Are the Vikings going to wear throwback Duluth Eskimos uniforms this season?

It's the 100th year of the National Football League.
Publish date:
Duluth Eskimos

A sideline coat worn by Hall of Fame fullback Ernie Nevers. 

It's the 100th year of the NFL and there's speculation brewing that the Minnesota Vikings could honor the 1920s Duluth Eskimos by wearing their uniforms during a game. 

It's all connecting dots at this point, starting with trademark attorney Josh Gerben publicizing a trademark application filed by the NFL that he says "suggests that a NFL team could play a game as the DULUTH ESKIMOS this coming year."

Gerben's speculation continues as he believes the trademark application makes it "very likely" that the NFL will "ask a team, perhaps the Minnesota Vikings, to play a game this year under the name the Duluth Eskimos." 

Last September, the Duluth News Tribune reported that the Vikings have lobbied "to wear Duluth Eskimos throwback jerseys for one of the team's games" during the 100th anniversary season, quoting a team rep who said she would "feel like I won the lottery if we get to play a game in those." 

Wearing the Eskimos uniforms could come with negative feedback considering the term can be offensive. This, from NPR

"People in many parts of the Arctic consider Eskimo a derogatory term because it was widely used by racist, non-native colonizers. Many people also thought it meant eater of raw meat, which connoted barbarism and violence. Although the word's exact etymology is unclear, mid-century anthropologists suggested that the word came from the Latin word excommunicati, meaning the excommunicated ones, because the native people of the Canadian Arctic were not Christian."

Professional football debuted in the U.S. in 1920 with 14 original teams. Known as the American Professional Football Association to begin, it changed its name to the National Football League in 1922, the same year Duluth got its team. 

The Duluth Kelleys then debuted in 1923, later changing its name to the Duluth Eskimos in 1926. By 1928, the NFL was out of Duluth, but not before producing Hall of Fame fullback Ernie Nevers, a Willow River, Minnesota, native who was inducted into Canton in 1963. 

Next Up