognizable to viewers as North America, a place that came to be known by Vikings throughout history as Vinland. But now that fans know where Ubbe ends up at the end of Vikings, the question remains if this fate is historically accurate. So what happened to the real Ubbe Lothbrok?

Vikings True Story: Did Ubbe Really Explore North America?

The Vikings explored America centuries before Christopher Columbus, but Ubbe's voyage in Vikings season 6 is based on a different man's story.

While his brothers plan another raid on Wessex in Vikings season 6, Ubbe's ambitions lie a little further afield. As the History Channel show draws to a close, Ragnar Lothbrok's second-eldest son becomes the first Viking to reach North America, landing on the shores of Newfoundland after a detour to Greenland and a harrowing journey across the sea. Vikings has been known to take liberties with history for the sake of storytelling, so is Ubbe's voyage to the Americas based on a true story?

The answer is a mixture of "yes" and "no." As far as we know, the real-life Ubbe never sailed to North America his best known role in the Norse sagas was as one of the leaders of the Great Heathen Army that invaded England in the mid-ninth century, as depicted in Vikings season 4 and 5. However, there was a man called Leif Erikson whom history records as the first Viking to lead an expedition to North America - which he dubbed Vinland ("Wineland") after finding an abundance of grapevines and grapes there. The area that Leif Erikson explored is known today as Newfoundland, but he didn't arrive there until approximately 1000 CE - more than a century after the time in which Vikings season 6 is set.

The Norse people's discovery of North America was accelerated in the Vikings timeline for the sake of bringing the show's themes full circle. The story began with Ragnar Lothbrok's dreams of exploring land that Vikings had never been to before, and season 6 saw the sons of Ragnar fulfilling his ambitions in different ways. While Ivar the Boneless paid tribute to their father's fearsome reputation as a warrior and raider, Ubbe pursued Ragnar's dream of discovering rich new land for farming and settlements. Speaking to Collider, Vikings showrunner Michael Hirst said that the show was always intended to end this way: "I knew that the ending would be the discovery of America, and Newfoundland. And that was what I always planned."

The description of Leif in the Saga of the Greenlanders does resemble Vikings' Ubbe (played by Jordan Patrick-Smith): "a large, strong man, of very striking appearance and wise, as well as being a man of moderation in all things." Unlike his more hot-headed and unstable brothers, Ubbe has always been Ragnar's most even-tempered, thoughtful and diplomatic son, at one point converting to Christianity in order to secure better relations with King Alfred the Great and his royal court. Ubbe exercises that same wisdom and diplomacy when his settlers first encounter the Mi'kmaq people, leaving gifts for them as a gesture of good intent and working with the Mi'kmaq's leaders to try and cultivate peace between their people.

History's account of the Vikings' first meeting with indigenous North Americans is a lot less romantic. According to the Saga of the Greenlanders, Leif didn't encounter any natives during his first expedition, but his brother Thorvald did in his second summer exploring Vinland. According to the story, Thorvald's men discovered three hide-covered boats with three men aboard each boat, and slaughtered all but one of the men. A battle followed with a larger force of natives, during which Thorvald was hit with an arrow and soon died from his injuries. Later, a man called Thorfinn Karlsefni took his own band of Norse people to Vinland to establish a settlement, but despite initial efforts by the indigenous people to engage in trade, relations quickly soured into violence once again.

Ubbe's journey to North America in Vikings season 6 is particularly interesting in light of the upcoming sequel/spinoff series Vikings: Valhalla, which is set more than a century after Vikings season 6 and will feature Leif Erikson among its cast of characters. Vikings: Valhalla may well address Ubbe's expedition, and explain why history instead recorded Leif as the first Viking explorer to reach North America. If Ubbe never returned to Norway and his settlers either died out or integrated into the Mi'kmaq tribe, then he would have been presumed lost at sea and the story of his adventures in North America wouldn't be recorded in the sagas. But if and when Vikings: Valhalla's Leif Erikson reaches North America, perhaps he'll find some trace of those who were there before him.

In the Viking Age, the facial features of the men and women were more alike than they are today. The women had more prominent brow ridges which are typically a masculine feature, and the men had a more feminine face than today with a less prominent jaw and brow ridges.

Because of the facial features being more alike for men and women, it is sometimes difficult to decide if a Viking skeleton was a male or a female based on the skull alone.

Photo: Jelling – riget og regenten


According to the Sagas of Icelanders, Norsemen from Iceland first settled Greenland in the 980s. There is no special reason to doubt the authority of the information that the sagas supply regarding the very beginning of the settlement, but they cannot be treated as primary evidence for the history of Norse Greenland because they embody the literary preoccupations of writers and audiences in medieval Iceland that are not always reliable. [5]

Erik the Red (Old Norse: Eiríkr rauði), having been banished from Iceland for manslaughter, explored the uninhabited southwestern coast of Greenland during the three years of his banishment. [6] [7] He made plans to entice settlers to the area, naming it Greenland on the assumption that "people would be more eager to go there because the land had a good name". [8] The inner reaches of one long fjord, named Eiriksfjord after him, was where he eventually established his estate Brattahlid. He issued tracts of land to his followers. [9]

Norse Greenland consisted of two settlements. The Eastern was at the southwestern tip of Greenland, while the Western Settlement was about 500 km up the west coast, inland from present-day Nuuk. A smaller settlement near the Eastern Settlement is sometimes considered the Middle Settlement. The combined population was around 2,000–3,000. [10] At least 400 farms have been identified by archaeologists. [9] Norse Greenland had a bishopric (at Garðar) and exported walrus ivory, furs, rope, sheep, whale and seal blubber, live animals such as polar bears, supposed "unicorn horns" (in reality narwhal tusks), and cattle hides. In 1126, the population requested a bishop (headquartered at Garðar), and in 1261, they accepted the overlordship of the Norwegian king. They continued to have their own law and became almost completely politically independent after 1349, the time of the Black Death. In 1380, the Kingdom of Norway entered into a personal union with the Kingdom of Denmark. [11]

Western trade and decline Edit

There is evidence of Norse trade with the natives (called the Skræling by the Norse). The Norse would have encountered both Native Americans (the Beothuk, related to the Algonquin) and the Thule, the ancestors of the Inuit. The Dorset had withdrawn from Greenland before the Norse settlement of the island. Items such as comb fragments, pieces of iron cooking utensils and chisels, chess pieces, ship rivets, carpenter's planes, and oaken ship fragments used in Inuit boats have been found far beyond the traditional range of Norse colonization. A small ivory statue that appears to represent a European has also been found among the ruins of an Inuit community house. [11]

The settlements began to decline in the 14th century. The Western Settlement was abandoned around 1350, and the last bishop at Garðar died in 1377. [11] After a marriage was recorded in 1408, no written records mention the settlers. It is probable that the Eastern Settlement was defunct by the late 15th century. The most recent radiocarbon date found in Norse settlements as of 2002 was 1430 (±15 years). [ citation needed ] Several theories have been advanced to explain the decline.

The Little Ice Age of this period would have made travel between Greenland and Europe, as well as farming, more difficult although seal and other hunting provided a healthy diet, there was more prestige in cattle farming, and there was increased availability of farms in Scandinavian countries depopulated by famine and plague epidemics. In addition, Greenlandic ivory may have been supplanted in European markets by cheaper ivory from Africa. [12] Despite the loss of contact with the Greenlanders, the Norwegian-Danish crown continued to consider Greenland a possession.

Not knowing whether the old Norse civilization remained in Greenland or not—and worried that if it did, it would still be Orthodox [13] [14] [15] [16] or Catholic 200 years after the Scandinavian homelands had experienced the Reformation—a joint merchant-clerical expedition led by the Dano-Norwegian missionary Hans Egede was sent to Greenland in 1721. Though this expedition found no surviving Europeans, it marked the beginning of Denmark's re-assertion of sovereignty over the island.

Climate and Norse Greenland Edit

Norse Greenlanders were limited to scattered fjords on the island that provided a spot for their animals (such as cattle, sheep, goats, dogs, and cats) to be kept and farms to be established. [17] [18] In these fjords, the farms depended upon byres to host their livestock in the winter, and routinely culled their herds in order to survive the season. [17] [18] [19] The coming warmer seasons meant that livestocks were taken from their byres to pasture, the most fertile being controlled by the most powerful farms and the church. [18] [19] [20] What was produced by livestock and farming was supplemented with subsistence hunting of mainly seal and caribou as well as walrus for trade. [17] [18] [19] The Norse mainly relied on the Nordrsetur hunt, a communal hunt of migratory harp seals that would take place during spring. [17] [20] Trade was highly important to the Greenland Norse and they relied on imports of lumber due to the barrenness of Greenland. In turn they exported goods such as walrus ivory and hide, live polar bears, and narwhal tusks. [19] [20] Ultimately these setups were vulnerable as they relied on migratory patterns created by climate as well as the well-being of the few fjords on the island. [18] [20] A portion of the time the Greenland settlements existed was during the Little Ice Age and the climate was, overall, becoming cooler and more humid. [17] [18] [19] As climate began to cool and humidity began to increase, this brought longer winters and shorter springs, more storms and affected the migratory patterns of the harp seal. [17] [18] [19] [20] Pasture space began to dwindle and fodder yields for the winter became much smaller. This combined with regular herd culling made it hard to maintain livestock, especially for the poorest of the Greenland Norse. [17] In spring, the voyages to where migratory harp seals could be found became more dangerous due to more frequent storms, and the lower population of harp seals meant that Nordrsetur hunts became less successful, making subsistence hunting extremely difficult. [17] [18] The strain on resources made trade difficult, and as time went on, Greenland exports lost value in the European market due to competing countries and the lack of interest in what was being traded. [20] Trade in elephant ivory began competing with the trade in walrus tusks that provided income to Greenland, and there is evidence that walrus over-hunting, particularly of the males with larger tusks, led to walrus population declines. [21]

