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  1. Top Ten DB's

    I considered Smith higher up on this list. I even considered rating him above Rhodes. However, when I got to thinking about it, Smith is at his best when Rhodes is playing at a high level. In essence, what it came down to, is that Xavier Rhodes makes Harrison Smith a better player.
  2. Top Ten DB's

    This was a harder group to judge and rate than I had first imagined. The best backfield unit was the one that played a number of years together in the late '60's and early '70's. Yet, only one receives much attention by football historians. Since that time, the Vikings have normally had a really good player or even two in the backfield, but the other positions were manned by players considered weaknesses. Todays team might have the best overall backfield since that squad that appeared in the first two Super Bowls...and, if they remain productive, and stay together, might wind up being the best defensive backfield in Vikings history. This squad is also deeper than any other that has played in Minnesota. So, without further ramblings, here is the Top Ten DB's. 10. Karl Kassulke: (1963 - 72) Kassaulke was elected to 1 pro bowl (1971). He started at safety in Super Bowl IV. He was also known as an excellent punt blocker...many of his blocks, unintentionally, were straight into the face mask. In 1973, Kassulke, on his way to training camp, was in a motorcycle accident that paralyzed him from the waist down. He died in 2008. 9. Ed Sharockman: (1961-72) Sharockman anchored the backfield at a time when, frankly, they weren't all that good. Still, his 40 career interceptions and 6 touchdowns got him on the list of the 50 Greatest Vikings. 8: Bobby Bryant: (1968-80) Twice elected to the Pro Bowl, and twice elected All-Pro, Bryant is second in Vikings history with 51 career interceptions. He played in all four Super Bowl appearances, and held the record of longest interception return for a touchdown, 63, yards. He also played special teams returning punts and kicks. He is one of the 50 Greatest Vikings. 7. Joey Browner: (1983-91) Browner made 6 pro bowl appearances, and was 4 times elected All Pro. Member of the Ring of Honor, the 80's all decade team, and 50 Greatest Vikings. Believe it or not, Browner was the 2nd rated db to come out of USC in 1983. He played with Ronnie Lott in the Trojan backfield. Browner, in an era of hard hitting safeties, may have been the one to lay the hardest hits on ball carriers and receivers. He amassed 1,100 tackles causing 18 fumbles. 6. Harrison Smith: (2012 - ) Smith has gone to 4 pro bowls, and has been all-pro twice. PFF graded Smith the best player in the NFL in 2017. When all is said and done with his career, hopefully many years from now, Smith will be considered the best safety in team history. The reason I rate Smith higher than Browner is because of the numerous rule changes that have made playing DB considerably harder. 5. Carl Lee: (1983 - 93) Three times a pro bowler and an all pro in 1988, Lee is completely underrated as a cornerback. He excelled in coverage, which meant that he didn't get many chances towards interceptions on passing downs. Good tackler, good speed...he normally locked down the man he was covering. I think he gets less attention because he played in the same backfield as Browner...who regularly made highlight reel hits. 4. Robert Griffith: (1994 - 2001) He was elected to the 2000 pro bowl and was all pro twice. Collecting over 1,000 career tackles from his safety position. I rate him this high because many of the rules protecting receivers and ball carriers came into being in the middle of his career. He adjusted quite well. Griffith is another DB that, I believe, is chronically underrated by Viking fans and football historians. 3. Xavier Rhodes: (2013 - ) When Rhodes is at the top of his game, he is the best shut down corner in the business. Twice he has been elected to the pro bowl, and once elected all pro. He seems to play his best against the best receivers, including Odell Beckham, Julio Jones, et al. Rhodes broke Bobby Bryant's record when he returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown in 2017. The only mark against Rhodes' career has been his being afflicted by nagging injuries. Yet, he is the anchor to a stellar backfield that includes Trae Waynes and Harrison Smith. 2. Antoine Winfield: (2004-12) 3 times elected to the pro bowl, all pro in 2008 and one of the 50 Greatest Vikings, Winfield is in the conversation as the greatest tackler in NFL history. One of his opponents likened Winfield to an angry Chihuahua. His greatest contribution to the Vikings defense may have been when he into the game as a nickel back. 1. Paul Krause: (1968 - 79) 8 times elected to the pro bowl, 7 times an all-pro, the NFL leader in interceptions with a staggering 81 interceptions, Ring of Honor member, 50 Greatest Vikings and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame...the only Viking DB to go to the HOF. There is a huge gap between Krause and everyone else on this list as far as earning honors. His interception record is one that is likely never to be broken.
  3. Top Ten Viking Receivers

