Team Spirit author Mark Stewart talks about the OVERTIME web page.

Mark picks his favorite Vikings

What’s new with the Minnesota Vikings? That’s what this page is all about.

The Team Spirit OVERTIME website begins where the Team Spirit books end.

That’s because football never stands still … And I can never squeeze everything I want into 48 pages!

Scroll down for team updates, player profiles, and stats you won’t find in the book. Click on the videos to the left to hear me talk about Team Spirit OVERTIME as well as my favorite players. And take a look below at some of the Vikings collectibles I have in my home—pretty cool, right?

Enjoy this site, check back whenever you like, and contact me with any questions or comments.

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2022 Season

2022 Season Roundup: Most NFL teams are happy to win more than half of the close games they play. In 2022, the Vikings played 11 close games and won them all. They finished 13–3 despite giving up more points than they scored. Their strange success ended in the playoffs against the Giants in their 12th close game of the year, 31–24. Kirk Cousins was sensational at quarterback and his favorite target, Justin Jefferson, caught 128 passes for 1,809 yards. Linebackers Eric Kendricks and Za’Darius Smith led a defense that made big plays again and again with the game on the line.

December 17, 2022: The Vikings pulled off the biggest comeback in NFL history when they erased a 33–0 halftime lead by the Colts and won 39–36 in overtime. Kirk Cousins threw for 417 yards in the second half—the most ever in the final two periods of a game.

November 25, 2022: Justin Jefferson set a new record for most receiving yards in his first three seasons, with 4,248. He broke the mark set by another Viking, Randy Moss.

2022 Season Preview: Any team with Kirk Cousins at quarterback, Devin Cook at running back, and Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen as receivers has a chance to put a lot of points on the scoreboard. The defense will need to keep points off the board, and that could be a problem. The Vikings gave up way too many passing yards last year and it is hard to say if their defense has gotten much better.

2021 Season

2021 Season Roundup: The Minnesota offense had plenty of talent and scored a lot of points, but the team never managed to play much more than .500 ball. Kirk Cousins had a nice year at quarterback, Dalvin Cook ran for 1,000 yards for the third time in a row, and receivers Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson teamed up to catch 175 passes and score 20 touchdowns. The defense was another story. The Vikings gave up 426 points, including 30 or more six times. Close losses to the Bengals, Ravens, Cardinals, and Cowboys prevented them from making the playoff run Minnesota fans were hoping for.

December 26, 2021—Justin Jefferson caught a short pass from Kirk Cousins to set a new record for the most receiving yards by a player in his first two seasons. He broke the record of 2,755, held by Odell Beckham, Jr.

2021 Season Preview: The winning formula in Minnesota is a dynamic ground attack plus a rugged defense. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done in the NFC North. While Dalvin Cook is a special running back and the defense has improved its pass coverage, a lot of responsibility will fall to veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins in 2021. Can he repeat his Pro Bowl season of 2019? He will have to for the Vikings to challenge the Packers for the division crown.

2020 Season

2020 Season Roundup: A slow start and poor finish prevented the Vikings from making the playoffs. Kirk Cousins threw for over 4,000 yards and 33 touchdowns, but the defense just gave up too many points. The Vikes were fun to watch when they had the ball—in addition to Cousins, Dalvin Cook ran for over 1,500 yards and scored 17 touchdowns, and rookie receiver Justin Jefferson had a monster year with 88 catches and 1,400 yards.

January 3, 2021: Justin Jefferson caught nine passes in the season’s final game to set a new rookie record for receiving yards, with 1,400. The record had belonged to Anquan Boldin with 1,377.

November 11, 2020: Running back Dalvin Cook was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for the second week in a row. He scored 6 touchdowns and had 478 rushing and receiving yards in the two games.

2020 Season Preview: There are a lot of new faces in new places for the Vikings in 2020. That might work against the team early in the season, but if the players come together in the second half, Minnesota could surprise a lot of experts. Kirk Cousins is a solid quarterback and Dalvin Cook is a talented running back. Receiver Adam Thielen is looking forward to a healthy season after struggling with injuries in 2019. Linebacker Eric Kendricks leads the defense.

2019 Season

2019 Season Roundup: The Vikings made the playoffs with a 10–6 record and won a wild overtime battle against the Saints in the Wild Card game. They lost a week later to the Super Bowl-bound 49ers. Kirk Cousins was picked for the Pro Bowl after throwing for 26 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. Running back Dalvin Cook joined him after his first 1,000-yard season. Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter, and Harrison Smith led a defense that allowed only 303 points in 16 games, the fifth-best mark in the league.

2019 Season Preview: Kirk Cousins had a good year in his first season with Minnesota, and made stars out of young receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. New players on the offensive line should improve the run- and pass-blocking. The Vikings defense will count again on excellent pass coverage and an improving pass rush.

2018 Season

2018 Season Roundup: The Vikings missed the playoffs on the last day of the season with a loss on their home field to the Bears. Quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen gave Minnesota an awesome passing attack, and the defense played well most of the year. But the team many picked to reach the Super Bowl had a tough schedule and did recover after an early-season tie with the Packers and loss to the Bills.

