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An illustrious list (or not): Vikings starting QBs, 1961-2013

by Mike McFeely

Things started so positively. The Minnesota Vikings' first starting quarterback was Fran Tarkenton. Yes, there was the trade to the New York Giants and the return to Minnesota, but the Vikings' first starting quarterback was the starter for 13 seasons and led the team to three Super Bowls. Tarkenton is in the Hall of Fame and remains one of the great QBs in NFL history.

After that, not so much. There have been attempts, some longer than others, at establishing franchise quarterbacks. Tommy Kramer, Daunte Culpepper and Christian Ponder. 

 Fran Tarketon

But mostly, the Vikings have plugged the QB hole with rental players, cast-offs and former superstars at the end of their careers. Sometimes the latter strategy has worked (Randall Cunningham, Brett Favre), sometimes it has not (Jim McMahon, Donovan McNabb).

Now the Vikings appear to have given up on Ponder. They signed free agent Josh Freeman, who has put up good numbers in his career but was cast aside by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because the coach didn't like him, he throws too many interceptions and there are character questions.

 Brett Favre

It is presumed Freeman will start Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

How will he do? Odds are stacked against him. But after watching Ponder and Matt Cassel lead the team to a 1-3 start following a 10-6 playoff season, fans might be willing to give Freeman some latitude ... and than start speculating on who the team will draft in the first round next April.

 Spergon Wynn

Here is a list of every starting quarterback in Vikings history. The numbers in parentheses indicate how many games that QB started that season:

1961 -- Fran Tarkenton (10) / George Shaw (4)

1962 -- Fran Tarkenton (14)

1963 -- Fran Tarkenton (13) / Ron Vander Kelen (1)

1964 -- Fran Tarkenton (14)

1965 -- Fran Tarkenton (14)

1966 -- Fran Tarkenton (12) / Bob Berry (1) / Ron Vander Kelen (1)

1967 -- Joe Kapp (11) / Ron Vander Kelen (3)

1968 -- Joe Kapp (14)

1969 -- Joe Kapp (13) / Gary Cuozzo (1)

1970 -- Gary Cuozzo (12) / Bob Lee (2)

1971 -- Gary Cuozzo (8) / Bob Lee (4) / Norm Snead (2)

1972 -- Fran Tarkenton (14)

1973 -- Fran Tarkenton (14)

1974 -- Fran Tarkenton (13) / Bob Berry (1)

1975 -- Fran Tarkenton (14)

1976 -- Fran Tarkenton (13) / Bob Lee (1)

1977 -- Fran Tarkenton (9) / Bob Lee (4) / Tommy Kramer (1)

1978 -- Fran Tarkenton (16)

1979 -- Tommy Kramer (16)

1980 -- Tommy Kramer (15) / Steve Dils (1)

1981 -- Tommy Kramer (14) / Steve Dils (2)

1982 -- Tommy Kramer (9)

1983 -- Steve Dils (12) / Tommy Kramer (3) / Wade Wilson (1)

1984 -- Tommy Kramer (9) / Wade Wilson (5) / Archie Manning (2)

1985 -- Tommy Kramer (15) / Wade Wilson (1)

1986 -- Tommy Kramer (13) / Wade Wilson (3)

1987 -- Wade Wilson (7) / Tommy Kramer (5) / Tony Adams (3)

1988 -- Wade Wilson (10) / Tommy Kramer (6)

1989 -- Wade Wilson (12) / Tommy Kramer (4)

1990 -- Rich Gannon (12) / Wade Wilson (4)

1991 -- Rich Gannon (11) / Wade Wilson (5)

1992 -- Rich Gannon (12) / Sean Salisbury (4)

1993 -- Jim McMahon (12) / Sean Salisbury (4)

1994 -- Warren Moon (15) / Sean Salisbury (1)

1995 -- Warren Moon (16)

1996 -- Warren Moon (8) / Brad Johnson (8)

1997 -- Brad Johnson (13) / Randall Cunningham (3)

1998 -- Randall Cunningham (14) / Brad Johnson (2)

1999 -- Jeff George (10) / Randall Cunningham (6)

2000 -- Daunte Culpepper (16)

2001 -- Daunte Culpepper (11) / Todd Bouman (3) / Spergon Wynn (2)

2002 -- Daunte Culpepper (16)

2003 -- Daunte Culpepper (14) / Gus Frerotte (2)

2004 -- Daunte Culpepper (16)

2005 -- Daunte Culpepper (7) / Brad Johnson (9)

2006 -- Brad Johnson (14) / Tarvaris Jackson (2)

2007 -- Tarvaris Jackson (12) / Kelly Holcomb (3) / Brooks Bollinger (1)

2008 -- Gus Frerotte (11) / Tarvaris Jackson (5)

2009 -- Brett Favre (16)

2010 -- Brett Favre (13) / Tarvaris Jackson (1) / Joe Webb (2)

2011 -- Donovan McNabb (6) / Christian Ponder (10)

2012 -- Christian Ponder (16)

2013 -- Christian Ponder (3) / Matt Cassel (1)

(Mike McFeely is a talk-show host on KFGO-AM in Fargo, N.D. He can be reached at mike.mcfeely@mwcradio.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcFeelyKFGO.)