Ranking the Best Quarterbacks in Minnesota Vikings History

The Minnesota Vikings have been one of the most competitive teams in the NFL since they joined the league in 1961. They’ve been to four Super Bowls since that time and have had some great field generals over the years.

Here is a look at the best quarterbacks in Minnesota Vikings history. When determining these rankings, only the players’ time with the Vikings franchise is considered. We also looked at dominance, longevity and the players’ contributions to the team’s success.

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4. Kirk Cousins (2018-present)

Cousins came to the Vikings after six seasons with Washington. He threw 30 touchdowns in his first season with Minnesota and a career-high 35 in 2020. He earned Pro Bowl honors in 2019 after leading the Vikings to the playoffs with a quarterback rating of 107.4.

Cousins is confident, brash and has a strong arm. He’s not done adding to his career totals with the Vikings and could climb higher on this list before his career with the team is over.

3. Tommy Kramer (1977-1989)

Tommy Kramer had the unenviable position of taking over as quarterback of the Vikings after the retirement of Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton but the former Rice star went on to carve out his own niche in the history of the franchise.

Kramer led the Vikings to the playoffs five different times in his career. He earned Pro Bowl honors in 1986 and threw a career high 26 touchdowns in 1981. 

He helped the Vikings clinch a playoff berth in dramatic fashion in 1980, throwing a last second touchdown pass to Ahmad Rashad to beat the Browns on the final play of the game.

After he retired, Kramer was named as one of the 50 Greatest Vikings of all time.

2. Duante Culpepper (1999-2004)

Duante Culpepper had size, athleticism and a great arm. His career was off to a great start and he was selected to three Pro Bowls during his seven seasons with the Vikings. 

Culpepper led the NFL in touchdown passes in 2000 with 33 and led the league in yards passing in 2004 with 4,717. That year he also threw a career-high 39 touchdown passes. 

Unfortunately, Culpepper suffered a serious knee injury in 2005 and he demanded a trade from the Vikings after some off the field trouble that year.

Culpepper was supremely talented and had he not suffered that knee injury he could have gone on to become one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. He remains one of the best signal callers the Vikings ever had. 

1. Fran Tarkenton (1961-66, 1972-78)

Fran Tarkenton had a unique style that was perfectly suited to the Vikings when they first entered the league as an expansion team in 1961. His ability to run away from pressure and scramble was derided by purists, but by the time he retired, Tarkenton was the NFL’s all-time leader in yards and touchdown passes.

Tarkenton went to five Pro Bowls with the Vikings and led them to the Super Bowl three times although they were unable to win any of those games.

He led the NFL in touchdown passes in 1975 and was named the league MVP that season.

Tarkenton was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986 and went on to a successful television and business career after he retired from football. 

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