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1981 Minnesota Vikings season

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Record  7–9
Playoff finish  did not qualify
Head coach  Bud Grant
Home field  Metropolitan Stadium
Division place  4th NFC Central
Start date  1981
General manager  Mike Lynn
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The 1981 Minnesota Vikings season was the team's 21st season, the 62nd regular season of the National Football League, and the final season for the team at Metropolitan Stadium. The Vikings finished with a record of seven wins and nine losses, and missed the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.


The Vikings attempted 709 passes in 1981 (44.31 per game) a league record that stood for 30 years until it was broken by the 2012 Detroit Lions.

1981 Draft

^[a] Baltimore traded two 2nd round selections (39th and 52nd overall) and their 5th round selection (123rd overall) to Minnesota to move up 21 spots to the 18th overall selection and draft DE Donnell Thompson. ^[b] Minnesota traded their 3rd round selection (71st overall) and 5th round selection (128th overall) to New Orleans for OT Steve Riley. ^[c] New England traded their 3rd round selection (74th overall) to Minnesota for RB Chuck Foreman. ^[d] Minnesota traded their 6th round selection (154th overall) and 1982 5th round selection (120th overall) to Miami for OL Jim Langer. ^[e] Minnesota traded their 9th round selection (236th overall) to Seattle for OT Nick Bebout.

Regular Season

After opening the season with back-to-back losses, the Vikings ran off five straight wins and sat near the top of the NFC at midseason. After splitting their next four games, the Vikings were 7–4 and poised for a playoff run—however, the Vikings would lose their last five games to close out the year.

The Vikings were led by quarterback Tommy Kramer, who enjoyed the most productive season of his career by throwing for 3,912 yards and 26 touchdowns. However, Kramer also threw 24 interceptions in 1981. The '81 Vikings set an NFL record for pass attempts with 709.

A trio of offensive standouts paced the Vikings in 1981 at the skill positions. Running back Ted Brown was the team's main ballcarrier, rushing for 1,063 yards and also came in third in the NFL with 83 pass receptions. He scored eight touchdowns. Veteran wide receiver Sammy White also eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark for the first time in his career (1,001) and tight end Joe Senser, who would later become a color analyst on radio for the Vikings, logged 1,004 yards receiving with eight touchdowns; Senser went to the Pro Bowl for the '81 season.

Team leaders

  • Vikings single season record although tackles were not official until 2001.
  • References

    1981 Minnesota Vikings season Wikipedia

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