Start date 1971
General manager Jim Finks
|Division place 1st NFC Central|
Head coach Bud Grant
Home field Metropolitan Stadium
|Playoff finish Lost Divisional Playoffs (Cowboys) 20–12|
Similar 1969 Minnesota Vikings s, 1971 Kansas City Chief, 1971 New Orleans Saints se
The 1971 Minnesota Vikings season was the franchise's 11th season in the National Football League. The Vikings won the NFC Central title as they finished with a record of 11 wins and three losses, before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys at home, 20–12, in the NFC Divisional Playoff game.
In 2007, ESPN.com ranked the 1971 Vikings as the fourth-greatest defense in NFL history, saying, "[c]onsidering that their motto was 'Meet at the quarterback,' it's no surprise that the [Purple People] Eaters held opposing QBs to a 40.4 rating, one of the lowest ever." ESPN also noted that the 1971 Vikings "shut out three opponents, and only one team scored more than 20 points against them. As a result, Alan Page became the first defensive player to ever be named NFL MVP. Carl Eller, Jim Marshall and safety Paul Krause joined Page on the All-Pro team."
1971 Draft^[a] Minnesota traded their 2nd round selection (50th overall), 6th round selection (154th overall), 1972 3rd round selection (76th overall), and OL Steve Smith to Philadelphia for QB Norm Snead. ^[b] Minnesota traded their 5th round selection (128th overall) to Pittsburg for QB Kent Nix. ^[c] Minnesota originally chose 206th overall but passed allowing Dallas and Baltimore to move up and Minnesota to choose 208th overall. ^[d] Minnesota originally chose 414th overall but moved up to the 413th overall selection when San Francisco passed. ^[e] Minnesota originally chose 440th overall but moved up to the 439th overall selection when Oakland passed on the 435th overall selection and allowed Los Angeles, Detroit, Miami, San Francisco, Minnesota, Dallas, and Baltimore to move up.
Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.