In addition, it seemed that the Norse were unwilling to integrate with the Thule people of Greenland, either through marriage or culture. There is evidence of contact as seen through the Thule archaeological record including ivory depictions of the Norse as well as bronze and steel artifacts. However, there is essentially no material evidence of the Thule among Norse artifacts. [17] [18] In older research it was posited that it was not climate change alone that led to Norse decline, but also their unwillingness to adapt. [17] For example, if the Norse had decided to focus their subsistence hunting on the ringed seal (which could be hunted year round, though individually), and decided to reduce or do away with their communal hunts, food would have been much less scarce during the winter season. [18] [19] [20] [22] Also, had Norse individuals used skin instead of wool to produce their clothing, they would have been able to fare better nearer to the coast, and wouldn't have been as confined to the fjords. [18] [19] [20] However, more recent research has shown that the Norse did try to adapt in their own ways. [23] Some of these attempts included increased subsistence hunting. A significant number of bones of marine animals can be found at the settlements, suggesting increased hunting with the absence of farmed food. [23] In addition, pollen records show that the Norse didn't always devastate the small forests and foliage as previously thought. Instead the Norse ensured that overgrazed or overused sections were given time to regrow and moved to other areas. [23] Norse farmers also attempted to adapt. With the increased need for winter fodder and smaller pastures, they would self-fertilize their lands in an attempt to keep up with the new demands caused by the changing climate. [23] However, even with these attempts, climate change was not the only thing putting pressure on the Greenland Norse. The economy was changing, and the exports they relied on were losing value. [20] Current research suggests that the Norse were unable to maintain their settlements because of economic and climatic change happening at the same time. [23] [24]

According to the Icelandic sagas—Eirik the Red's Saga, [25] Saga of the Greenlanders, plus chapters of the Hauksbók and the Flatey Book—the Norse started to explore lands to the west of Greenland only a few years after the Greenland settlements were established. In 985, while sailing from Iceland to Greenland with a migration fleet consisting of 400–700 settlers [9] [26] and 25 other ships (14 of which completed the journey), a merchant named Bjarni Herjólfsson was blown off course, and after three days' sailing he sighted land west of the fleet. Bjarni was only interested in finding his father's farm, but he described his findings to Leif Erikson who explored the area in more detail and planted a small settlement fifteen years later. [9]

The sagas describe three separate areas that were explored: Helluland, which means "land of the flat stones" Markland, "the land of forests", definitely of interest to settlers in Greenland where there were few trees and Vinland, "the land of wine", found somewhere south of Markland. It was in Vinland that the settlement described in the sagas was founded.

Leif's winter camp Edit

Using the routes, landmarks, currents, rocks, and winds that Bjarni had described to him, Leif sailed from Greenland westward across the Labrador Sea, with a crew of 35—sailing the same knarr Bjarni had used to make the voyage. He described Helluland as "level and wooded, with broad white beaches wherever they went and a gently sloping shoreline." [9] Leif and others had wanted his father, Erik the Red, to lead this expedition and talked him into it. However, as Erik attempted to join his son Leif on the voyage towards these new lands, he fell off his horse as it slipped on the wet rocks near the shore thus he was injured and stayed behind. [9]

Leif wintered in 1001, probably near Cape Bauld on the northern tip of Newfoundland, where one day his foster father Tyrker was found drunk, on what the saga describes as "wine-berries." Squashberries, gooseberries, and cranberries all grew wild in the area. There are varying explanations for Leif apparently describing fermented berries as "wine."

Leif spent another winter at "Leifsbúðir" without conflict, and sailed back to Brattahlíð in Greenland to assume filial duties to his father.

Thorvald's voyage (1004 AD) Edit

In 1004, Leif's brother Thorvald Eiriksson sailed with a crew of 30 men to Vinland and spent the following winter at Leif's camp. In the spring, Thorvald attacked nine of the local people who were sleeping under three skin-covered canoes. The ninth victim escaped and soon came back to the Norse camp with a force. Thorvald was killed by an arrow that succeeded in passing through the barricade. Although brief hostilities ensued, the Norse explorers stayed another winter and left the following spring. Subsequently, another of Leif's brothers, Thorstein, sailed to the New World to retrieve his dead brother's body, but he died before leaving Greenland. [9]

Karlsefni's expedition (1009 AD) Edit

In 1009, Thorfinn Karlsefni, also known as "Thorfinn the Valiant", supplied three ships with livestock and 160 men and women [26] (although another source sets the number of settlers at 250). After a cruel winter, he headed south and landed at Straumfjord. He later moved to Straumsöy, possibly because the current was stronger there. A sign of peaceful relations between the indigenous peoples and the Norsemen is noted here. The two sides bartered with furs and gray squirrel skins for milk and red cloth, which the natives tied around their heads as a sort of headdress.

There are conflicting stories but one account states that a bull belonging to Karlsefni came storming out of the wood, so frightening the natives that they ran to their skin-boats and rowed away. They returned three days later, in force. The natives used catapults, hoisting "a large sphere on a pole it was dark blue in color" and about the size of a sheep's belly, [28] which flew over the heads of the men and made an ugly din. [28]

The Norsemen retreated. Leif Erikson's half-sister Freydís Eiríksdóttir was pregnant and unable to keep up with the retreating Norsemen. She called out to them to stop fleeing from "such pitiful wretches", adding that if she had weapons, she could do better than that. Freydís seized the sword belonging to a man who had been killed by the natives. She pulled one of her breasts out of her bodice and struck it with the sword, frightening the natives, who fled. [28]

Purported runestones have been found in North America, most famously the Kensington Runestone. These are generally considered to be hoaxes or misinterpretations of Native American petroglyphs. [29]

There are many claims of Norse colonization in New England, none well founded.

Monuments claimed to be Norse include: [30]

Horsford's Norumbega Edit

The nineteenth-century Harvard chemist Eben Norton Horsford connected the Charles River Basin to places described in the Norse sagas and elsewhere, notably Norumbega. [31] He published several books on the topic and had plaques, monuments, and statues erected in honor of the Norse. [32] His work received little support from mainstream historians and archeologists at the time, and even less today. [33] [34] [35]

Other nineteenth-century writers, such as Horsford's friend Thomas Gold Appleton, in his A Sheaf of Papers (1875), and George Perkins Marsh, in his The Goths in New England, seized upon such false notions of Viking history also to promote the superiority of white people (as well as to oppose the Catholic Church). Such misuse of Viking history and imagery reemerged in the twentieth century among some groups promoting white supremacy. [36]

Settlements in continental North America aimed to exploit natural resources such as furs and in particular lumber, which was in short supply in Greenland. [37] It is unclear why the short-term settlements did not become permanent, though it was likely in part because of hostile relations with the indigenous peoples, referred to as the Skræling by the Norse. [38] Nevertheless, it appears that sporadic voyages to Markland for forages, timber, and trade with the locals could have lasted as long as 400 years. [39] [40]

From 985 to 1410, Greenland was in touch with the world. Then silence. In 1492 the Vatican noted that no news of that country "at the end of the world" had been received for 80 years, and the bishopric of the colony was offered to a certain ecclesiastic if he would go and "restore Christianity" there. He didn't go. [41]

For centuries it remained unclear whether the Icelandic stories represented real voyages by the Norse to North America. The sagas first gained serious historic respectability in 1837 when the Danish antiquarian Carl Christian Rafn pointed out the possibility for a Norse settlement in, or voyages to, North America. North America, by the name Winland, first appeared in written sources in a work by Adam of Bremen from approximately 1075. The most important works about North America and the early Norse activities there, namely the Sagas of Icelanders, were recorded in the 13th and 14th centuries. In 1420, some Inuit captives and their kayaks were taken to Scandinavia. [43] The Norse sites were depicted in the Skálholt Map, made by an Icelandic teacher in 1570 and depicting part of northeastern North America and mentioning Helluland, Markland and Vinland. [44]

Evidence of the Norse west of Greenland came in the 1960s when archaeologist Anne Stine Ingstad and her husband, outdoorsman and author Helge Ingstad, excavated a Norse site at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland. The location of the various lands described in the sagas remains unclear, however. Many historians identify Helluland with Baffin Island and Markland with Labrador. The location of Vinland poses a thornier question.

In 2012 Canadian researchers identified possible signs of Norse outposts in Nanook at Tanfield Valley on Baffin Island, as well as on Nunguvik, Willows Island, and Avayalik. [45] [46] [47] Unusual fabric cordage found on Baffin Island in the 1980s and stored at the Canadian Museum of Civilization was identified in 1999 as possibly of Norse manufacture that discovery led to more in-depth exploration of the Tanfield Valley archaeological site for points of contact between Norse Greenlanders and the indigenous Dorset people. [48] [49]

Archeological findings in 2015 at Point Rosee, [50] [51] on the southwest coast of Newfoundland, were originally thought to reveal evidence of a turf wall and the roasting of bog iron ore, and therefore a possible 10th century Norse settlement in Canada. [52] Findings from the 2016 excavation suggest the turf wall and the roasted bog iron ore discovered in 2015 were the result of natural processes. [53] The possible settlement was initially discovered through satellite imagery in 2014, [54] and archaeologists excavated the area in 2015 and 2016. [54] [52] Birgitta Linderoth Wallace, one of the leading experts of Norse archaeology in North America and an expert on the Norse site at L'Anse aux Meadows, is unsure of the identification of Point Rosee as a Norse site. [55] Archaeologist Karen Milek was a member of the 2016 Point Rosee excavation and is a Norse expert. She also expressed doubt that Point Rosee was a Norse site as there are no good landing sites for their boats and there are steep cliffs between the shoreline and the excavation site. [56] In their November 8, 2017, report [57] Sarah Parcak and Gregory Mumford, co-directors of the excavation, wrote that they "found no evidence whatsoever for either a Norse presence or human activity at Point Rosee prior to the historic period" [51] and that "none of the team members, including the Norse specialists, deemed this area as having any traces of human activity." [50]

Trolls and dwarves have become familiar to us from Lord of The Rings. Dragons form an important story thread in Game of Thrones. The sagas are full of them, aren’t they?

