With their 34-20 victory over the Detroit Lions this past Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings celebrated the 118th meeting between these two storied franchises in style. The two clubs have been adversaries for almost six decades now, playing their game on November 8th, 1961, a contest which Detroit won 37-10.
However, much like this past Sunday’s game, the overall record of the rivalry is far from close, with the Vikings having a dominant 77-39-2 lead over their older yet inferior opponent. The two ties would both come early on in the contest, with one coming in 1964, and the other in 1967.
In fact, this Minnesota-Detroit conflict has not been close for a long time. The last time the Lions had an overall lead in the matchup in 1971 and have never looked back. That takeover fell smack dab in the middle of the rivalry’s longest winning streak, a 1968-1974 period during which Minnesota won 13 straight games. However, the current streak may just have the legs to outdo its 20th century counterpart, as since 2017, the Vikings have won 6 straight contests, with no signs of slowing up.
If nothing else, this rivalry is a good way through which to view the history of these two legendary franchises. Throughout the time that this friendly struggle has raged, that being when the Vikings were added to the NFL as an expansion team in 1961, Detroit has started 39 quarterbacks, been led by 18 head coaches, and have been owned by one family, the Ford family, that whole time. During that same time, Minnesota has started 41 quarterbacks, been headed by eight head coaches, and gone through five different owners.
However, the most interesting stat is that throughout this 59 year rivalry, neither team has managed to win a Superbowl. Whether that stat is hilarious or depressing is up to you.