Vikings History on Thanksgiving Is Actually Fabulous

Vikings History on Thanksgiving Is Actually Fabulous
Peanut Butter the Turkey. © Kelly Wilkinson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Minnesota Vikings host the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving night, and the team’s Turkey Day track record is actually quite fabulous.

As a three-point favorite over New England, Minnesota hopes to rebound from a nauseating loss four days prior to the Dallas Cowboys. The Vikings lost to Mike McCarthy’s team 40-3, a disturbing box score for any NFL team, especially an 8-2 version at home.

But Vikings history suggests the team should bounce back. The franchise holds a dazzling 6-2 (.750) record on Thanksgiving.

Where Can the 8-1 Vikings Improve?
Oct 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

There’s a tendency to believe that Minnesota probably struggles because of its Super Bowl-less-ness and its historical snakebitten antics, but Turkey Day is not a problem. In fact, Minnesota is one of the top Thanksgiving clubs in NFL history.

This is the Vikings resume on Thanksgiving;

  • 1969: Vikings over Lions, 27-0
  • 1987: Vikings over Cowboys, 44-38
  • 1988: Vikings over Lions, 23-0
  • 1995: Lions over Vikings, 44-38
  • 1998: Vikings over Cowboys, 46-36
  • 2000: Vikings over Cowboys, 27-15
  • 2016: Lions over Vikings, 16-13
  • 2017: Vikings over Lions, 30-23

And of all teams in NFL history that have played at least five games on the holiday, the Vikings .750 win percentage is the third-best of all time:

1. Philadelphia Eagles (6-1) .857
2. Los Angeles Rams (4-1) .800
3. Minnesota Vikings (6-2) .750
t4. Miami Dolphins (5-2) .714
t4. Tennessee Titans (5-2) .714

Oct 10, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; A general view of a Minnesota Vikings fans. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.

The Patriots, too, are decent on Turkey Day, tallying a 3-2 (.600) record since their first appearance in 1984. Unsurprisingly, the losses occurred before the Tom Brady era, while the wins accrued with Brady at QB1.

This year’s game features two teams possibly barrelling toward the postseason. The Vikings have a 99% of reaching the playoffs per FiveThirtyEight, and the Patriots are sitting pretty at 55%. New England has won three straight games since an inexplicable home loss to the Chicago Bears at Gillette Stadium one month ago.

The Vikings will experience a non-Brady brand of the Patriots for the first time since 2000. Incidentally, the last time Minnesota defeated New England was in 2000, the season before Brady rose to power. Minnesota is 0-6 all-time against Brady-led teams and 1-5 versus current Patriots skipper Bill Belichick.

And never forget Randy Moss’ breakout party 24 years ago.

Randy Moss
Randy Moss

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).