Professional football in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area (the "Twin Cities") began with the Minneapolis Marines/Red Jackets, an NFL team that played intermittently in the 1920s and 1930s. However, a new professional team in the area did not surface again until August 1959, when Minnesota businessmen Bill Boyer, H.P. Skoglund, and Max Winter were awarded a franchise in the new American Football League (AFL). Five months later, in January 1960, after significant pressure from the NFL, the ownership group, along with Bernard H. Ridder Jr., reneged on its agreement with the AFL and then was awarded the National Football League's 14th franchise, with play to begin in 1961. Ole Haugsrud was added to the NFL team ownership because, in the 1920s, when he sold his Duluth Eskimos team back to the league, the agreement allowed him 10 percent of any future Minnesota team. The teams from Ole Haugsrud's high school, Central High School in Superior, Wisconsin, were also called the Vikings and had a similar purple-and-yellow color scheme.
From the team's first season in 1961 to 1981, the team called Metropolitan Stadium in suburban Bloomington home. The Vikings conducted summer training camp at Bemidji State University from 1961 to 1965. In 1966, the team moved to their training camp to Minnesota State University in Mankato. The training camp at Minnesota State was one of the longest continuously running training camp events in the NFL and is remembered as part of the golden era history of the team. The Vikings played their home games at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis from 1982 to 2013. The Vikings played their last game at the Metrodome on December 29, 2013, defeating the Detroit Lions 14–13 to end the season.
Since the team's first season in 1961, the Vikings have had one of the highest winning percentages in the NFL. As of 2019, they have won at least three games in every season except in 1962, and are one of only seven NFL teams to win at least 15 games in a regular season. The Vikings have won one NFL Championship, in 1969, before the league's merger with the American Football League (AFL) in 1970. Since the merger, the team has qualified for the playoffs 28 times, third-most in the league (trailing only the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers). The team played in Super Bowls IV, VIII, IX and XI, but failed to win any of them. In addition, they have lost in their last six NFC Championship Game appearances, stretching back to 1978. The Vikings have 15 members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.