If you are looking for thought-out, insightful analysis from the Zone Coverage Vikings staff on Sunday’s game, you are in the wrong place.
Find it here.
While the Zone Coverage Vikings team was talking out some article ideas, it was our basketball guy (Tim Faklis) who sarcastically said write something on uniforms and how shiny they are. Then there was me — hockey guy and critic of all sports uniforms — pitching the idea to boss Tom Schreier about doing a write up on the uniform history of the Saints-Vikings matchup.
Tom reluctantly agreed to my idea, knowing that there was no stopping my uniform article idea once the thought entered my head. Even in the finishing stages of this article, Tom could not believe I wrote this much on uniforms.
Anyway, enough about Tom.
So while we all wait for the matchup on Sunday, let’s clear our heads of the X’s & O’s for a few minutes and look at the best topic of them all — the uniforms, and their history in this particular matchup.
1987 NFC Wild Card Round – Jan. 3, 1988 – Louisiana Superdome
Minnesota Vikings 44, New Orleans Saints 10
It was the first playoff appearance in the history of the Saints — who had a 12-3 record and won nine consecutive games heading into the playoffs — and oh boy, was it a forgettable one. New Orleans took a 7-0 lead, but then the Jerry Burns-led Vikings steamrolled the rest of the way.
Anthony Carter somehow turned an awkward looking catch into a punt return for a touchdown (see below), and something called Wade Wilson — who relieved Tommy Kramer — tossed two touchdowns in the rout. The Vikings went on to upset the powerhouse 49ers in the next week before the first of four soul-crushing defeats in the NFC title game.
If nothing more, watch the video of this game for nostalgia’s sake as Pat Summerall and John Madden have the call.
From a jersey standpoint, the Vikings are using the same look that they pretty much had since they entered the league in 1961. While their home uniforms underwent some modifications over the years, the road uniform Minnesota dons in this game went relatively untouched from 1961 to the major rebrand in 2006.
New Orleans, on the other hand, had just made some modifications to their uniforms two years previously. Gone were the stripes on the sleeves — an incredibly solid look — in favor of the Louisiana patch with the fleur de lis and a star denoting New Orleans. Also gone were the white and black pants as the Saints decided to go with gold for both home and road games.
2000 NFC Divisional Round – Jan. 6, 2001 – H.H.H. Metrodome
Minnesota Vikings 34, New Orleans Saints 16
If it had not been for an Az-Zahir Hakim muffed punt in the Superdome the week before, the Vikings are matched up with the Eagles in the Divisional Round. But the Saints downed ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’ (Rams) for the first playoff win in franchise history.
Think about that for a minute and play revisionist history. St. Louis beats New Orleans and goes to New York instead of Philadelphia. The Rams upset the Giants, because they just weren’t that good, and the Vikings take care of business at home against the Eagles to host St. Louis in the title game.
I’m not saying the Vikings win and go to the Super Bowl, but anything is possible. Certainly would have been a better outcome in the title game.
A rested Vikings team led by second-year quarterback Daunte Culpepper aired it out and torched the Saints secondary early and often. Randy Moss and Cris Carter each had 120 receiving yards and a touchdown. Moss ended up with two TDs, both of which came over 50 yards as we all remember him doing so well.
Minnesota won with relative ease, and had a matchup with the Giants in the Meadowlands the following weekend.
That great Vikings passing attack was…uh…held scoreless the following week, in case you forgot about that.
Jersey-wise, there’s little change for New Orleans since the last playoff matchup. The home uniforms underwent a minor change of replacing the white letters/numbers with gold. Socks went all black, too, but otherwise, this is the same look for New Orleans.
Minnesota touched up the home jerseys in 1996. Replacing the double white stripes on the sleeves was a single white stripe outlined in gold. This paved the way for the addition of the Norseman’s head on the sleeve — which was placed on the road jersey as well — for the first time since the team’s inception.
2009 NFC Championship Game – Jan. 24, 2010 – Louisiana Superdome
New Orleans Saints 31, Minnesota Vikings 28
Death, taxes, painful Vikings defeats in the NFC title game.
Lost in the memory of Brett Favre throwing across his body in the fourth quarter’s final seconds is the fact Adrian Peterson fumbled the ball every three touches* in this game. Minnesota had six turnovers in this football game, and had it not been for the last one they would have gone on to Miami for the Super Bowl.
*number may be exaggerated
Oh well, maybe next time. But hey, Sean Payton sitting out all of 2012 for his role in the bounty program made it better, right?
Three years previous, the Vikings went a major rebrand of their uniforms. Helmets, jerseys, and pants all underwent significant changes as the old traditional look is done away with. The horn on the helmet is made more “realistic” and horns are added to the shoulders of the jerseys and on the side of the pants. Also introduced was the script ‘Vikings’ above the numbers on the front of the jersey, which may have been the lone nice touch to these uniforms.
Honestly, this was a look they could have done without.
Just a year after the rebrand, Minnesota introduced a throwback jersey to the original days. They kept it around until the Reebok/Nike switch in 2012, but it has not been seen from since. Maybe someday, that throwback will make a return.
There were no big changes to New Orleans from the previous playoff matchup. They re-introduced the black pants as an alternate look in 2006 and have kept it around ever since.
2017 NFC Divisional Round – Jan. 14, 2018 – U.S. Bank Stadium
New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota has a chance Sunday to be the first team in NFL history to advance to the conference championship in the same year they host the Super Bowl. But as Arif points out, the Saints pose the biggest threat to the Vikings getting there.
But I’ll leave the analysis to him.
It’s also worth noting that the Vikings defeated the Saints on opening weekend this year, 29-19. But there have been a few changes in New Orleans since then.
As for the uniforms, not much of a change for New Orleans again. The only noticeable difference is the collars when Reebok switched to Nike in 2012.
The Vikings underwent a much-needed uniform overhaul prior to the 2013 season. They went back to basics, and went with a much cleaner look over the unnecessary uniforms they had previously under Reebok.
This sounds familiar to hockey folk like me.
You may also notice the helmets changed to a matte finish with the horn getting a slight touch up. Very good look for the Vikings, who will try to take those good uniform looks into the NFC title game next week.
Graphics in this post via gridiron-uniforms.com