They do crop up in the sagas but the sagas can also be pretty realistic. Not all sagas are filled with dragons and elves. But the interesting thing is that they were clearly seen as part of the Norse worldview. When they do appear, they’re not seen as necessarily fantastical. You can be having a normal saga episode, where someone’s having a dream or wandering through a mountain, and suddenly a creature will appear. The idea of trolls lurking just outside, at the edge of your peripheral vision, is a common one.

The far north has always had supernatural, even diabolical associations, stretching all the way back to the Bible. We see it in the Anglo-Saxon worldview, all the way up to 19th century and Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen. The farther north you go, the more inhospitable the landscape becomes. There are mountains and deep crevasses, strange rock formations. So it becomes easier to imagine in these inhuman parts of the world, that the only things that could live in them would themselves be inhuman, like trolls.

Vikings Reveals Bjorn’s Fate In Final Season Sneak Peek, And Uh-Oh

Meanwhile, across the wide ocean, Ubbe and Torvi were settling in Iceland and hoping to encounter a brave new world that a mysterious traveler had once connected with, only to be swept away by the tides. Ubbe was also still looking into Floki’s disappearance at the end of Season 6, and those living in Iceland seem to be hiding something. Oh and Torvi had her baby, despite a birthing scare!

Next up, we’ll get into the second half of Season 6, which is on Amazon Prime now and will be heading to History in 2021. So if you don’t want to be spoiled, don’t say we didn’t warn you twice.

Vikings Franchise Timeline

FRANCHISE FOUNDED— Minnesota was granted an NFL franchise at the league owners' meetings in Miami on Jan. 28, 1960. The team began play in 1961. The founding group consisted of Max Winter, E. William Boyer, H.P Skoglund, Ole Haugsrud and Bernard H. Ridder, Jr.

ROSE NAMED GENERAL MANAGER — In late summer, 1960, former Los Angeles Rams Public Relations Director Bert Rose was named the team's first General Manager.

TEAM NICKNAMED — In one of his first moves with the team, Bert Rose recommended the nickname "Vikings" to the Board of Directors. The name was selected because it represented both an aggressive person with the will to win and the Nordic tradition in the northern Midwest.

FIRST HEAD COACH — Norm Van Brocklin was selected as the first head coach in franchise history. He retired as a player in 1960 after 12 seasons in the NFL as a Hall of Fame QB.

FIRST COLLEGE DRAFT — On Dec. 27, 1960, RB Tommy Mason of Tulane was taken with the 1st overall choice and the first-ever draft pick utilized by the Vikings. Also selected that year were QB Fran Tarkenton (3rd round) and DB Ed Sharockman (5th round).

EXPANSION DRAFT — Following the 1960 season, the Vikings were allowed to select 3 players from the roster of each team after each team was allowed to protect 30 of their 38 players. Dallas was exempt from this process. Among the players selected were OL Grady Alderman (Detroit) and RB Hugh McElhenny (San Francisco).

ASSIGNED CONFERENCE — On April 12, 1961, the NFL assigned the Vikings to the Western Conference. Minnesota joined Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles and San Francisco in the conference.

FIRST GAME — In the first game in franchise history, the Vikings played the Dallas Cowboys in a preseason game in Sioux Falls, SD, on Aug. 5, 1961. The Cowboys defeated the Vikings, 38- 13.

FIRST HOME GAME — The Minnesota Vikings played the Los Angeles Rams in preseason action at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, MN, on Sept. 10, 1961, the team's first game in the Twin Cities. The Rams defeated the Vikings, 21-17.

FIRST REGULAR-SEASON GAME — In a stunning upset, the Vikings defeated the Chicago Bears, 37-13, at Metropolitan Stadium in the Vikings' first NFL regular-season game on Sept. 17, 1961. Kicker Mike Mercer scored the first points in team history with a 12-yard field goal. Bob Schnelker scored the team's first touchdown on a 14-yard pass from Fran Tarkenton. In his NFL debut Tarkenton came off the bench to complete 17-of-23 passes for 250 yards and 4 touchdowns.

FIRST PRO BOWLERS — On Jan. 14, 1962, RB Hugh McElhenny and WR Jerry Reichow became the first Vikings to compete in the Pro Bowl. They were part of the Western Conference All-Stars who beat the Eastern Conference squad, 31-30, at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

FIRST ALL-PRO — In 1963 RB Tommy Mason, who was the team's first ever draft choice, was the first Vikings player to earn All-Pro recognition. He was a consensus pick after rushing for 763 yards and 7 touchdowns on 166 carries (4.6 avg.).

FINKS HIRED — In September, 1964, Jim Finks was named the team's second general manager, succeeding Bert Rose, who resigned in June, 1964. Finks previously had served as general manager for Calgary of the Canadian Football League for 7 years.

FIRST WINNING SEASON — Minnesota won its final 3 regular-season games in 1964 to achieve the first winning season in team history with an 8-5-1 record. The Vikings tied for 2nd in the NFL Western Conference behind Baltimore.

MET EXPANDED — A new grandstand was constructed on the east side of Metropolitan Stadium that increased capacity from 41,200 to 47,200. The new seats were formally dedicated on Aug. 20, 1965, when Minnesota played Philadelphia in a preseason game.

NFL RE-ALIGNED — On Dec. 2, 1966, Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit and Green Bay were chosen to make up the newly-formed Central Division of the Western Conference of the NFL.

VAN BROCKLIN RESIGNS — After compiling a 29-51-4 record while leading the Vikings in their first six years of existence, Head Coach Norm Van Brocklin resigned in February, 1967. His best season was 1964, when he led the team to a tie for 2nd place in the NFL Western Conference with an 8-5-1 record.

TARKENTON TRADED — On March 7, 1967, QB Fran Tarkenton is traded to the NY Giants for a 1st and 2nd-round choice in 1967, a 1st-round choice in '68 and a 2nd-round choice in '69. With the picks Minnesota selected Clinton Jones and Bob Grim in '67, Ron Yary in '68 and Ed White in '69.

GRANT NAMED HEAD COACH — Bud Grant was named the second head coach in Vikings history on March 10, 1967. He came to Minnesota after leading the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to 4 Grey Cup Championships in 10 years as head coach.

FIRST DIVISION TITLE — On Dec. 15, 1968 the Vikings defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 24- 17, at Franklin Field then retired to the dressing room to listen to the Chicago-Green Bay game on the radio. Minnesota needed the Bears to lose to clinch the Vikings' 1st Division title. Chicago tried to rally from a 28-10 4th quarter deficit but eventually fell 28-17.

FIRST PLAYOFF GAME — On Dec. 22, 1968, in the first playoff game in franchise history, the Colts defeated the Vikings, 24-14, in the Western Conference Championship Game at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. Minnesota trailed 21-0 in the 4th quarter but a late rally fell short.

SECOND DIVISION TITLE — On Nov. 27, 1969, the Vikings shut out Detroit, 27-0, at Tiger Stadium to clinch the franchise's 2nd division title. The victory over the Lions was the 10th of a 12-game win streak, the longest in the NFL in 35 years. Minnesota finished the season with the NFL's best record (12-2) of '69.

FIRST PLAYOFF WIN — On Dec. 27, 1969, in the first NFL playoff game in Minnesota, the Vikings came from behind to defeat the LA Rams, 23-20, in the Western Conference Championship Game. Minnesota overcame deficits of 17-7 at halftime and 20-14 in the 4th quarter for the franchise's 1st postseason win. FIRST NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME — The Vikings defeated the Browns, 27-7, in the NFL Championship Game on Jan. 4, 1970, at Metro - politan Stadium. Minnesota became the 1st modern NFL expansion team to win an NFL Championship Game. The Vikings dominated the game, leading 27-0 at one point.

FIRST SUPER BOWL — On Jan. 11, 1970, the Vikings lost to Kansas City, 23-7, in Super Bowl IV at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. Not only was the game the 1st Super Bowl in franchise history, but it was the 1st Super Bowl played by a modern expansion team.

THIRD DIVISION TITLE — On Dec. 5, 1970, the Vikings defeated the Bears, 16-13, at Metropolitan Stadium to clinch their 3rd straight division title. Minnesota hosted San Francisco in a divisional playoff game but lost, 17-14. For the 2nd consecutive season, the Vikings had the league's best record with a 12-2 mark.

FOURTH DIVISION TITLE — On Dec. 11, 1971, the Vikings defeated the Lions, 29-10, at Metropolitan Stadium to clinch their 4th straight division title. Minnesota finished the year with an

VIKINGS LORE RBs Hugh McElhenny and Tommy Mason earned trips to the Pro Bowl in the Vikings early years. The Vikings-Packers border rivalry is one of the most even in NFL history the alltime series standings at 45-46-1. 11-3 mark, which tied Dallas for the league's best record in '71. The Vikings lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Cowboys, 20-12, in a divisional playoff game at Metropolitan Stadium.

PAGE NAMED NFL'S MVP — In 1971 Alan Page became the first defensive player to be named the Most Valuable Player of the National Football League by the Associated Press. Page headed a Vikings defense that held opponents to fewer than 10 points a game to lead the league in scoring defense for the 3rd consecutive year.

