The 1992 Season
1992 (11-5): NFC Central Champions
Head Coach: Dennis Green
9/6 W 23-20 OT @ Green Bay 58,617
9/13 L 17-31 @ Detroit 57,519
9/20 W 26-20 Tampa Bay 48,113
9/27 W 42-7 @ Cincinnati 53,847
10/4 W 21-20 Chicago 60,992
10/15 W 31-14 Detroit 52,816
10/25 L 13-15 Washington 59,098
11/2 W 38-10 @ Chicago 61,257
11/8 W 35-7 @ Tampa Bay 49,095
11/15 L 13-17 Houston 56,726
11/22 W 17-13 Cleveland 53,323
11/29 W 31-17 @ L.A. Rams 54,831
12/6 L 17-28 @ Philadelphia 65,280
12/13 L 17-20 San Francisco 60,685
12/20 W 6-3 @ Pittsburgh 53,613
12/27 W 27-7 Green Bay 61,461
NFC First-Round Playoffs
1/2/93 L 7-24 Washington 57,353
Key Draft Picks
New head coach Dennis Green soon showed one of his strengths, which not even his most ardent critics can deny. Drafting unknown talent and then turning them into proven starters and in many cases Pro Bowlers.
In his first draft Green selected defensive end Robert Harris in the second round. There was no first choice round as the last of the Herschel Walker draft pick bonanza’s for Dallas was used up along with an additional second round and a third round choice. In the fourth round Green selected DT Roy Barker. Ed McDaniel came in the fifth. Brad Johnson was selected in the ninth. Brad Culpepper came along in the tenth followed by Charles Evans in the eleventh. All would eventually become starters.
Green also made significant free agent acquisitions. Jack Del Rio, Vencie Glenn, and Anthony Parker signed on to become part of a fierce defense that was coached by Tony Dungy. All in all, Green added 17 new faces.
Selected 241st overall in the 1990 draft, Terry Allen missed the entire 1990 season when he sustained a knee injury during pre-season training. After undergoing surgery, Allen returned in 1991 and started six games for the Vikings, finishing with 563 yards rushing.
Then in 1992 Allen had an explosive season culminating in setting a Vikings single-season rushing record with 1,201 yards. Other notable accomplishments in 1992 were 13 rushing touchdowns, 33 rushing attempts in a single game (Pittsburgh, 12/20/92, 172 yards), and ranking second in the league in total touchdowns with 15. Allen was on pace to reel in Viking rushing leaders during the 1993 season when deja vu set in.
During training camp in Mankato, Allen ruptured his left anterior cruciate ligament, and another season ended before it even began. In 1994 Allen went to the Washington Redskins because the Vikings were unwilling to take a chance on a player returning from two major knee injuries. At the time it looked like a good move. The Vikings play on artificial turf, and many skeptics agreed that Allen would not be able to sustain the rigors of playing on such a field.
In 1992, Tony Dungy had already spent the majority of his life on a football field, as player and coach. He was an old man in football terms but a very wily and crafty veteran of football knowledge. On October 4 at the Metrodome, Mike Ditka, another crafty veteran player turned coach, brought his hated Chicago Bears team to Minneapolis to battle in a game that left fans, coaches and players completely exhausted and with severe cases of laryngitis.
In the second half with the Bears leading 20-0, it seemed as if Dungy’s defense was no match for the Bears. The Vikings’ Todd Scott decided to bait Bears quarterback Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh audibled, and Scott picked off the pass and ran it back for a touchdown. Ditka was beside himself. The Vikings went on to rally to win 21-20 in the loudest game I have ever witnessed at the Metrodome.