    Are you thinking of Steve Jordan? He was a TE around that era.
  4. All Hail...to Epic Fail

    He was, indeed, incredible. He always seemed to be on the top of his game versus the Vikings! But, as I have said above, it was hard to root against him!! He is, by far, my favorite non-Viking player.
  5. Top Ten Viking Receivers

    In my first draft I had Thielen and Diggs as numbers 7 and 8. However, the more I played with the names, the more comfortable I got with them being where I listed them. I know I am projecting a bit of their potential career numbers, but hopefully, they will live up to my expectations of them. I do love Sammy White...and I believe that he is chronically underrated by most Viking fans. The space between him at 6 and Diggs at 5 is quite narrow. I could've been happy flipping their positions. Hassan Jones, Leo Lewis, Bob Grimm are all players that get an honorable mention....if I had an honorable mention category.
  6. Top Ten Viking Receivers

    This list is purely for wide receivers. I have purposefully left off tight ends and receiving backs. As I look at this list, it consists of receivers from the '70's to the present day. It goes from good, very good, great and great potential. I am certain that I will anger some as I grade current receivers lower than some long retired receivers...even though the current receivers career potential is great. So, here we go...the Top Ten Viking Receivers: 10. John Gilliam: (1972-75) Gilliam gave Fran Tarkenton a downfield option when he joined the team in 1972. He was a pro bowler each year he was a Viking, and an All Pro in 1973. He is one of the 50 Greatest Vikings. His statistics aren't gaudy by todays standards. It was a run first league in the '70's. His world class speed allowed him to lead the league twice in receiving yardage, however. As he was normally double teamed, he opened up the short passing game for Tarkenton and other receivers. Yet, when Tarkenton connected with Gilliam on a long pass along the sideline, it was usually a thing of beauty. 9. Ahmad Rashad: (1976-82) Rashad was a four time pro bowler, and MVP of the 1978 game, All Pro in 1979 and one of the 50 Greatest Vikings. Like Gilliam, Rashad's numbers are not gaudy. However, he proved to have good hands in the clutch. His most memorable catch came in 1980 against the Cleveland Browns. With seconds on the clock, he caught a "Hail Mary" from Tommy Kramer in the end zone giving the Vikings a come from behind victory, 28-23, and the Central Division title. This catch was dubbed "The Miracle at the Met." Hmmmm.... 8. Jake Reed: (1991-1999, 2001) Reed was a highly productive receiver during his Viking career. Four times he gained over 1,000 yards receiving. In 1994, he and Cris Carter combined for an NFL record 207 receptions. In an era when receivers were known for their big personalities, Reed went about his business without much fanfare. He should have been a pro bowl selection in 1994, but guys like Rice, Carter and Sterling Sharpe were dominating the receiving leader board. 7. Gene Washington: (1967-72) Washington was the first Viking WR to make the jersey number 84 memorable! He appeared in two pro bowls, and was All Pro in 1969, and played in the Vikings first Super Bowl. Like Gilliam and Rashad, his statistics are not gaudy. He also played with QB's who were less than stellar passers. Yet, his speed and soft hands opened up the offense in 1969. The Vikings offense that year was nearly as good as the defense. Washington played a huge role. He is one of the 50 Greatest Vikings. 6. Sammy White: (1976-86) Twice selected to the pro bowl, three times an All Pro, NFL Rookie of the Year in 1976, and one of the 50 Greatest Vikings, Sammy White made a career out of running across the middle, catching the ball in traffic and taking enormous punishment. In the Super Bowl against Oakland, he was nearly decapitated by Jack "The Assassin" Tatum, but he caught and retained the ball for a first down. White is easily the toughest man on this list. 5. Stefon Diggs: (2015- ) He was on the PFWA All-Rookie team in 2015. In a short period he has amassed 302 receptions for 3493 yards and 24 touchdowns. Diggs is a good all around receiver, able to run crisp routes, get open on a fly pattern, and compete for the ball in tight spaces. He is one guy, however, who will always be remembered by Viking fans for one special moment. All anyone has to say is "Minneapolis Miracle." Ahhhhh.... 4. Adam Thielen: (2013- ) How far has Adam Thielen come? It's hard to believe now that he went undrafted in 2013. He is now the most productive offensive player on the team. He has been to the pro bowl the last two seasons, and was all pro in 2017. He holds the NFL record for 8 consecutive games with 100 or more receiving yards. Teamed with Diggs, he is half of the best receiving duo currently playing, with a chance to be considered the best duo in Vikings history, possibly overtaking the guys in the first two spots on this list. 3. Anthony Carter: (1985-1993) Three times selected to the pro bowl, while playing on some fairly mediocre Viking squads, and twice elected to the All NFC team, AC didn't get a whole lot of time on the national stage. But, when he did, he was awesome. The 1987 playoffs saw Anthony Carter explode onto the NFL stage. He had 642 all purpose yards (receiving and returning) in games against New Orleans, San Francisco, and Washington...which were three very good playoff caliber defenses. He is, deservedly, one of the 50 Greatest Vikings. 2. Cris Carter: (1990-2001) 8 times to the pro bowl, All Pro three times, NFL reception leader in 1994, 3 times NFL receiving touchdown leader in 95, 97, and 99, in the Ring of Honor, has had his number 80 retired by the Vikings, one the 50 Greatest Vikings, member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. When he retired, he was second (behind Jerry Rice) on the all time leading receivers list. He holds just about every meaningful Vikings team record for a receiver. He may have had the best pair of hands of any receiver in history. On just about every other teams' top 10 list of receivers, Carter would be an undisputed number one. However, he just so happened to play his last several seasons with the Vikings with the guy who is in the top spot. 1. Randy Moss: (1998-2004, 2010) Let me get this out of the way. Moss belongs at the top spot...but, I never felt Viking fans got all of what Moss might've been capable of. He should have every record in the book, given his freakish talent, but there were just too many games for me to ignore where he just disengaged. Still, what an impressive resume! 6 pro bowls (1999 PB MVP), 4 times all pro, 5 times receiving touchdown leader, Vikings Ring of Honor, one of the 50 Greatest Vikings and member of the NFL Hall of Fame, with a highlight reel like no one else's! Still, I can't help but feel cheated that we didn't exactly get his best!
  7. Top 10 Defensive Linemen