VIKINGS RE-ACQUIRE TARKENTON — In 1972 the Vikings traded Norm Snead, Bob Grim, Vince Clements and a 1st-round choice in '72 and '73 to the NY Giants for Fran Tarkenton.

BOYER DIES — In 1972 E. William Boyer passed away. He was one of the prime forces in the drive to bring an NFL franchise to Minnesota. Boyer was president of the Vikings from 1960-64 and sat on the Board of Directors for the first 12 years of the team's existence. He was replaced on the team's Board of Directors by his son-in-law Jack Steele.

FIFTH DIVISION TITLE — The Vikings began the '73 season with 9 straight victories and clinched the NFC Central championship before they even lost a game. Minnesota clinched the division crown by defeating Detroit, 28-7, at Metropolitan Stadium on Nov. 11, 1973. The Vikings finished with a 12-2 mark, which tied for the best record in the league that year.

SECOND SUPER BOWL — On Jan. 13, 1974, the Vikings played in the 2nd Super Bowl in franchise history against the Miami Dolphins at Rice Stadium in Houston, TX. The Dolphins prevailed, 24-7. Minnesota earned the trip to Super Bowl VIII by defeating Dallas, 27-10, in the NFC Championship game. FINKS RESIGNS — After the 1973 season, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jim Finks resigned. Under Finks, who was hired in 1964, the Vikings won 5 division titles and appeared in 2 Super Bowls. He also hired Bud Grant as head coach in '67.

SIXTH DIVISION TITLE — On Dec. 1, 1974, the Vikings clinched the NFC Central crown by defeating the Saints, 29-9, at Metropolitan Stadium, while the Packers lost, 36-14, at Philadelphia. Minnesota tied for the best record in the NFC with a 10-4 mark.

THIRD SUPER BOWL — The Vikings played in their 2nd straight Super Bowl, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 16-6, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans on Jan. 12, 1975. Minnesota earned a trip to Super Bowl IX by defeating the Los Angeles Rams, 14-10, at Metropolitan Stadium on Dec. 29, 1974.

FRONT OFFICE CHANGES — In the spring of 1975, Max Winter, one of the team's founders and its president since 1965, took over active management of the franchise. In addition, Mike Lynn, who was hired as an assistant to the president on Aug. 15, 1974, was named the team's general manager.

SEVENTH DIVISION TITLE — The Vikings clinched their 3rd straight NFC Central title and their 7th division championship in 8 years on Thanksgiving Day Nov. 27, 1975, when the Lions lost to the Rams, 20-0. Minnesota won 10 consecutive games to start the season and finished the year with the best record (12-2) in the NFL. The Vikings were upset, 17-14, in the divisional playoffs at Metropolitan Stadium on Dec. 28, 1975, when the Dallas Cowboys scored on a last minute 50-yard touchdown pass.

TARKENTON NAMED LEAGUE MVP — Quarter back Fran Tarkenton was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player for 1975 after leading the Vikings to the league's best record (12- 2). He led the NFC and finished 2nd in the NFL in passing with a 91.7 rating. He completed 273- of-425 passes for 2,994 yards and 25 touchdowns with 13 interceptions.

HAUGSRUD DIES — Ole Haugsrud passed away in March, 1976. He was one of the prime forces in the drive to bring an NFL franchise to Minnesota. Haugsrud sat on the Board of Directors for 16 years of the team's existence. He was replaced on the team's Board of Directors by his widow Margaret Haugsrud.

EIGHTH DIVISION TITLE — The Vikings clinched their 4th consecutive NFC Central championship and their 8th division title in 9 years by defeating the Packers, 17-10, at Milwaukee County Stadium on Nov. 21, 1976. Minnesota finished the season with the best record in the NFC at 11-2-1.

FOURTH SUPER BOWL — The Vikings played in their 3rd Super Bowl in 4 years against the Oakland Raiders at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA, on Jan. 9, 1977. Minnesota lost, 32-14. The Vikings earned a trip to Super Bowl XI by defeating the Rams, 24-13, at Metropolitan Stadium on Dec. 26, 1976, in what ended up being the last Vikings playoff game at the Met.

KAPLAN NAMED TO BOARD — In 1977 team attorney Sheldon Kaplan was named to the Vikings Board of Directors. He replaced Bernard H. Ridder, Jr., who was one of the team's 5 founders.

NINTH DIVISION TITLE — The Vikings clinched the NFC Central crown on the season's final weekend by defeating the Lions, 30-21, in Detroit on Dec. 17, 1977. Minnesota wrapped up its 5th straight NFC Central title and its 9th division crown in 10 seasons.

FOURTH NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME — On Jan. 1, 1978 the Vikings played Dallas in their 4th NFC Championship Game in 5 years at Texas Stadium. Minnesota lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champs, 23-6.

CHANGES ON BOARD — John Skoglund and Vikings General Manager Mike Lynn were named to the team's Board of Directors replacing Margaret Haugsrud and H.P. Skoglund, who was one of the team's founders. Haugsrud joined the board in 1976, replacing her husband Ole, who passed away.

10TH DIVISION TITLE — Despite losing in the regular-season finale to the Raiders, 27-20, on Dec. 17, 1978, at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the Vikings captured the NFC Central title when the Packers, who played at the same time as Minnesota, lost to the Rams, 31-14, at the LA Coliseum. It was the Vikings' 6th straight NFC Central crown and their 10th division championship in 11 years.

METRODOME GROUND BREAKING — In December, 1979, ground was broken for construction of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. The stadium, which will house both the Vikings and Twins, was scheduled to open in April, 1982.

11TH DIVISION TITLE — Minnesota clinched its 7th NFC Central title in 8 years by defeating the Browns, 28-23, at Met Stadium on Dec. 14, 1980. It also was the Vikings' 11th division title in 13 seasons. Minnesota lost to the NFC Champion Eagles, 31-16, at Veterans Stadium on Jan. 3, 1981 in the divisional playoffs.

WINTER PARK OPENS — On May 15, 1981, the Vikings moved into a new facility in Eden Prairie that houses the team's offices, locker room and practice fields. The complex was named "Winter Park" after Max Winter, one of the Vikings founders who served as the team's president from 1965-87.

FAREWELL MET — On Dec. 20, 1981, the Vikings hosted the Chiefs in Minnesota's final game at Metropolitan Stadium. The Vikings lost, 10-6. The final points at the stadium were scored on a 33-yard field goal by Minnesota kicker Rick Danmeier. The last Vikings touchdown at Met Stadium was scored on a 6-yard run by Ted Brown against Green Bay on Nov. 29, 1981.

METRODOME OPENS — The Vikings played their 1st game at the Metrodome in a preseason matchup against Seattle on Aug. 21, 1982. Minnesota prevailed, 7-3. The 1st touchdown in the new facility was scored by Joe Senser on an 11-yard pass from Tommy Kramer. The 1st regular-season game in the Metrodome was the 1982 opener on September 12, when the Vikings defeated Tampa Bay, 17-10. Rickey Young scored the 1st regular-season touchdown in the facility on a 3-yard run in the 2nd quarter.

12TH PLAYOFF APPEARANCE — In a strikeshortened 9-game 1982 season, the Vikings won 3-of-their-last-4 regular-season games to earn a post-season berth.

FIRST DOME PLAYOFF GAME — On Jan. 9, 1983, the Vikings defeated Atlanta, 30-24, in a 1st-round game that was the 1st playoff matchup in the Metrodome. Minnesota lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Redskins, 21-7, in the NFC semi-finals at RFK Stadium on Jan. 15, 1983. Bud Grant coached the Vikings to 4 Super Bowls and was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994.

GRANT RETIRES — On Jan. 27, 1984, Bud Grant retired as Head Coach of the Vikings. In 17 seasons Grant led Minnesota to 12 playoff appearances, 11 division titles and 4 Super Bowls. His career regular-season record was 151-87-5 (.632).

STECKEL HIRED — Les Steckel, who was an offensive assistant with the Vikings for 5 seasons, was named the 3rd head coach in franchise history on Jan. 29, 1984. Steckel, who came to the Vikings in 1979 after working as an assistant with the 49ers, was the youngest head coach in the NFL in '84 at age 38.

GRANT RETURNS— On Dec. 18, 1984, Bud Grant was re-hired as the head coach of the Vikings. He replaced Les Steckel who guided the team in 1984 after Grant retired following the 1983 season.

GRANT RE-RETIRES — On Jan. 6, 1986 following the 1985 season, Bud Grant retired as head coach of the Vikings. He originally retired after the 1983 season but returned in '85. At the time of his retirement he was the 6th winningest coach in NFL history with 168 career wins, including playoffs. In 18 seasons he led the team to a 158-96-5 regular-season record.

BURNS HIRED — Longtime Vikings assistant coach Jerry Burns was named the 4th head coach in team history on Jan. 7, 1986. He served as the Vikings offensive coordinator from 1968-85, when the team won 11 division titles and played in 4 Super Bowls.

TARKENTON ENSHRINED — On Aug. 2, 1986, Fran Tarkenton became the 1st player who spent the majority of his career with the Vikings to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He retired following the 1978 season with NFL career records for passing yards (47,003), completions (3,686) and touchdown passes (342). He led the team to 6 NFC Central titles, 4 NFC Championship Games and 3 Super Bowls.

13TH PLAYOFF APPEARANCE — Despite a strike replacement unit that saddled the Vikings with 3 losses, the team made the playoffs as a wild-card entrant with an 8-7 record in 1987. It was the team's 1st postseason appearance under Jerry Burns, who was in his 2nd season as the Vikings head coach.

