A Deep Dive on the Vikings’ Original Uniforms
Our latest in-depth look at the uniforms that inspired this season’s NFL throwbacks.
Another week, another deep dive! I’ve previously taken in-depth looks at several NFL uniforms that are being revived this season as throwbacks, including the Bucs’ creamsicles, the Eagles’ Kelly greens, the Seahawks’ blue/silver set, and the Oilers’ uniforms. With the Vikings announcing this week that they’re also adding a retro set, it’s time to take a look at their original uniforms.
But what do we mean by the Vikings’ “original” uniforms? Like many NFL teams, they cycled through a lot of tweaks and adjustments over the years. The following timeline, based on graphics from the mighty Gridiron Uniform Database, gives a sense of how the Vikings basically had incremental changes from 1961 through 2005, and then went with a more radical redesign in 2006:
So for the purposes of this article, we will look at the period from 1961 through 2005, all of which could reasonably be described as the team’s “classic” period. As usual, I’ve come up with a bunch of fun facts and esoteric details —
11 12 of them, in this case — all supplemented by great visuals from the team’s history.
Okay, ready to dive into the purple end of the pool? Here we go!
1. What Might Have Been
The Vikings’ inaugural uniforms were designed by sports cartoonist Karl Hubenthal, whose original concept, shown above, included several elements that didn’t make it onto the field:
Hubenthal also gave the team a stylized “V” striping pattern for the purple jersey’s sleeves, but the Vikes instead opted for Northwestern stripes on both of their jerseys:
If that Northwestern-striped white jersey looks a bit odd, scroll back up to look at Hubenthal’s original concept. As you can see, he envisioned the white jersey with UCLA-style shoulder loops — which the Vikings eventually did adopt, but not until 1969.