    Well...I see your point. However, I think with wealth of defensive linemen the Vikings have had over the years, there is a division between the good and the great. I knew this list, of all that I produce, would be full of great players.
  8. Top 10 Defensive Linemen

    No position has changed more in the history of the Vikings, because of "specialization" than the positions along the defensive line. 1st down rush defenders and 3rd down pass rushers have greatly changed the importance of statistics on the defensive line. In this top 10 I will tend to rate higher those players who were 3 or 4 down players. I know that this will probably irritate some of you as I have maybe downgraded some of your favorite players. But in my mind...and on my list...all around effectiveness against both the run and the pass is more valuable than someone who comes off the bench to rush the passer on third down. I will also rate higher those players who played during a time when defensive line statistics were non existents. So, here are the Top 10 Defensive Linemen in Vikings History. 10. Keith Millard: (1985-91) Millard was voted to two pro bowls and was first team all pro twice. In 1989, he was the NFC's defensive player of the year as voted on by the UPI. He is also one of the 50 greatest Vikings. He had 18 sacks in '89 from the tackle position. Then an NFL record. However, following the 89 season, Millard had a very serious knee injury and was never the same player. Had he stayed healthy and played for the Vikings more than 6 seasons, he would've rated much higher on this list. 9. Gary Larsen: (1965-74) Larsen is the member of the famous and original Purple People Eaters that most fans have to look up to remember. Page, Eller and Marshall were house hold names. Next to them, it appeared that Larsen toiled in obscurity. But, he was the player who clogged the middle lanes against the run, while the others converged on the quarterback. Still, he managed to collected 38.5 in his career...which is respectable. He was Phat Pat Williams, 30 years earlier than Williams. His efforts earned him 2 trips to the pro bowl. 8. Everson Griffen: (2010 - ) Griffen is a physical specimen, displaying both strength and speed...and an unrelenting motor that feeds his defensive teammates. He has recorded 66.5 sacks and has been a 3 time participant in the pro bowl. His rookie season was marred by off field issues, including two arrests. His second season saw Griffen being an excellent special teams player, including being the "gunner" on kickoffs. He became a starter on the defensive line during his third season and has been productive ever since. His 2018 season, however, was shortened due to a mental health issue. When he came back to the Vikings, it appeared that he was not quite the same high-energy player he was previously. It will be interesting to see how he plays in 2019. 7. Jared Allen: (2008-2013) Allen was a very productive player as a Viking, and was always a fan favorite. He was a 5 time pro bowl participant and 4 time all pro. He is one of the 50 Greatest Vikings and he recorded 136 sacks during his career playing for the Chiefs, Vikings, Bears and Panthers. His best season was 2012 when he recorded 22 sacks, a Viking team record. As good as he was as a pass rusher, Allen was not that productive against the run. After retirement, Allen has become an avid participant in the sport of Curling. 6. Kevin Williams: (2003 - 2013) Williams burst onto the scene in Minnesota recording double digit sacks in his first two seasons with the Vikings. His role changed somewhat once he was teamed with Pat Williams next to him. This duo made the Vikings very difficult to run against for several seasons. It was because of his role against the run, that Kevin Williams earned multiple pro bowl and all pro honors. He is one of the 50 Greatest Vikings. Will he be elected to the Hall of Fame? 5. Chris Doleman: (1985-1993, 99) Doleman is the Vikings all time sack leader with 150.5 sacks. He was elected to the pro-bowl 8 times, is one of the 50 Greatest Vikings, is in the Ring of Honor, and in 2012 was elected to the Hall of Fame. He began his pro career as a pass rushing OLB in a 3-4 defense. By his 3rd season, the Vikings had switched back to the 4-3 defense and Doleman was a defensive end. For most of his career Doleman was considered a pass rush "specialist." Often he was removed from the lineup during "running" downs. However, three times in his career, Doleman accumulated over 100 tackles. Quite a feet for a pass rushing specialist. In 2018, Doleman underwent brain surgery for a Glioblastoma tumor. 