25 SKOL’s of Christmas: Anthony Carter’s 1987 playoff bonanza

Welcome to the 25 SKOL’s of Christmas!

In a similar vein to how Freeform has done the 25 days of Christmas, we will look back at different moments in Vikings history to bring a little extra joy to you this holiday season.

It’s that simple. The holidays can be a trying time for some people and we want to put a smile on people’s faces by reminiscing about some truly joyous times in Vikings’ history.

On the ninth SKOL of Christmas, the Vikings gave to me: Anthony Carter delivering an all-time performance in the 1987 playoffs.

The 1987 season was an interesting one. The players went on strike and, not only was a game cancelled due to the strike, the first three games in October were played with replacement players.

It arguably impacted the Vikings the most, as they went 0-3 with replacement players and 8-4 with their normal roster. In his second season as the head coach, Jerry Burns had the Vikings playing really good football. They snuck into the playoffs with a wild card berth and they went on a run thanks to star wide receiver Anthony Carter.

After being a star in the USFL, Carter signed with the Minnesota Vikings and had himself a really nice career in the NFL. His biggest moment came in the 1987 playoffs when he took over.

Against the New Orleans Saints, Carter did his damage on punt returns. He had only returned three punts all season, but he did so six times in this game, including an 84 yard touchdown. He returned six punts for 143 yards and a touchdown along with six catches for 79 yards and another score.

The divisional round was where he did even more damage. The Vikings dominated the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park by a score of 36-24 and were up 20-3 at the half. Carter was the dominant force in the game, catching 10 passes for a then-playoff-record 227 yards from quarterback Wade Wilson. The Vikings set themselves up for a chance to make the Super Bowl for the first time in a decade.

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The 49ers at this time were true power houses. Joe Montana to Jerry Rice was the connection of the decade but they weren’t able to get it done on this day.

Things stopped in the NFC Chapionship Game when Carter caught seven passes for 85 yards but it wasn’t his fault. Running back Darrin Nelson fumbled the ball inside the 10 yard line.

It’s a shame that his tremendous playoff run ended with a dud but it is one of the most impressive playoff performances in team history. If he would have been able to play until 1995, the trio of him, Cris Carter and Jake Reed would have been incredible.

Previous SKOL’s of Christmas:

Drafting Randy Moss
Vikings 1997 Wild Card Comeback
Jarius Wright Walks Off the Jets
Jared Allen Traded to Vikings
Adrian Peterson Sets Rushing Record
Brett Favre Revenge Tour
Bud Grant Rocks a Polo in Freezing Temperatures
Adrian Peterson Stiff Arms Defender to Oblivion

Story originally appeared on Vikings Wire