Vikings all-time tournament: Cunningham, 1998 team clinches Skol Bowl title
The high-flying 1998 Minnesota Vikings offense put on a show on the all-time tournament’s biggest stage.
Randall Cunningham, Randy Moss, Cris Carter and the rest of the 1998 team have been crowned Skol Bowl champions after routing the 2017 squad 41-22.
After a quiet first quarter, Cunningham and company went off in the second. A 31-yard rush by Leroy Hoard set up David Palmer’s six-yard score to grab a 10-3 lead for the ’98 Vikings. Following Kai Forbath’s missed 41-yard field-goal attempt, Cunningham found Carter down the sideline for a 54-yard touchdown and a 17-3 advantage with under two minutes to play in the first half.
The ’17 Vikings were never able to trim it to a one-possession game after that.
’98 Minnesota added another touchdown — a four-yard reception by Hoard — before the half was over and walked into the break clinging to a 24-6 lead.
Satisfied with the big lead, head coach Dennis Green let running back Robert Smith take over in the second half. Smith carried the ball 17 times for a game-high 105 yards and a score, which made it 34-9 early in the fourth quarter.
The rout was on.
Hoard scored again in the fourth quarter, this time on a two-yard rush, to put the ’17 Vikings away.
For the most part, cornerback Xavier Rhodes and the ’17 defensive unit was able to keep Moss in check. The rookie standout caught two passes for 38 yards. Cunningham favored Carter in the Skol Bowl, connecting on four receptions for 88 yards — none bigger than the 54-yard score in the second quarter.
The ’17 offense was led by a couple of surprising characters. Running back Jerick McKinnon logged 10 carries for a team-high 89 yards, and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell hauled in two catches for 53 yards.
Quarterback Case Keenum threw for 211 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 18-of-25 passing. He was outdueled by Cunningham, who was more than efficient once again with 190 yards, two touchdowns and no picks on 10-of-17 passing.
Here’s a final look at the Vikings all-time tournament bracket:
|98 MIN||4:29||FG||Gary Anderson 41 yds.||0-3|
|17 MIN||13:29||FG||Kai Forbath 28 yds.||3-3|
|98 MIN||9:44||TD||David Palmer 6 yd. run (Anderson kick)||3-10|
|98 MIN||1:50||TD||Cris Carter 54 yd. pass from Cunningham (Anderson kick)||3-17|
|98 MIN||0:39||TD||Leroy Hoard 4 yd. pass from Cunningham (Anderson kick)||3-24|
|17 MIN||0:00||FG||Kai Forbath 27 yds.||6-24|
|17 MIN||11:41||FG||Kai Forbath 21 yds.||9-24|
|98 MIN||7:06||FG||Gary Anderson 35 yds.||9-27|
|98 MIN||13:25||TD||Robert Smith 12 yd. run (Anderson kick)||9-34|
|17 MIN||7:45||TD||Latavius Murray 15 yd. run (Forbath missed extra point)||15-34|
|98 MIN||4:35||TD||Leroy Hoard 2 yd. run (Anderson kick)||15-41|
|17 MIN||1:55||TD||Adam Thielen 7 yd. pass from Keenum (Forbath kick)||22-41|