FIFTH NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME — The Vikings played the Redskins in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 17, 1988, at RFK Stadium. Trailing 17-10, the Vikings drove to the Redskins' 6-yard line with a little over a minute left in the game but failed to get the ball into the end zone. Minnesota upset New Orleans, 44-10, at the Superdome and San Francisco, 36-24, at Candlestick Park in the first 2 rounds of the playoffs to earn a trip to the conference title game.

BOARD ADDS MEMBERS — Four people were added to the Vikings Board of Directors in 1988. Joining Max Winter, John Skoglund, Jack Steele, Sheldon Kaplan and Mike Lynn were Wheelock Whitney, Jaye Dyer, Irwin Jacobs and Carl Pohlad.

PAGE ENSHRINED — On July 30, 1988, Alan Page became the 2nd player who spent the majority of his career with the Vikings to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Drafted by Minnesota in the 1st round in 1967, Page made the Pro Bowl 9 times. In 1971 he became the 1st defensive player to be named the NFL's Most Valuable Player by Associated Press. Page played on teams that won 10 NFC Central titles and played in 4 Super Bowls.

14TH PLAYOFF APPEARANCE — The Vikings won 6-of-their-last-7 games in 1988 to earn a wild-card berth into the playoffs. Minnesota finished with an 11-5 record then defeated the Rams, 28-17, on December 26 in a firstround playoff game at the Metrodome. The Vikings fell the following week to eventual Super Bowl Champion San Francisco, 34-9, at Candlestick Park.

REMAINING FOUNDER LEAVES BOARD — In 1989, Max Winter, the last of the original 5 Vikings' founders on the team's Board of Directors, left the board. He also served as the team's president from 1965-87. He was replaced on the board by Gerald Schwalbach.

WALKER ACQUIRED — On Oct. 12, 1989, the Vikings acquired Herschel Walker from Dallas for Issiac Holt, David Howard, Darrin Nelson, Jesse Solomon, Alex Stewart, a 1st-round choice in 1992, conditional 1st-round choices in 1990 and '91, conditional 2nd-round choices in 1990, '91 and '92, and a conditional 3rd-round choice in 1992. The final result of the trade gave the Vikings Walker, a 3rd (Mike Jones), 5th (Reggie Thornton) and 10th-round choice (Pat Newman) in 1990 and a 3rd-round choice in 1991 (Jake Reed), while Dallas received all 5 players, a 1st, 2nd and 6th-round choice in 1990, a 1st and 2nd-round choice in 1991 and a 1st, 2nd and 3rd-round choice in 1992.

12TH DIVISION TITLE — The Vikings captured their 12th division title since 1968 by defeating the Cincinnati Bengals, 29-21, at the Metrodome in a Monday night game on Christmas Day in 1989. It also was Minnesota's 15th postseason appearance in the past 22 years. The Vikings finished the season with a 10-6 record but lost to eventual Super Bowl Champion San Francisco, 41-13, at Candlestick Park in the divisional playoffs on Jan. 6, 1990.

HEADRICK NAMED TEAM PRESIDENT — On Jan. 1, 1991, Roger Headrick became president and Chief Executive Officer of the Vikings. He replaced Mike Lynn as the person in charge of day-to-day operations of the club. In addition Headrick and Philip Maas replaced Jack Steele and Sheldon Kaplan on the board of directors.

BURNS RETIRES — On Dec. 3, 1991, Jerry Burns announced his retirement. In 6 seasons as Head Coach of the Vikings, Burns compiled a career record of 52-43 (.547). He also led Minnesota to 3 playoff appearances, including a division title and an NFC Championship Game.

CHANGES ON BOARD — On Dec. 16, 1991, the team's ownership structure was reorganized. Irwin Jacobs and Carl Pohlad sold their shares to a group consisting of Vikings President/CEO Roger Headrick, John Skoglund, Jaye Dyer, Philip Maas, Mike Lynn, Wheelock Whitney, James Binger, Bud Grossman, Elizabeth MacMillan and Carol Sperry.

GREEN NAMED HEAD COACH — On Jan. 10, 1992, Dennis Green was named the 5th Head Coach in team history. He came to Minnesota after turning around a struggling Stanford University football program as head coach there from 1989-91.

13TH DIVISION TITLE — On Dec. 20, 1992 the Vikings defeated the Steelers, 6-3, at Three Rivers Stadium to earn the franchise's 13th division title. It also was Minnesota's 16th playoff season since 1968. Dennis Green also posted the most victories (11) and the 1st division title by a 1st-year head coach in team history. The Vikings lost to the defending Super Bowl champion Redskins, 24-7, in a 1st-round playoff game at the Metrodome on Jan. 2, 1993.

17TH PLAYOFF APPEARANCE — For the first time since 1974, the Vikings won their final 3 regular-season games to earn a Wild-Card playoff berth. It was the team's 17th postseason appearance since 1968. Minnesota lost to the Giants, 17-10, in Giants Stadium in a first-round playoff game on Jan. 9, 1994.

MOON ACQUIRED — On April 14, 1994 the Vikings traded a 4th-round draft choice in 1994 and a 3rd-round draft choice in 1995 to the Houston Oilers for quarterback Warren Moon, who has thrown for more yardage and touchdowns as a professional than any other player. He set team season records for passing yards (4,264) in '94 and for completions (377) and touchdown passes (33) in '95.

GRANT ENSHRINED — On July 30, 1994, Bud Grant was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He coached the Vikings from 1967-83 then again in '85. During his tenure Minnesota made the playoffs 12 times, won 11 division titles and played in 4 Super Bowls. Grant was the first person to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame.

14TH DIVISION TITLE — On the final day of the 1994 regular season, the Vikings defeated the 49ers, 21-14, in a Monday night game to earn their 2nd NFC Central title in 3 seasons and their 3rd straight playoff berth. It also was Minnesota's 14th division title and 18th postseason appearance since 1968. Dennis Green became only the 7th NFL coach to lead his team to the playoffs in his first 3 seasons.

FINKS ENSHRINED — Former Vikings General Manager Jim Finks was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on July 25, 1995. During his decade with Minnesota, the team won 5 division titles and appeared in 2 Super Bowls. Finks passed away on May 8, 1994, and was inducted posthumously, represented by his family.

WINTER PASSES AWAY — Max Winter, who served as the owner and President of the Vikings from 1965-87, passed away on July 26, 1996. He was one of the prime forces bringing an NFL franchise to Minnesota and was a big factor in the building of the Metrodome and Vikings QB Tommy Kramer started 110 games for the team and attracting Super Bowl XXVI to the Twin Cities.

19TH PLAYOFF APPEARANCE — On Dec. 15, 1996, the Vikings defeated the Buccaneers, 21- 10, in the Metrodome. After a Washington loss to Arizona later that day, Minnesota was guaranteed a playoff berth for the 19th time since 1968 and the 4th in 5 seasons under Dennis Green. The Vikings lost, 40-15, to the Dallas Cowboys in a first-round game at Texas Stadium on Dec. 28, 1996.

20TH PLAYOFF APPEARANCE — On Dec. 21, 1997, the Vikings beat the Colts in the regular season finale to reach the playoffs for the 20th time in team history and the 5th time in 6 seasons under Dennis Green. The Vikings went on the road and came back from 16 points down to defeat the NY Giants 23-22 at the Meadowlands on Dec. 27, 1997. It was the biggest comeback win in team playoff history and the 5th biggest postseason comeback in NFL history. The following week the Vikings lost, 38-22, to the San Francisco 49ers at 3Com Park in the Divisional Playoffs on Jan. 3, 1998.

KRAUSE ENSHRINED — On August 1, 1998, Paul Krause was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Krause played free safety with the Vikings from 1968-79 and the Redskins from 1964-67. He holds the NFL record for career interceptions with 81. Krause was selected to 8 Pro Bowls in his 15-year career.

BOARD AGREES TO SELL — On July 3, 1998, The Minnesota Vikings 10 owners voted unanimously to accept the bid of Texas businessman B.J. "Red" McCombs to purchase the Vikings.

NFL APPROVES McCOMBS — On July 28, 1998, the NFL owners unanimously approved Red McCombs' purchase of the Vikings, finalizing the change of ownership from the 10 previous owners to sole ownership by McCombs.

GREEN CONTRACT EXTENDED — Head Coach Dennis Green received a 3-year contract extension on September 5, the day before the 1998 opener vs. Tampa Bay.

VIKINGS 15 WINS BEST IN TEAM HISTORY — The Vikings won their 15th NFC Central Division title and became only the 3rd team in NFL history to go 15-1 through the regular season with their 26-16 win at Tennessee in the regular-season finale. The Vikings also established a new NFL scoring record with 556 points, breaking the old mark of 541 set by the 1983 Washington Redskins.

SIXTH NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME — The Vikings hosted Atlanta in the 6th NFC Championship game in franchise history with a berth in Super Bowl XXXIII on the line. The teams played to a 27-27 deadlock during regulation, forcing the game into overtime where the Falcons claimed a 30-27 win. It was the first NFC Championship game played in the Metrodome. 22ND PLAYOFF APPEARANCE — The Vikings turned their 1999 season around, winning eight of the final 10 games to finish 10-6 and host a 1st-round playoff game vs. Dallas. Robert Smith set a team post-season record with 140 rushing yards in the 27-10 win over the Cowboys. The Vikings fell 49-37 to eventual Super Bowl XXXIV champion St. Louis in the Divisional Round at the TWA Dome.

CARTER NAMED MAN OF THE YEAR — Cris Carter was honored as the first recipient of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award for civic involvement, charity work and displaying high character on January 29, 2000, in a ceremony during Super Bowl week in Atlanta. The award was re-named after Payton, a Hall of Fame running back who died in 1999.

