|1964 Minnesota Vikings season|
|Head coach||Norm Van Brocklin|
|General manager||Jim Finks|
|Home field||Metropolitan Stadium|
|Division place||T-2nd NFL Western|
|Playoff finish||Did not qualify|
The 1964 season was the Minnesota Vikings' fourth in the National Football League. Under head coach Norm Van Brocklin, the team finished with an 8–5–1 record for their first winning season and a franchise-best until 1969. They tied with the Green Bay Packers for second place in the Western conference, who gained the berth in the third-place Playoff Bowl in Miami on January 3. The two teams had split their season series, with the road teams winning, but the Packers won the tiebreaker on point differential: the Vikings' victory was by just one point, while Green Bay won by over four touchdowns. In the season opener, the Vikings upset eventual Western champion Baltimore.
To date, this is the only season the Vikings wore white jerseys for their home games. In January 1964, the NFL owners had approved a new rule which allowed home teams to wear the jersey color of their choice.
This was the first season for the forty-man roster, an increase of three.
|Hall of Famer|
- ^[a] The Vikings traded their fourth-round selection (47th overall) to the Chicago Bears in exchange for RB Bill Brown.
- ^[b] The Vikings traded RB Hugh McElhenny to the New York Giants in exchange for the Giants' fourth-round selection (53rd overall) and 1965 second-round selection (15th overall).
- ^[c] The Vikings traded their 10th-round selection (131st overall) to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for RB Tommy Wilson.
|1||August 8||New York Giants||W 21–7||1–0||Metropolitan Stadium||31,581|
|2||August 15||St. Louis Cardinals||W 24–10||2–0||Cheney Stadium (Atlanta, GA)||10,000|
|3||August 22||San Francisco 49ers||W 24–21||3–0||Ute Stadium (Salt Lake City, UT)||20,207|
|4||August 29||at Los Angeles Rams||W 34–23||4–0||Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum||39,938|
|5||September 5||at Philadelphia Eagles||W 21–20||5–0||Hershey Stadium (Hershey, PA)||9,212|
|1||September 13||Baltimore Colts||W 34–24||1–0||Metropolitan Stadium||35,563^|
|2||September 20||Chicago Bears||L 7–28||1–1||Metropolitan Stadium||41,387|
|3||September 27||at Los Angeles Rams||L 13–22||1–2||Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum||50,009|
|4||October 4||at Green Bay Packers||W 24–23||2–2||City Stadium||42,327|
|5||October 11||Detroit Lions||L 20–24||2–3||Metropolitan Stadium||40,840|
|6||October 18||Pittsburgh Steelers||W 30–10||3–3||Metropolitan Stadium||39,873|
|7||October 25||at San Francisco 49ers||W 27–22||4–3||Kezar Stadium||31,845|
|8||November 1||Green Bay Packers||L 13–42||4–4||Metropolitan Stadium||44,278*|
|9||November 8||San Francisco 49ers||W 24–7||5–4||Metropolitan Stadium||40,408|
|10||November 15||at Baltimore Colts||L 14–17||5–5||Memorial Stadium||60,213|
|11||November 22||at Detroit Lions||T 23–23||5–5–1||Tiger Stadium||48,291|
|12||November 29||Los Angeles Rams||W 34–13||6–5–1||Metropolitan Stadium||31,677|
|13||December 6||at New York Giants||W 30–21||7–5–1||Yankee Stadium||62,802|
|14||December 13||at Chicago Bears||W 41–14||8–5–1||Wrigley Field||46,486|
- ^ Opening day attendance record at Metropolitan Stadium
- * Single game attendance record at Metropolitan Stadium
Week 7: vs. San Francisco 49ers
The Vikings defeated the 49ers 27–22 on October 25 in San Francisco at Kezar Stadium, but not before defensive end Jim Marshall made one of the most embarrassing errors in NFL history. In the fourth quarter, 49er halfback Billy Kilmer caught a pass from rookie quarterback George Mira and fumbled the ball forward, which was scooped up in stride by Marshall. He unknowingly ran 66 yards with it the wrong way into his own end zone; thinking he scored a touchdown, he tossed the ball in the air throwing it out of bounds, resulting in a safety. The Vikings had a 27–17 lead at the time, and it narrowed the gap to eight points.
On the previous possession, Marshall had forced a Mira fumble in the collapsing pocket and defensive end Carl Eller had scooped up the loose ball and ran it back 45 yards for a touchdown. Just before that, Viking linebacker Roy Winston had intercepted a Mira pass early in the fourth quarter and returned it to the 49er eleven-yard line, setting up a touchdown run by quarterback Fran Tarkenton to take the lead. Two weeks later in Minnesota, the Vikings defeated the 49ers again, by a score of 24–7.
- YouTube – NFL Films – Jim Marshall's Wrong Way Run
|NFL Western Conference|
|Green Bay Packers[a]||8||5||1||.615||6–5–1||342||245||T1|
|Los Angeles Rams||5||7||2||.417||3–7–2||283||339||T1|
|San Francisco 49ers||4||10||0||.286||3–9||236||330||L1|
Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.
- Green Bay was awarded the Playoff Bowl berth from the Western Conference by outscoring Minnesota 65–37 in their two meetings.
|Passing yards||Fran Tarkenton||2,506|
|Passing touchdowns||Fran Tarkenton||22|
|Rushing yards||Bill Brown||866|
|Rushing touchdowns||Bill Brown||7|
|Receiving yards||Bill Brown||703|
|Receiving touchdowns||Bill Brown||9|
|Kickoff return yards||Bill Butler||597|
|Punt return yards||Bill Butler||156|
|Category||Total yards||Yards per game||NFL rank|
(out of 14)
- Lea, Bud (December 14, 1964). "Packers tie Rams, gain bowl berth". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 5, part 2.
- "NFL keeps ties same, ups rosters". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. January 29, 1964. p. 3, part 2.
- "Marshall runs 60 yards - backwards". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. October 26, 1964. p. 4B.
- "Wrong way run shakes up coach". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. October 26, 1964. p. 4, part 2.
- "Wrong way run as Vikes edge 49ers". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. October 26, 1964. p. 3, part 2.
- "Viking opportunists rout 49ers by 27-22". Lodi News-Sentinel. (California). UPI. October 26, 1964. p. 12.
- "Tarkenton fires 3 TDs in Vike win". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. November 8, 1964. p. 5, part 2.