Super Bowl IV
Kansas City 23, Vikings 7
Jan. 11, 1970 • New Orleans
The Vikings’ first Super Bowl appearance is perhaps best remembered for the words “65 toss power trap” and “matriculate.”
Those words linger because of Kansas City Chiefs coach Hank Stram. A video clip of Stram, the first coach to be wired for sound during a Super Bowl, uttering the words that can be easily found on YouTube.
Pregame publicity had centered on Chiefs QB Len Dawson, whose name had been mentioned in a nationwide gambling probe. But the Chiefs didn’t let that be a distraction.
The Chiefs, led by quarterback Len Dawson’s (above) 142 passing yards, scored points on four of their first five possessions to open a 16-0 lead while the Vikings made critical mistakes on three of their first five possessions.
Super Bowl VIII
Miami 24, Vikings 7
Jan. 13, 1974 • Houston
It was a frustrating week in Houston for the Vikings. While the Dolphins practiced at the Houston Oilers’ facility just a short walk from their hotel, the Vikings practiced at Houston’s Delmar High School, a 20-minute bus ride from their hotel.
Vikings coach Bud Grant criticized the NFL for the cramped, uncarpeted locker room with showers that didn’t work and a practice field with no blocking sleds.
The Dolphins, playing in their third consecutive Super Bowl, became the first team in Super Bowl history to score a touchdown after receiving the game’s opening kickoff. The Dolphins scored again on their second possession to make it 14-0. Their lead eventually grew to 24-0. They rushed for 196 yards — 145 by Super Bowl MVP Larry Csonka (above).
Super Bowl IX
Pittsburgh 16, Vikings 6
Jan. 12, 1975 • New Orleans
A game-time temperature of 46 degrees — the second-coldest outdoor Super Bowl in history — and a slick field from overnight rain greeted the Vikings, playing in their third Super Bowl, and the Steelers, who were playing in their first.
The game was a matchup of arguably the best defenses in the NFL. Defense dominated the first half as the only points were a safety by the Steelers — the first safety in Super Bowl history — when Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton was trapped in the end zone.
The Steelers defense limited the Vikings to Super Bowl-record lows of nine first downs, 119 yards of offense and 21 rushing yards. Offensively, running back Franco Harris (above), the game’s MVP, rushed for 158 yards on 34 carries for the Steelers.
Super Bowl XI
Oakland 32, Vikings 14
Jan. 9, 1977 • Pasadena, Calif.
This was the earliest Super Bowl by date and the last one to finish in daylight, but the Vikings’ overall experience was the same as their first three appearances.
In front of a Super Bowl-record crowd of 103,424, the Raiders set Super Bowl records with 266 rushing yards and 429 yards of offense in the highest-scoring game in the 11-year history of the event.
For the Vikings, playing in their third Super Bowl in four years, it was the widest margin of defeat in their four Super Bowl losses. The Vikings finished with three turnovers. In their four Super Bowl losses, the Vikings were minus-12 in turnovers — committing 15 turnovers while forcing only three.
Written by Joel Rippel • Associated Press photos