October 28, 2018:Receiver Adam Thielen became the first player to begin a season with eight 100-yard games in a row. His 74 catches through eight games were the most ever in the first half of a season.

2018 Season Preview: Kirk Cousins takes charge of the Minnesota offense in 2018 and has fans thinking about taking that final step to the Super Bowl. He will be throwing to a pair of rising stars: Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. The Minnesota defense begins the year as the NFC’s best—if pass defenders Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo stay healthy, the Vikes could be tough to beat.

2017 Season

2017 Season Roundup: The Vikings won 13 games behind quarterback Case Keenum, who stepped in for injured passers Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater and threw for 3,500+ yards and 22 touchdowns. Everson Griffen, Xavier Rhodes, and Harrison Smith led a strong defense. Many experts picked Minnesota to reach the Super Bowl, but the Vikings lost to the Eagles in the NFC title game.

2017 Season Preview: Who is Minnesota’s most talented quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater or Sam Bradford? The quicker the Vikings answer this question, the better off they will be. Whichever it is, he will thank the team for the new free agents on the offensive line—one of the Vikings’ major weaknesses in a disappointing second half last year.

2016 Season

2016 Season Roundup: The Vikings rolled over their first five opponents in 2016 but lost their star player, Adrian Peterson, in the process. They won just three more times to finish 8–8. Quarterback Sam Bradford turned out to be a pleasant surprise filling in for injured Teddy Bridgewater.  He threw 20 touchdown passes and only five interceptions.  Minnesota’s most exciting player was receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, who starred on special teams. The defense was led by pass defenders Harrison Smith and Xavier Rhodes, and linemen Linval Jospeh Everson Griffen.

2016 Season Preview: A training camp injury to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater killed any chance of the Vikings repeating as division champs. However, as long as Adrian Peterson stays healthy, Minnesota has a chance to score every time it has the ball. No defense is tougher than the Vikes, thanks to hard-hitting safety Harrison Smith and run-stoppers Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd.

2015 Season

2015 Season Preview: Young passer Teddy Bridgewater finished 2014 strong, and figures to improve in 2015. He’ll have Adrian Peterson in the backfield all year long, and the Minnesota defense has some good young players. Can they catch the Packers? Probably not.

2014 Season

January 31, 2015: Teddy Bridgewater was named Pepsi rookie of the Year.

January 31, 2015: DeMarco Murray was named Offensive Player of the Year

September 1, 2014: Although all eyes will be on Adrian Peterson this season, opponents cannot afford to ignore the Vikings’ two super receivers, Kyle Rudolph and Cordarrelle Patterson. Two talented quarterbacks—Matt Cassell and Teddy Bridgewater—will probably battle for the starting job all year.

2013 Season

October 27, 2013: Rookie Cordarelle Patterson fielded the opening kickoff by the Green Bay Packers at the back of the end zone and ran 109 yards for a touchdown. It was the longest kickoff return in NFL history.

September 4, 2013: The Vikings made headlines in the off-season by signing Greg Jennings away from the rival Green Bay Packers. He and Adrian Peterson give Minnesota two lethal weapons. Will young quarterback Christian Ponder make good use of them? The answer will likely determine the team’s final record, because the defense is solid at all 11 spots.

2012 Roundup

February 2, 2013: Adrian Peterson was named NFL Offensive Player of the year. He ran for 2,109 yards—just 9 short of the all-time record, held by Eric Dickerson. Peterson was also named NFL MVP. The team completed a remarkable turnaround in 2012 with 10 victories. Their great season ended with a playoff loss to the Packers.

December 30, 2012: Adrian Peterson gained 199 yards in a game against the Green Bay Packers to finish the year with 2,097. Only Eric Dickerson (with 2,105 yards in 1984) has gained more in one season. In the same game, kicker Chris Walsh set a new record with his 10th field goal of 50 yards or more. Walsh did not miss a kick from that distance all year.

Summer, 2012: There is nowhere to go but up for the Vikings in 2012, because in 2011 they did not win a single game in their own division. A fast start is key for the team, which faces a difficult schedule in the second half of the year. Minnesota will go as far as fearless and talented Christian Ponder can take them.

More Go-To Guys

This cartoon poster of Mick Tingelhoff came in packs of 1970 football cards. They weren’t very popular with kids. We liked photos. (Topps, Inc.)

This was Robert Smith’s rookie card. At the time, no one had any idea how good he would be (or that he would change to number 26). (The Upper Deck Co.)

I wrote this book more than 10 years ago, but Daunte Culpepper’s life story is still one of my favorites. We were both adopted and ended up with great families. (Millbrook Press)

  • Bill Brown — Running Back
    Born: 6/29/1938
    Played for Team: 1962 to 1974
    Most running backs run away from tacklers. Bill Brown tried to run over them. He was nicknamed “Boom-Boom” because it often took two big hits to bring him down. Brown was voted to the Pro Bowl four times.

  • Mick Tingelhoff — Offensive Lineman
    Born: 5/22/1940
    Played for Team: 1962 to 1978
    Mick Tingelhoff played center for the Vikings and was the heart of their offensive line for many years. He helped Minnesota play in four championship games and was an All-Pro five times.