SMITH BREAKS TEAM RUSHING RECORD — Robert Smith surpassed Chuck Foreman's 20- year-old career rushing record in the team's 28- 16 win at Chicago (10/15/00). Smith ended his career with 6,818 yards. He also established a new team record with 1,521 rushing yards on the season and holds the team record with 29 career 100-yard games.

40th ANNIVERSARY TEAM ANNOUNCED — The Vikings celebrated their 40th season of NFL football in 2000, highlighted by a luncheon on November 30 to introduce the Vikings 40th Anniversary Team. That night the Vikings topped Detroit 24-17 and Cris Carter caught his 1,000th pass on a 4-yard TD from Daunte Culpepper. Carter was only the 2nd player in NFL history to record 1,000 career receptions.

15TH DIVISION TITLE — The Vikings overcame every critic's expectations in 2000 to post an 11- 5 regular-season record, win the franchise's 15th NFC Central title and made the 23rd playoff appearance in team history, ending in the 7th NFC Championship game at Giants Stadium.

YARY ENSHRINED — On August 4, 2000, Ron Yary was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Yary played 14 seasons with Minnesota and played in 4 Super Bowls and 7 Pro Bowls during his career.

TICE REPLACES GREEN — On January 4, 2002, Mike Tice replaced Dennis Green on the sideline for the Vikings. Tice coached the 2001 regular season finale at Baltimore. Green assembled a 97-62 regular season record at the helm of the Vikings. Green led the team to 4 NFC Central Division titles and twice played in the NFC Championship game. Green's teams made the playoffs in 8 of his 10 seasons.

TICE NAMED HEAD COACH — On January 10, 2002 Mike Tice was named the 6th Head Coach in Vikings history. Tice is the 3rd of the 6 Vikings Head Coaches to be promoted from within the team's coaching ranks but is the 1st Head Coach to have played for the Vikings.

NFL RE-ALIGNS — The 2002 season marked the re-alignment of the NFL as the League expanded to 32 teams when the Houston Texans joined as an expansion franchise. The NFL realigned into 8 divisions of 4 teams each. The Vikings moved into the newly-formed NFC North after years in the NFC Central.

VIKINGS LEAD NFL IN RUSHING — The 2002 Vikings led the NFL in rushing for the first time in team history with 2,507 yards for the season, an average of 156.7 yards per game. Second-year RB Michael Bennett ranked 2nd in team history with 1,296 rushing yards and earned a berth in the Pro Bowl. The Vikings set team records for rushing TDs (26), average per carry (5.3) and total first downs (350). The team also established an NFL mark by becoming the 1st team to make a successful 2-point conversion to win a game when Daunte Culpepper scored on a 2-point run with :05 remaining in the game to give the Vikings a 32-31 win at New Orleans on December 15, 2002. Culpepper proved to be a dangerous runner himself in 2002, setting team records for attempts (106), yards (609) and rushing TDs (10) by a QB.

VIKINGS OFFENSE RANKS #1 — The 2003 Vikings became the 1st squad in franchise history to finish the season with the #1 ranked offense in the NFL, averaging 393.4 yards per game and scoring an average of 26.0 points per game.

ELLER ENSHRINED — On August 8, 2004, Carl Eller was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Eller, the Vikings career sacks leader, was a member of the vaunted Purple People Eaters defense.

WILF FAMILY TAKES OWNERSHIP — An investment group led by brothers Zygmunt and Mark Wilf were unanimously approved as the new owners of the Vikings by their fellow NFL owners on May 25, 2005. The Wilfs, owners of a real estate development company in New Jersey, took ownership in mid-June from former owner Red McCombs, who had owned the club since 1998. Joining the Wilfs ownership group is cousin Leonard Wilf, Reggie Fowler, David Mandelbaum and Alan Landis.

CHILDRESS TAKES THE HELM — The Vikings named Brad Childress the 7th head coach in the history of the franchise on January 6, 2006. Childress comes to the Vikings after seven seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, spending the 2002-05 seasons as offensive coordinator. The Eagles won NFC East titles in 2001, '02, '03 and '04 and represented the NFC in Super Bowl XXXIX against New England. During his tenure with the Eagles, Childress was instrumental in the development of 5-time Pro Bowl selection QB Donovan McNabb. Childress began his coaching career at the University of Illinois from 1978-84 and tutored the Wisconsin Badgers offense from 1991-98.

VIKINGS UNVEIL NEW UNIFORMS — The franchise made the most dramatic change to its uniforms in the history of the team during the 2006 offseason. The team unveiled the new uniforms before an enthusiastic crowd at Mall of America on April 27, 2006.

VIKINGS SEND 4 LINEMEN TO PRO BOWL — The 2006 Vikings strong play along the defensive and offensive lines was recognized league-wide as C Matt Birk, G Steve Hutchinson, DT Kevin Williams and DT Pat Williams all earned Pro Bowl honors.

ROOKIE RUNS TO RECORDS — In only his 5th NFL game, rookie RB Adrian Peterson broke the team record for rushing yards in a game with 224 at Chicago (10/14/07). Three weeks later he topped that by setting the NFL single-game rushing record with 296 yards vs. San Diego (11/4/07). He went on to lead the NFC in rushing with 1,341 yards, was named All-Pro, NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, started in the Pro Bowl and took home game MVP honors.

SOLID 7 EARN PRO BOWL TRIPS — The Vikings sent 7 players to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, the most to earn the honor since the 2000 season. The team was represented by C Matt Birk, G Steve Hutchinson, S Darren Sharper, FB Tony Richardson, DT Kevin Williams, DT Pat Williams and RB Adrian Peterson.

BLOCKBUSTER TRADE LANDS ALLEN — The Vikings struck a deal with Kansas City to trade 2007 NFL sack leader DE Jared Allen to the club for the Vikings 1st-round (#17) pick in the 2008 Draft, a pair of 3rd-round picks in 2008 and a swap of 6th-round choices. Allen was introduced to a boisterous crowd of fans at the Winter Park facility as part of the Vikings Draft Party days after the trade.

VIKINGS CLAIM FIRST NFC NORTH TITLE — The Vikings rattle off 9 wins in their last 12 games to capture their 1st division title since 2000 and the team's 1st NFC?North Championship since the NFC?Central was realigned in 2002. The Vikings hosted a playoff game for the 1st time since 2000.

PETERSON LEADS NFL IN RUSHING — Second-year RB Adrian Peterson set a team record with 1,760 yards rushing to become the 1st-ever Viking to lead the NFL?in rushing. Peterson broke the 100-yard barrier 10 times during the season and became just the 5th player in NFL history to rush for more than 3,000 yards in his 1st 2 seasons (3,101).

RUSHING DEFENSE DYNASTY — The Vikings become the first defense since the 1970 merger to rank No. 1 in the NFL against the run for 3 straight years. Minnesota gave up just 76.9 yards per game to lead the league.

VIKINGS LOSE FOUNDING FATHER — One of the Vikings original stockholders and most-adamant supporters, Don McNeely passed away in March of 2009. In addition to his role in helping build the Vikings tradition, McNeely was revered as one of Minnesota's great philanthropists. McNeely was an ardent supporter of the arts and also donated large gifts to the Minnesota State Fair, St. John's University, the Warner Nature Center and the Como Conservatory.

McDANIEL ENSHRINED — G Randall McDaniel was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 8, 2009. McDaniel started 12 consecutive Pro Bowls (1989-2000), started 202 consecutive games and missed only 2 games his entire career after being a 1st-round pick by the Vikings in 1988.

FAVRE SIGNS WITH VIKINGS — A long-time nemesis, Brett Favre signed with the Vikings on August 18, 2009. Favre went on to have the best statistical season of his career, throwing for 4,202 yards, 33 TDs and 7 INTs with a 107.2 passer rating, while also setting the NFL record for consecutive games started, a mark formerly held by Vikings legend Jim Marshall.

BACK-TO-BACK DIVISION TITLES — The Vikings finished the regular season with a 12-4 mark to capture its 2nd consecutive NFC North title. It marked the first time Minnesota achieved the feat since 1977-78.

HARVIN NAMED ROOKIE OF THE YEAR — Rookie WR/KR Percy Harvin burst on the scene and earned Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year and was also named Pro Football Weekly/PFWA Offensive Rookie of the Year and Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year. Harvin set team records with 2,081 all-purpose yards and 2 TDs on kick returns, while sharing the NFL rookie lead with 60 receptions for 790 yards. He earned a Pro Bowl berth as a return man.

NFL-BEST 10 VIKINGS EARN PRO BOWL BERTHS — The Vikings led the NFL and tied a team record with 10 players earning Pro Bowl honors. The unit featured 4 players who made their 1st Pro Bowl- Heath Farwell, Bryant McKinnie, Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin. They were joined by Brett Favre, Steve Hutchinson, Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen, Kevin Wiliams and Antoine Winfield.

EIGHTH NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME — The Vikings traveled to New Orleans in the 8th NFC Championship game in franchise history for a chance to play in Super Bowl XLIV in South Florida. The teams played to a 28-28 tie in regulation, forcing the game into OT where the Saints hit a 40-yard FG in the extra period to claim a 31-28 victory.

RANDLE ENSHRINED — DT John Randle was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 7, 2010 following a 14-year career, including 11 years as a Vikings (1990-2000). He was named to NFL Team of the Decade for the 1990s and led or tied for the team lead in sacks 9 times in his 11 Vikings seasons.

FRAZIER REPLACES CHILDRESS AFTER 10 GAMES— Defensive Coordinator/Asst. Head Coach Leslie Frazier took over coaching the team after 10 games in 2010 when Head Coach Brad Childress was replaced. Frazier won his 1st game as Interim Head Coach on 11/28/10 at Washington.

