The Vikings are playing for the ninth time on Thanksgiving, but Thursday night against New England is the first time they are hosting a game on the holiday. The Vikings are 6-2 in Thanksgiving games; the Patriots are 3-2, but haven't played on the holiday since 2012, the famous "Butt Fumble" game against the Jets.
Nov. 27, 1969: Vikings 27, Lions 0
The game was played in a snowstorm at old Tiger Stadium. "You couldn't even see the other team across the field," running back Dave Osborn told the Star Tribune in 2016, adding, "A miserable game to play, but a fun one to win." The game is famous for Jim Marshall's fourth-quarter interception, which he returned 30 yards before pitching it to Alan Page, who ran it in for a touchdown.
Nov. 26, 1987: Vikings 44, Cowboys 38 (OT)
The Vikings survive three rallies by the Cowboys from 14-point deficits, including with six minutes left. Darrin Nelson raced 24 yards to score the winning touchdown 7:51 into overtime, a score set up by Danny White throwing his third interception of the day. The Vikings improved their record to 7-4, which included three losses during the NFL strike when replacement players were used.
Nov. 24, 1988: Vikings 23, Lions 0
It was the Vikings' first shutout in eight years and coach Jerry Burns called it "one of the best defensive games I've seen." The Vikings, who had the NFL's top defense at the time, held the Lions to 60 net yards and three first downs. Detroit averaged 1.8 yards per play and ran only 33 plays. Alfred Anderson scored twice on short runs, and Chuck Nelson kicked three field goals.
Nov. 23, 1995: Lions 44, Vikings 38
"I don't know if I've ever been in a game like this," said Warren Moon, who threw for a season-high 384 yards and three touchdowns. Detroit quarterback Scott Mitchell threw for 410 yards and fourth touchdowns; Herman Moore, Brett Perriman and Johnnie Morton each had more than 100 yards receiving and Barry Sanders rushed for 138. The Vikings had three shots at a last pass into the end zone, but Moon's final 38-yard heave to Cris Carter failed.
Nov. 26, 1998: Vikings 46, Cowboys 36
Randy Moss feasted on the Cowboys in Thanksgiving games. As a rookie, he had touchdowns from 51, 56 and 56 yards as the Vikings improved to 11-1. "He's a blessing from God," quarterback Randall Cunningham said. Moss was the first rookie receiver since Sammy White on Dec. 11, 1976, to have three TD receptions in a game. Moss also set a club mark for rookie receiving yards, his 1,014 surpassing White's 906 in 1976. Moss finished with 1,313 yards, which Justin Jefferson eclipsed in 2020 (1,400 yards).
Nov. 23, 2000: Vikings 27, Cowboys 15
For his next Thanksgiving trick, Moss caught seven passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns in steady rain as the Vikings earned their 10th win of the season. Robert Smith added 148 yards rushing as they turned a 10-9 halftime edge into a comfortable lead with a 17-0 run in the third quarter. "We're starting to get hungry," Daunte Culpepper said. Like the 2022 Vikings, the 2000 team was closing in on the clinching the division title by late November.
Nov. 24, 2016: Lions 16, Vikings 13
Lions cornerback Darius Slay intercepted Sam Bradford with 38 seconds left and returned it 13 yards to the Vikings 20-yard line, leading to Matt Prater's winning field goal moments later. Matthew Stafford rallied the Lions from three points down with five minutes left, starting the tying drive just outside of their 1-yard line. "A heartbreaker like that," Vikings left guard Alex Boone said, "believe me, it hurts."
Nov. 23, 2017: Vikings 30, Lions 23
Slay played a big role the following year too, when the Vikings built a 17-point lead and weathered another Stafford-led comeback. Slay jumped offside on his way to blocking a Kai Forvath field goal attempt with 1:15 left, negating Nevin Lawson's game-tying 77-yard touchdown return. The Vikings scored 20 points in the first half on two touchdown passes from Case Keenum to Kyle Rudolph and a Keenum TD run. The win gave the Vikings a 9-2 record, the same record they would have if they beat the Patriots on Thursday.
Nov. 24, 2022: Vikings 33, Patriots 26:
Sacks from Danielle Hunter and Khyiris Tonga stopped the Patriots' final two drives after the Vikings took the lead for good on Kirk Cousins' third touchdown pass of the game, giving the Vikings a 33-26 win over the Patriots in the first Thanksgiving game they've ever hosted. Adam Thielen caught the winning pass in the fourth quarter after Justin Jefferson and T.J. Hockenson made the other touchdown catches in the first half, which ended with the score tied at 16.