NFL at Wembley: Sky Sports takes a look at the Minnesota Vikings

By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH.   Last Updated: 25/09/13 4:32pm

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The Minnesota Vikings are the designated home team for the first Wembley game this year, and although they enter the game without a win this season they are one of the biggest teams in the NFL.

The Vikings face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, so here we have a rundown of all you need to know about the Vikings.

History

Formed in 1960, the Vikings now play in the NFC North division, facing the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers twice each season as their local rivals.

The Team were named the Vikings to embrace the fact that Minnesota is a heartland for the American Scandinavian population - and this is also reflected in their team logo and helmet design.

Minnesota have one of the highest winning percentages in the NFL since their inception, while with 25 trips to the play-offs they rank third in that category, showing that they are always a big force to be reckoned with.

Purple People Eaters

A sell out crowd for Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome.

The rather gory name given to the Vikings defence of the late 1960s and 1970s when the team dominated the NFL but somehow failed to win a Super Bowl despite making it to four in eight years.

One of those four defeats came against Sunday's opponents Pittsburgh - who have gone on to make a real habit out of picking up the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Minnesota have had several strong teams since that era, but they have never managed to get back to the big game with the Vikings losing their last five NFC Championship games since 1978.

Home advantage

The cheerleaders for the Minnesota Vikings perform during the game

Their current stadium has the rather cumbersome name of the Mall of America at the Hubert H Humphrey Metrodome. The Metrodome, as it is more commonly known, holds 64,000 and is one of the loudest in the league - offering the team a distinct home field advantage.

With Viking horns sounding on scoring plays and vociferous fans packing it out, it seems strange the team would want to leave, but for infrastructure reasons they are moving to a new stadium for the 2016 season - they will be keen to ensure their new digs have the same acoustics as the Dome.

Like most other NFL teams they have their own cheerleading squad, while they also have their mascot Ragnar - a Viking of a man - and their fans regularly sport their Helga Hats to show support for their Viking ancestry.

Adrian Peterson

With the team struggling in recent years, their star running back has become the symbol of the team. The certain Hall of Famer of the future has just kept on running and running despite the Vikings having to lean heavily on him throughout the last few years.

Even when coming off major knee surgery, Peterson responded by becoming just the seventh man to run for 2,000 yards in a single season last year on his way to being named the league MVP - although he came an agonising nine yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson's record of 2,105.

Only injury has stopped him making 1,000 yards in all of his six seasons so far, but it's not just his consistency, but his consistency in the face of what is usually a defence geared up just to stop him that makes his achievements even more remarkable.

Fans at Wembley are getting a real treat being able to see him in action.

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