ROOF COLLAPSE CAUSES CHAOTIC END TO 2010— Heavy snows and inclement weather caused the Metrodome roof to collapse in the early morning hours of December 12, 2010, forcing the final 2 home games of the 2010 season to be moved from the facility. The Vikings played host to the NY Giants in Detroit at Ford Field on 12/13 and the club's final home game was played at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium, a Monday Night Football contest against Chicago on 12/20. The team also had a road game against Philadelphia postponed due to weather from Sunday night, 12/26, to Tuesday night, 12/28.

50 GREATEST VIKINGS CAPS 50TH SEASON CELEBRATION— Vikings legends reunited for a celebration of the storied history of the Vikings' franchise during a weekend of activities leading up to the Monday Night Football game versus Chicago on December 20, 2010. The team unveiled the 50 greatest Vikings and they were introduced to fans at halftime of the snowy game at TCF Bank Stadium. The snowy atmosphere was fitting and marked the first outdoor home game for the Vikings since the 1981 Met Stadium finale on 12/20/81, 30 years to the day.

FRAZIER NAMED HEAD COACH— After serving as Interim Head Coach for the final 6 games of the 2010 season, Leslie Frazier was named the Head Coach on Monday, January 3, 2011, the day after the 2010 regular season finale. Frazier posted a 3-3 record in the interim role and directed the club during some trying times as the team lost its home field due to a weather-related collapse of the Metrodome.

ALLEN BREAKS TEAM SACK RECORD— DE Jared Allen had one of the best seasons for a pass rusher in NFL history in 2011. Recording 22.0 sacks, Allen broke Chris Doleman's team record of 21.0 sacks in a season and fell just .5 sack short of the NFL's single-season sack record held by Michael Strahan.

SPIELMAN NAMED GENERAL MANAGER— On January 3, 2012, Rick Spielman was named the team's General Manager. He had previously been the Vikings Vice President of Player Personnel from 2006-2011.

DOLEMAN ENSHRINED— DE Chris Doleman was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 4, 2012 following a 15-year career, including 10 with the Vikings. His 150.5 sacks was ranked fourth all-time in the NFL at the time of his retirerment.

NEW STADIUM DEAL APPROVED— In May 2012, a bill for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium was passed through the Minnesota legislature and signed by Governor Mark Dayton. Funded by the Vikings, the State of Minnesota, and the City of Minneapolis, the new stadium will be located on the current Metrodome site. Groundbreaking on the stadium site is expected in Spring 2013 with project completion in time for the 2016 NFL season.

PETERSON POSTS EPIC SEASON — Adrian Peterson had a season for the ages, coming back from severe knee injury at the end of 2012 to set a franchise record and post the 2nd-best rushing season in NFL history with 2,097 yards. Peterson broke Robert Smith's Vikings career rushing mark in the 1st game of the season. Peterson went on to become only the 3rd Vikings player to earn Associated Press MVP honors for his efforts along with AP Offensive Player of the Year, 1st-Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors.

RECORD TURNAROUND EARNS PLAYOFF BERTH — The Vikings rebounded from a 3-13 mark in 2012 to go 10-6 and earn a Wild Card Playoff berth in 2013, the biggest single-season win improvement in team history at +7.

CARTER ENSHRINED — WR Cris Carter was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 4, 2013. Carter holds the Vikings career receptions, yards and TDs records. Carter was a 4-time All-Pro and 8-time Pro Bowler during his 16 NFL seasons.

VIKINGS HOST REGULAR SEASON HOME GAME IN LONDON — The Vikings played the 1st regular season game in franchise history outside of the United States in a 34-27 win over Pittsburgh at London'sWembley Stadium in the International Series on September 29, 2013. The Vikings had previously played a preseason game atWembley in 1982 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

ROOKIE CORDARRELLE PATTERSON SETS UNBREAKABLE RECORD — In only his 7th career game, rookieWR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson tied an NFL record for the longest play in league history and set the mark for longest KO return with his 109-yard TD vs. Green Bay on October 27, 2013. The only other 109-yard play came in 2007 against the Vikings at Mall of America Field when Antonio Cormartie returned a Vikings missed FG 109 yards for a score.

GROUNDBREAKING ON NEWSTADIUM — Vikings ownership and management, state leaders and elected officials joined together to officially break ground on the new stadium building project on December 3, 2013.

ALL MALL OF AMERICA FIELD TEAM TEAM — Fan voting on selected a 27-member team and head coach of Vikings alums that played most of their careers with the club at Mall of America Field at HHH Metrodome.

LAST GAME IN THE DOME — After calling Mall of America Field at HHH Metrodome home for 32 seasons, the Vikings played the final game in the stadium in the 2013 season finale. Minnesota topped Detroit 14-13 to send the stadium out on a winning note.

MIKE ZIMMER HIRED AS NINTH COACH IN TEAM HISTORY — Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer was hired as the 9th coach in Vikings history on January 15, 2014. The veteran defensive coach comes to Minnesota with 20 seasons of NFL experience under his belt and a Super Bowl victory with Dallas.

MINNESOTA AWARDED SUPER BOWL LII AT NEW STADIUM IN 2018 — Minnesota's bid for Super Bowl LII was successful when selected on May 20, 2014 as the host community for the world-renowned event. The game itself will be played at the New Minnesota Stadium but the entire greater Twin Cities metro area will
accomodate the week long festivities.

VIKINGS RETURN TO OUTDOOR FOOTBALL — On August 8 ,2014 in a preseason game vs. the Oakland Raiders, the Vikings returned to the elements playing outdoors for 2 seasons at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of the Minnesota while the new Minnesota Stadium is being constructed with completion scheduled in time for the 2016 season. The Vikings went 5-3 at home in their first season outdoors since 1981.

ZIMMER ERA BEGINS WITH WIN — On September 7, 2014, Head Coach Mike Zimmer won his first game in dominating fashion beating the St. Louis Rams 34-6.

NEW MINNESOTA STADIUM SELECTED FINAL FOUR SITE IN 2019— Announced on November 14, 2014, the iconic new Minnesota Stadium was awarded 2019 NCAA Men's Final Four to be held April 6-8, 2019. Minnesota was awarded the high profile event after a multi-year bid process.

BUD GRANT WAY UNVEILED — At an unveiling ceremony on December 1, 2014, the Vikings and the city of Minneapolis honored former Head Coach Bud Grant with a street named in his honor outside of the new Minnesota Stadium.

TINGELHOFF ENSHRINED — C Mick Tingelhoff was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 8, 2015. Tingelhoff played in 240 consecutive games and didn't miss a game in his 17-year career. Tingelhoff was a 7-time All-League selection and was named to 6 consecutive Pro Bowls. As a part of the Tingelhoff's enshrinement, the Vikings will play the Steelers in the Hall of Fame Game scheduled for August, 9. It will be the 4th time the Vikings have participated in the Hall of Fame Game.

ZIMMER CAPTURES 1ST NFC NORTH TITLE — The Vikings closed the 2015 regular season with 3 straight wins, including a 20-13 victory over the Packers at Lambeau Field in the finale on Jan. 3, 2016. The road win secured Minnesota's 1st NFC North title since 2009 and 1st playo› appearance since 2012.

ADRIAN PETERSON WINS RUSHING TITLE — For the 3rd time in his career, Adrian Peterson lead the NFL in rushing yards running for 1,485 yards in 2015.

VIKINGS PLAY COLDEST GAME IN FRANCHISE HISTORY — The Vikings hosted the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 10, 2016, in the Wildcard Round of the playo›s in the coldest game in franchise history. The temperature at kicko› was minus-6 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of negative 25 with a capacity crowd at TCF Bank Stadium in the last outdoor game played in Minnesota.

U.S. BANK STADIUM OPENS — Erected at the site of the Metrodome, U.S. Bank Stadium opened it's doors in July of 2016. The stadium held Luke Bryan and Metallica concerts as well as an international soccer match in August of 2016.

U.S. BANK STADIUM HOSTS FIRST VIKINGS GAMES — The Vikings host the San Diego Chargers in a preseason contest played on Aug. 28, 2016 and the Green Bay Packers in the first regular season game at U.S. Bank Stadium in a primetime game on Sunday Night Football on Sept. 18, 2016.

NINTH NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME BERTH — The Vikings overcame key injuries early in the season to notch a 13-3 regular season and advance to the NFC Championship Game, earning the 2nd NFC North title and 2nd playoff berth in head coach Mike Zimmer's 4 seasons. The Vikings hosted New Orleans for an NFC Divisional Round playoff, the 1st playoff game at U.S. Bank Stadium.

MINNESOTA HOSTS SUPER BOWL LII — The state hosted the Super Bowl for the 2nd time, 26 years after playing host to Super Bowl XXVI at the Metrodome. Philadelphia topped New England 41-33 to claim the Lombardi Trophy. Justin Timberlake performed at halftime and Pink sang the national anthem.

TWIN CITIES ORTHOPEDICS PERFORMANCE CENTER OPENS — State of the art TCO Performance Center opened as the new daily home of the Minnesota Vikings in Eagan. The facility features 4 outdoor practice fields, an indoor field and TCO Stadium field. The facility opened for business on March 5, 2018 and houses all football and business functions for the team.

COUSINS SIGNS AS TOP FREE AGENT — The Vikings signed coveted free agent QB Kirk Cousins to a blockbuster deal on the first day of free agency, luring the former Washington signal-caller to take the helm of the Vikings offense.

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Vikings. Giant, bloodthirsty, bushy-bearded men adorned with horned helmets and colossal axes. Hell-bent on a systematic programme of rape, pillage, randomly sacking towns and a penchant for wrecking up monasteries, right?

Like the common-garden playground bully, the truth is the Vikings weren’t all that bad. Just misunderstood. Maybe they just wanted to be loved?