  • Tommy Kramer — Quarterback
    Born: 3/7/1955
    Played for Team: 1977 to 1989
    Tommy Kramer watched Fran Tarkenton from the bench for two seasons before taking over as the Vikings’ starting quarterback. He was famous for his fourth-quarter comebacks, but also for the many injuries that kept him from achieving greatness. When Kramer was healthy, however, no one was better. He once threw six TD passes in a game and was the first NFL quarterback to throw for more than 450 yards in a game twice.

  • Robert Smith — Running Back
    Born: 3/4/1972
    Played for Team: 1993 to 2000
    Robert Smith had the power to break through tackles at the line of scrimmage and the speed to reach the end zone once he was in the clear. This combination helped him lead the NFL with 1,521 rushing yards in 2000. A few months later, Smith surprised fans by walking away from football to start a career in health and medicine.

  • Chris Doleman — Defensive Lineman
    Born: 10/16/1961
    Played for Team: 1985 to 1993 & 1999
    On most other teams, Chris Doleman would have been a linebacker. He was very good at keeping opponents from running to the outside. The Vikings moved him to defensive end to get him a couple of steps closer to the quarterback, and he set a team record for sacks.

  • Daunte Culpepper —Quarterback
    Born: 1/28/1977
    Played for Team: 1999 to 2005
    Daunte Culpepper became the team’s starting quarterback in 2000 and led the Vikings to seven straight victories. His strong arm and great running ability made him one of the NFL’s best young passers. In 2004, Culpepper led the NFL with 4,717 passing yards. That season, he also broke the NFL record for combined passing and rushing yards, with 5,123.

More Fun Facts

I’ve had a chance to meet Herschel Walker on several occasions. He’s the size of a bear, but he is one of the nicest, gentlest people you can imagine. (Black Book Partners)

    When the Vikings traded Fran Tarkenton in 1967, they received four draft picks. They used those picks to select Clint Jones, Bob Grim, Ed White, and Ron Yary. Jones led the team in touchdowns in 1970, Grim was an All-Pro in 1971, White played in three Pro Bowls, and Yary was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    The first player ever drafted by the Vikings was Tommy Mason. He led the team in rushing twice and played in three Pro Bowls during his career, but he also had 54 fumbles in six seasons with Minnesota.

    Following Minnesota’s 1991 season, their star running back, Herschel Walker, made the U.S. bobsled team and competed in the 1992 Olympics. He was a member of both the two-man and four-man bobsled squads.

League Leaders

So this was a confusing poster. It shows Fran Tarkenton in a Vikings uniform, but has him playing with the New York Giants. I think the company could have popped for a new photo, right? (Topps, Inc.)

I loved watching Cris Carter catch passes in traffic. He was one of the best. (The Upper Deck Co.)

Doug Martin spent all 10 of his NFL seasons in Minnesota, but his best by far was 1982, his third in the league. (Topps, Inc.)

    2012 — Adrian Peterson — 2,097
    2008 — Adrian Peterson — 1,760
    2015 — Adrian Peterson — 1,485

    2022 — Justin Jefferson — 1,809

    1978 — Fran Tarkenton — 3,468
    2004 — Daunte Culpepper — 4,717

    2009 — Adrian Peterson — 18
    2015 — Adrian Peterson — 11

    1995 — Cris Carter — 17 (tied for NFL lead)
    1997 — Cris Carter — 13
    1998 — Randy Moss — 17
    1999 — Cris Carter — 13
    2000 — Randy Moss — 15

    1975 — Fran Tarkenton — 25 (tied for NFL lead)
    2000 — Daunte Culpepper — 33 (tied for NFL lead)

    1969 — Fred Cox — 121
    1970 — Fred Cox — 125
    1998 — Gary Anderson — 1964

    1992 — Audray McMillan — 8 (tied for NFL lead)
    1995 — Orlando Thomas — 9
    2003 — Brian Russell — 9 (tied for NFL lead)
    2019 — Anthony Harris — 6

    1982 — Doug Martin — 11.5
    1989 — Chris Doleman — 21
    1997 — John Randle — 15.5
    2011 — Jared Allen — 22

Playing for the Championship

1969 NFC Championship Cleveland Browns Won 27–7
1969 Super Bowl IV Kansas City Chiefs Lost 23–7
1973 NFL Championship Dallas Cowboys Won 27–10
1973 Super Bowl VII Miami Dolphins Lost 24–7
1974 NFL Championship Los Angeles Rams Won 14–10
1974 Super Bowl VIII Pittsburgh Steelers Lost 16–6
1976 NFL Championship Los Angeles Rams Won 24–13
1976 Super Bowl XI Oakland Raiders Lost 32–14
1977 NFL Championship Dallas Cowboys Lost 23–6
1987 NFL Championship Washington Redskins Lost 17–10
1998 NFL Championship Atlanta Falcons Lost 30–27 (OT)
2000 NFL Championship New York Giants Lost 41–0
2009 NFL Championship New Orleans Saints Lost 31–28 (OT)

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