The Vikes beat the 49ers 36-24 in the stunner of the NFL playoffs
January 18, 1988
The Minnesota Vikings finally have figured out how to make this thing work. Set people up. Fool 'em. Bow your head, shuffle your feet, mumble something about what an honor it is to be in the playoffs. Then, wham! Come in with the sneaky right hand.
The Vikings did it again on Saturday. A week after routing the New Orleans Saints 44-10 in the NFC wild-card game, they knocked off another heavy favorite, the San Francisco 49ers, 36-24. Even after Minnesota buried the Saints, who had been a seven-point pick, the oddsmakers installed the Vikings as 11-point underdogs to San Francisco in Candlestick Park. And with good reason. The Niners finished the regular season by beating the Chicago Bears 41-0, Atlanta Falcons 35-7 and Los Angeles Rams 48-0. The 49er offense had averaged 406 yards a game. Their defense had given up 208 and hadn't allowed a touchdown in 13 quarters. Analysts offered pronouncements that began: "Every year there's a team that peaks at just the right time...."