1989 Minnesota Vikings season

1989 Minnesota Vikings season
Head coach Jerry Burns
General manager Mike Lynn
Home field Metrodome
Record 10–6
Division place 1st NFC Central
Playoff finish Lost Divisional Playoffs (at 49ers) 13–41

The 1989 Minnesota Vikings season was the franchise's 29th season in the National Football League. The Vikings finished with a record of ten wins and six losses, and winning the NFC Central Division. This title was secured during one of what is considered by many to be among the most exciting Monday Night Football contests ever: a Christmas Day victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at home, at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, which was the de facto first playoff game of the year. This season was also notable by how many sacks the defense produced, with 39 coming from only two players (Chris Doleman and Keith Millard) and 71 overall. Millard would later receive Defensive Player of the Year honors after putting up record numbers by a defensive tackle. The Vikings were once again embarrassed by the defending Super Bowl champion 49ers in the divisional round, losing 41-13.


1989 Draft

Main article: 1989 NFL draft
1989 Minnesota Vikings Draft
Draft order Player name Position College Notes
Round Choice Overall
12424Traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers[a]
22452David BraxtonLinebackerWake Forest
32480John HunterOffensive tackleBrigham Young
424108Darryl IngramTight endCalifornia
524136Pick forfeited during 1988 Supplemental Draft[b]
624163Jeff MickelOffensive tackleEastern Washington
724191Benji RolandDefensive endAuburn
824219Alex StewartDefensive endCal State-Fullerton
924247Traded to the New England Patriots[c]
1024275Traded to the Miami Dolphins[d]
1124303Brad BaxterRunning backAlabama State
1224331Shawn WoodsonLinebackerJames Madison
28335Everett RossWide receiverOhio Statefrom 49ers via Raiders[c]
^[a] Minnesota traded their 1st round selection to Pittsburgh for LB Mike Merriweather.
^[b] Minnesota selected defensive back Ryan Bethea.
^[c] During the 1988 Draft, New England traded their 11th round selection (296th overall) to Minnesota for their 9th round selection in the 1989 draft.
^[d] Minnesota traded their 12th round selection to Miami for OL Greg Koch.
^[e] Minnesota traded their 1990 11th round selection to the Radiers for this selection.



1989 Minnesota Vikings staff
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

  • Offensive Coordinator – Bob Schnelker
  • Assistant Offensive Coordinator/Passing Game – Dick Rehbein
  • Running backs – John Brunner
  • Receivers – Jerry Brown
  • Tight ends – Tom Batta
  • Offensive Line – John Michels
Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

  • Special Teams – Tom Batta


Final roster

1989 Minnesota Vikings final roster

Running backs {{{running_backs}}}

Wide receivers {{{wide_receivers}}}

Tight ends {{{tight_ends}}}

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs {{{defensive_backs}}}

Special teams

Reserve lists

Practice squad

Rookies in italics
51 Active, 1 Inactive, 0 Practice squad

Regular season

The defensive line of Chris Doleman, Keith Millard, Al Noga and Henry Thomas were key contributors in helping the Vikings rank number one in the NFL in total defense. In addition, the Vikings set a franchise record with 71 sacks in one season. Chris Doleman had 21 sacks and was one shy of tying the NFL record.


Week Date Opponent Result Venue Attendance
1 September 10, 1989 Houston Oilers W 38–7 Metrodome
2 September 17, 1989 at Chicago Bears L 38–7 Soldier Field
3 September 24, 1989 at Pittsburgh Steelers L 27–14 Three Rivers Stadium
4 October 1, 1989 Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 17–3 Metrodome
5 October 8, 1989 Detroit Lions W 24–17 Metrodome
6 October 15, 1989 Green Bay Packers W 26–14 Metrodome
7 October 22, 1989 at Detroit Lions W 20–7 Silverdome
8 October 30, 1989 at New York Giants L 24–14 Giants Stadium
9 November 5, 1989 Los Angeles Rams W 23–21 (OT) Metrodome
10 November 12, 1989 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 24–10 Tampa Stadium
11 November 19, 1989 at Philadelphia Eagles L 10–9 Veterans Stadium
12 November 26, 1989 at Green Bay Packers L 20–19 Milwaukee County Stadium
13 December 3, 1989 Chicago Bears W 27–16 Metrodome
14 December 10, 1989 Atlanta Falcons W 43–17 Metrodome
15 December 17, 1989 at Cleveland Browns L 23–17 (OT) Cleveland Stadium
16 December 25, 1989 Cincinnati Bengals W 29–21 Metrodome


Week Date Opponent Result Venue Attendance
Divisional January 6, 1990 at San Francisco 49ers L 41–13 Candlestick Park


NFC Central
Minnesota Vikings(3) 10 6 0 .625 6–2 8–4 362 356 W1
Green Bay Packers 10 6 0 .625 5–3 10–4 351 275 W2
Detroit Lions 7 9 0 .438 4–4 6–6 312 364 W5
Chicago Bears 6 10 0 .375 2–6 4–8 358 377 L6
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5 11 0 .313 3–5 5–7 320 419 L4

Herschel Walker

Main article: Herschel Walker trade

In 1989, at the height of his NFL career, the Cowboys traded him to the Minnesota Vikings for a total of five players (LB Jesse Solomon, DB Issiac Holt, RB Darrin Nelson, LB David Howard, DE Alex Stewart) and six draft picks (which led to Emmitt Smith, Russell Maryland, Kevin Smith, and Darren Woodson). This was judged to be one of the turning points in the rise of the Cowboys to the top echelon of the NFL. Walker's trade was widely perceived as an exceptionally poor move considering what the Vikings had to give up in order to get him, and remains one of the most frequently vilified roster moves of the team's history. The Vikings coaches reluctantly accepted Walker after the trade and never totally used the tool they had been given. Scout.com says, "but Walker was never used properly by the coaching brain trust (a total oxymoron in this case)".[2]


Team leaders

Category Player(s) Value
Passing Yards Wade Wilson 2,543
Passing Touchdowns Wade Wilson 9
Rushing Yards Herschel Walker 669
Rushing Touchdowns Herschel Walker 5
Receiving Yards Anthony Carter 1,066
Receiving Touchdowns Anthony Carter 4
Points Rich Karlis 120
Kickoff Return Yards Herschel Walker 374
Punt Return Yards Leo Lewis 446
Tackles Chris Doleman
Henry Thomas
Sacks Chris Doleman 21.0
Interceptions Joey Browner 5
Forced Fumbles Chris Doleman 5

League rankings

Category Total yards Yards per game NFL rank
(out of 28)
Passing Offense 3,189 Yards 199.3 YPG 17th
Rushing Offense 2,066 Yards 129.1 YPG 7th
Total Offense 5,255 Yards 328.4 YPG 14th
Passing Defense 2,501 Yards 156.3 YPG 1st
Rushing Defense 1,683 Yards 105.2 YPG 11th
Total Defense 4,184 Yards 261.5 YPG 1st

Awards and records



  1. 2010 Minnesota Vikings Media Guide. p. 265. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  2. Viking Update Staff (2001-06-20). "History: Walker Trade". Scout.com. Archived from the original on 10 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 9/9/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.