4. Jim Marshall: (1961-79) Marshall went to two pro bowls and was elected as All-Pro three times. He started all four of the Vikings Super Bowl appearances. It is claimed by the Vikings that he recorded 127 sacks in his career (he played in an era when sacks were not an official statistic.) Good enough for 4th place among Viking defenders. Yet, his greatest achievement as a Viking was his toughness and durability. He played for 20 seasons...a record for defensive player. He played in 282 consecutive games as a defensive end, and in 270 regular season games (a record since broken by Brett Favre.) Jim Marshall is in the Ring of Honor, has had his number retired by the Vikings, and is one of the 50 Greatest Vikings. If it weren't for one play in 1964, when he ran a fumble recovery the wrong way, Marshall would be in the Hall of Fame. 3. Carl Eller: (1964-78) 6 times elected to the pro bowl...7 times all pro...ring of honor..70's all decade team...1971 NFL Defensive Player of the Year...Played in all four Super Bowls. Nick named "Moose" by his teammates, Eller missed only 3 games his entire career. As a Viking, the team claims he recorded 130.5 sacks. He was known to play with a mean streak and kept battling, sometimes even after the down was over! If the Viking players were ever involved in a fight, it was a good chance that Eller was in the middle of it. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 2. John Randle: (1990 - 2000) Randel's' statistics are only part of his story. 137.5 career sacks...'90's all decade team...Vikings Ring of Honor...7 times Pro Bowl..5 times All Pro...50 Greatest Vikings seems like just skimming the surface. Randle grew up in a tar shack, in poverty, in Texas. He was not supposed to make it in the NFL as he came from a small football program...he tried out for the Buccaneers' after going undrafted....but he was not signed as it was thought his size was to small. A Viking scout encouraged the team to give Randle a tryout. He was signed and never looked back. He was quick, and very strong for his size. He had a motor that never quit. He could get inside an opponents head, by the trash talking he engaged in during games. Some of his opponents claimed that he was the defensive lineman that intimidated them the most. Not Reggie White...not Bruce Smith...but John Randle. He was elected to the HOF in 2010. 1. Alan Page: (1967-78) Page's importance to the Minnesota Vikings franchise cannot be overstated. A first round pick out of Notre Dame, the native of Canton, OH had a football career that makes him the very best defensive lineman...if not, the very best player in Vikings history. He was elected to 9 pro bowls...6 times first team all pro...two times NFL Defensive Player of the Year...2 times NFC Defensive Player of the Year...1971 NFL Most Valuable Player (only one of two defensive players to receive this award)...'70's all decade team...member of the Ring of Honor...his number 88 was retired by the Vikings...Played in four super bowls...the team claims that he recorded 148.5 sacks during his career. He was quick, powerful, and smart. He rarely missed a game during his career, which is a theme for Viking linemen of his era. He was a first ballot hall of famer. After his playing career Page began practicing law, eventually becoming a judge and then a justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court. He has quietly advocated for disadvantaged, at risk youth in Minnesota and Ohio.
  9. Top 10 Viking Offensive Linemen

