As the Minnesota Vikings put the final touches on their pre-training camp planning for a future filled with high expectations, their history will be front and center on NFL Network this fall.
The franchise will be featured in two of the five episodes in a miniseries entitled "Missing Rings," according to the Houston Chronicle. An NFL Network spokesperson said the station is not confirming that yet and two Vikings officials did not know of the network's plans regarding the "Missing Rings" series. It will reportedly air on Thursdays this fall.
According to the Chronicle, the franchise's 1969 and 1998 teams will be featured in separate shows.
The Vikings' 1969 team, the squad that some Vikings historians consider the best accumulation of talent the Vikings have ever put together, will be relived on its way to a 23-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl IV. Clips from that Super Bowl loss are replayed often as it features some of the first Super Bowl sound when former Chiefs coach Hank Stram was wired up by NFL Films.
That Vikings team featured Pro Bowlers Joe Kapp at quarterback, Gene Washington at wide receiver, Mick Tingelhoff at center, Carl Eller and Jim Marshall at defensive end, Gary Larsen and Alan Page at defensive tackle and Paul Krause at safety.
"What is great about those shows is the Shakespearean arc, which makes them even more dramatic, emotional and compelling," NFL Films president Steve Sabol told the Chronicle. "You introduce these people and build them up, and they're the heroes, and yet the audience knows that, geez, they're going to die in the end."
The 1969 Vikings went 12-2 during the regular season and posted wins of 23-20 over the Los Angeles Rams and 27-7 over the Cleveland Browns in the playoffs before the Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs. It would turn out to be the first of four Super Bowl losses for the Vikings.
The "Lost Rings" episode features five teams that never won the Super Bowl, but the Vikings are the only franchise to be featured twice.
The 1998 Vikings steamroller team that was shocked in the NFC Championship Game is the second one to be featured.
That team went 15-1 and scored 556 points in the regular season, which was a league record at the time. With names like Randall Cunningham, Robert Smith, Cris Carter and Randy Moss, it's no small wonder that team had such an explosive offense.
Moss, in his rookie season at the time, burst onto the scene for 1,313 yards receiving and 17 touchdowns. Carter had 1,011 catches and 12 touchdowns receiving. Smith had 1,187 yards rushing and six touchdowns while Leroy Hoard took care of the short-yardage duties with nine touchdowns.
The 1998 team featured Pro Bowlers like Carter, Moss, Smith and Cunningham, along with kicker Gary Anderson, center Jeff Christy, guard Randall McDaniel, linebacker Ed McDaniel, defensive tackle John Randle and tackle Todd Steussie.
The Missing Rings series is expected to be one of three new series by NFL Network this fall. According to the Chronicle report, Starting 11 will feature "11 points of interest for the coming week, such as strangest play, biggest blooper or greatest catch." Sounds of the Game will mix sideline sounds from players miked up with classic sound from the vaults of NFL Films.
According to the Chronicle, the other three episodes of Missing Rings features the Bills team that lost Super Bowl XXV to the Giants, the Bengals team that lost Super Bowl XXIII to the San Francisco 49ers in the final minutes, and Don Coryell's 1981 Chargers team that lost in the AFC Championship to the Bengals in minus-59 wind chill.
Randy Moss, Cris Carter and Jake Reed, the "Three Deep" crew from 1998.
NFL Films to Feature Vikings' Past Heartaches
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