So who exactly were the Vikings? A clue is in the name. The word ‘viking’ comes from the Old Norse meaning ‘pirate raid’. Yet not all those who came to the British Isles arrived with extreme violence in mind. Indeed it has become a matter of scholarly debate as to whether it was just the raiders who were referred to as Vikings, rather than the more peaceful Norse settlers.

Clear? No? Let’s muddy the waters a little more.

The first recorded Viking incursion was in 793 AD. A grotesque orgy of violence ensued and ended with the destruction of the monastery on the holy island of Lindisfarne, off England’s north-eastern coast. From then until their presence dwindled after the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066, the Viking Age represented a fascinating – albeit relatively fleeting – period of British history.

Many suggest their invasions were in retaliation to what they saw as trespassing on their tribal lands by Christian missionaries. Some say it was because they wanted access to the lucrative southern European trade routes some say that Scandinavia was simply too cold and they couldn’t grow anything. Even romantic wanderlust has been mooted, although it’s unlikely they came for a holiday.

One thing is clear, the Vikings left an indelible mark on Britain’s culture, language and geography that endures to this day… In fact, if you look for the Vikings today, you may be surprised by what you find.

World's largest DNA sequencing of Viking skeletons reveals they weren't all Scandinavian

Invaders, pirates, warriors -- the history books taught us that Vikings were brutal predators who travelled by sea from Scandinavia to pillage and raid their way across Europe and beyond.

Now cutting-edge DNA sequencing of more than 400 Viking skeletons from archaeological sites scattered across Europe and Greenland will rewrite the history books as it has shown:

  • Skeletons from famous Viking burial sites in Scotland were actually local people who could have taken on Viking identities and were buried as Vikings.
  • Many Vikings actually had brown hair not blonde hair.
  • Viking identity was not limited to people with Scandinavian genetic ancestry. The study shows the genetic history of Scandinavia was influenced by foreign genes from Asia and Southern Europe before the Viking Age.
  • Early Viking Age raiding parties were an activity for locals and included close family members.
  • The genetic legacy in the UK has left the population with up to six per cent Viking DNA.

The six-year research project, published in Nature today (16 September 2020), debunks the modern image of Vikings and was led by Professor Eske Willerslev, a Fellow of St John's College, University of Cambridge, and director of The Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre, University of Copenhagen.

He said: "We have this image of well-connected Vikings mixing with each other, trading and going on raiding parties to fight Kings across Europe because this is what we see on television and read in books -- but genetically we have shown for the first time that it wasn't that kind of world. This study changes the perception of who a Viking actually was -- no one could have predicted these significant gene flows into Scandinavia from Southern Europe and Asia happened before and during the Viking Age."

The word Viking comes from the Scandinavian term 'vikingr' meaning 'pirate'. The Viking Age generally refers to the period from A.D. 800, a few years after the earliest recorded raid, until the 1050s, a few years before the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. The Vikings changed the political and genetic course of Europe and beyond: Cnut the Great became the King of England, Leif Eriksson is believed to have been the first European to reach North America -- 500 years before Christopher Columbus -- and Olaf Tryggvason is credited with taking Christianity to Norway. Many expeditions involved raiding monasteries and cities along the coastal settlements of Europe but the goal of trading goods like fur, tusks and seal fat were often the more pragmatic aim.

Professor Willerslev added: "We didn't know genetically what they actually looked like until now. We found genetic differences between different Viking populations within Scandinavia which shows Viking groups in the region were far more isolated than previously believed. Our research even debunks the modern image of Vikings with blonde hair as many had brown hair and were influenced by genetic influx from the outside of Scandinavia."

The team of international academics sequenced the whole genomes of 442 mostly Viking Age men, women, children and babies from their teeth and petrous bones found in Viking cemeteries. They analysed the DNA from the remains from a boat burial in Estonia and discovered four Viking brothers died the same day. The scientists have also revealed male skeletons from a Viking burial site in Orkney, Scotland, were not actually genetically Vikings despite being buried with swords and other Viking memorabilia.

There wasn't a word for Scandinavia during the Viking Age -- that came later. But the research study shows that the Vikings from what is now Norway travelled to Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Greenland. The Vikings from what is now Denmark travelled to England. And Vikings from what is now Sweden went to the Baltic countries on their all male 'raiding parties'.

Dr Ashot Margaryan, Assistant Professor at the Section for Evolutionary Genomics, Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen and first author of the paper, said: "We carried out the largest ever DNA analysis of Viking remains to explore how they fit into the genetic picture of Ancient Europeans before the Viking Age. The results were startling and some answer long-standing historical questions and confirm previous assumptions that lacked evidence.

"We discovered that a Viking raiding party expedition included close family members as we discovered four brothers in one boat burial in Estonia who died the same day. The rest of the occupants of the boat were genetically similar suggesting that they all likely came from a small town or village somewhere in Sweden."

DNA from the Viking remains were shotgun sequenced from sites in Greenland, Ukraine, The United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Poland and Russia.

Professor Martin Sikora, a lead author of the paper and an Associate Professor at the Centre for GeoGenetics, University of Copenhagen, said: "We found that Vikings weren't just Scandinavians in their genetic ancestry, as we analysed genetic influences in their DNA from Southern Europe and Asia which has never been contemplated before. Many Vikings have high levels of non-Scandinavian ancestry, both within and outside Scandinavia, which suggest ongoing gene flow across Europe."

The team's analysis also found that genetically Pictish people 'became' Vikings without genetically mixing with Scandinavians. The Picts were Celtic-speaking people who lived in what is today eastern and northern Scotland during the Late British Iron Age and Early Medieval periods.

Dr Daniel Lawson, lead author from The University of Bristol, explained: "Individuals with two genetically British parents who had Viking burials were found in Orkney and Norway. This is a different side of the cultural relationship from Viking raiding and pillaging."

The Viking Age altered the political, cultural and demographic map of Europe in ways that are still evident today in place names, surnames and modern genetics.

Professor Søren Sindbæk, an archaeologist from Moesgaard Museum in Denmark who collaborated on the ground-breaking paper, explained: "Scandinavian diasporas established trade and settlement stretching from the American continent to the Asian steppe. They exported ideas, technologies, language, beliefs and practices and developed new socio-political structures. Importantly our results show that 'Viking' identity was not limited to people with Scandinavian genetic ancestry. Two Orkney skeletons who were buried with Viking swords in Viking style graves are genetically similar to present-day Irish and Scottish people and could be the earliest Pictish genomes ever studied."

Assistant Professor Fernando Racimo, also a lead author based at the GeoGenetics Centre in the University of Copenhagen, stressed how valuable the dataset is for the study of the complex traits and natural selection in the past. He explained: This is the first time we can take a detailed look at the evolution of variants under natural selection in the last 2,000 years of European history. The Viking genomes allow us to disentangle how selection unfolded before, during and after the Viking movements across Europe, affecting genes associated with important traits like immunity, pigmentation and metabolism. We can also begin to infer the physical appearance of ancient Vikings and compare them to Scandinavians today."

The genetic legacy of the Viking Age lives on today with six per cent of people of the UK population predicted to have Viking DNA in their genes compared to 10 per cent in Sweden.

Professor Willeslev concluded: "The results change the perception of who a Viking actually was. The history books will need to be updated."

Remembering The Time The Minnesota Vikings Missed Their First-Round NFL Draft Pick

To a layperson, 15 minutes seems like plenty of time to select a single football player. But when one considers just how much time goes into the evaluation process and what’s at stake, perhaps it shouldn’t be so surprising that a team has gone over its allotted time to pick in the NFL Draft.

That’s exactly what happened to the Minnesota Vikings in 2003. It wasn’t just that the Vikings couldn’t decide which player to select. Front office executives not only know which prospects they covet but likely what teams picking near them are looking to do. If an NFL team can get the player it wants and possibly trade down to acquire more picks, it only makes sense to try to do that.

With the seventh overall pick, the Vikings were fielding offers from three teams looking to trade up — the Baltimore Ravens, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New England Patriots. With about 30 seconds remaining out of the 15 minutes the Vikings had to pick (first-round picks now have a 10-minute limit), Minnesota officials claim they submitted their draft card laying out a trade with Baltimore, acquiring the Ravens’ first- (10th overall), fourth- and sixth-round picks. League officials, however, told the Vikings that they never received verification of the trade from Ravens officials.

At this point, the clock had run out on the Vikings, making it possible for teams picking after them to swoop in and make their pick before Minnesota could. Sensing their opportunity, the Panthers quickly drafted tackle Jordan Gross and the Jaguars took quarterback Byron Leftwich, the player who the Ravens were supposedly trading up to obtain.

Even after slipping two spots in the first round, the Vikings still wound up selecting Kevin Williams, a defensive tackle who anchored their defense for 11 years, making the Pro Bowl five times in that span. Minnesota has always contended that Williams was the player they wanted all along. Even if that was the case, it’s still an embarrassing episode in the team’s history.

Incidentally, 2003 marked the second straight year that the Vikings had a blunder in the first round. The year before, Minnesota tried to undercut another team when it appeared that the clock had run out on a trade between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Dallas Cowboys for the sixth pick overall. Minnesota, picking seventh, attempted to submit its selection of defensive tackle Ryan Sims, but were informed that the Chiefs had submitted their pick of Sims in time. Instead, the Vikings took offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie.

Eight years later, the Ravens became the most recent team to miss its assigned first-round pick when a trade down with the Bears to the 29th spot from the 26th spot was not pulled off in time. Instead, Baltimore moved down to the 27th spot and selected the player they wanted anyway, cornerback Jimmy Smith. Ironically, it was Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome who had been trying to pull off a trade with the Vikings when Minnesota’s time to pick expired in 2003.