    Unlike linebackers yesterday, the Viking franchise has had a lot of talent, traditionally, on the offensive line. Also, unlike yesterday, there are NO current linemen on the list (although, I have hope for O'Neill...I will wait to judge Bradbury until after he has a season under his belt.) So, lets get started...Top 10 Linemen: 10. Milt Sunde: (1964-74) Another Minnesota product that stayed in the state as a pro. He was the first outstanding guard. Like a lot of the early Viking linemen, he wasn't big, but he was quick, durable, and tough. In 1966 he was elected to the pro bowl. He also played on the first two Viking Super Bowl teams. 9. Korey Stringer: (1995-01) I dearly wish I could rate Stringer higher on this list. He was drafted in the first round out of Ohio State University. He was developing into one of the best tackles in the league when he died at training camp on August 1, 2001. His 2000 season was his best, as he was elected to his first and only pro bowl. He was big, strong and athletic. Besides his on the field production, Stringer was a great teammate, according to those who played with him, and he was a fan favorite, going out of his way to relate to those who sat in the seats on game day. 8. Ed White: (1969-77) White was a great all-around guard. Proficient in both pass protection and run blocking. He was also exceptionally strong. During his career he was considered the strongest man in football. Outside of football, White was a champion arm wrestler. He is one of 11 Viking players to have played in all four Super Bowl Appearances. He made multiple pro bowls and was a 2nd team all-pro four times. He is in both the Viking and San Diego Chargers' Rings of fame, and is considered one of the 50 best players for both franchises. Ed White should probably be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but HOF voters don't give serious attention to offensive linemen, as they don't show up on the stat sheet. 7. Gary Zimmerman: (1986-93) One of the most decorated offensive linemen in NFL history, Zimmerman was a dominating tackle. He made pro bowls, was consistently all-pro, and was on the all-80's AND all-90's teams. He is one of the 50 Greatest Vikings. Unfortunately, he had a difficult relationship with his teammates, the media and the front office. He left Minnesota for the Bronco's, where he was on their first Super Bowl winning team. Despite how he feels about the organization...and perhaps how the organization feels about him...Gary Zimmerman definitely belongs on this list. I may have even rated him to low. 6. Steve Hutchinson: (2006-11) Hutchinson, like Zimmerman, is a highly decorated lineman. He was a 7 times elected to the pro bowl and was a first team all pro 5 times. He was a member of the 2009 team that went to the NFCCG, losing to the Saints. I will remember Hutch as the guy who made Bryant McKinnie a better player by being next to him on the line. 5. Grady Alderman: (1961-74) The first great Viking tackle, he played 13 seasons for the Vikings going to two Super Bowls. Again, multiple elections to the pro bowl and all pro team, he is also one of the 50 Greatest Vikings...and probably should be in the HOF! After his playing career he was a coach with the Chicago Bears and for a time in the early 80's was the GM for the Denver Broncos. 4. Matt Birk: (1998-08) Pro Bowl center times 6...2 times all pro...and six times Minnesota Vikings Man of the Year award winner...not bad for somebody who went to Harvard and earned a degree in economics! He ended his playing career with the Baltimore Ravens and won a Super Bowl ring with them. Yet, another offensive lineman that should be in the HOF! 3. Mick Tinglehoff: (1962-78) Tinglehoff played 240 consecutive games on the offensive line! An NFL record. He was a multiple pro bowl and all pro honoree. He is also one of the 11 players to have been in all 4 Super Bowl appearances. In his 32nd year of eligibility, Tinglehoff was elected to the HOF! He was small for a center, but no one was tougher than Tinglehoff. He is also one of the least penalized players in league history. 2. Ron Yary: (1968-77) Yary's honors as a college player and a professional are staggering. He is often mentioned as the greatest right tackle to ever play the game. Yary, also, is one of the 11 to play in all four super bowls, and is one of the 50 greatest Vikings. He was elected to the HOF his first year of eligibility. 1. Randall McDaniel: (1988-1999) McDaniel was probably the greatest offensive lineman of the modern era. He had it all: Strength, speed, athleticism, intelligence. He was elected to a record 12 consecutive pro bowls and elected to the pro football hall of fame in 2009. Viking fans have been somewhat spoiled by a history of great offensive linemen. I remember each of these guys in their prime and am so glad that I got to watch them play. It's disheartening to long time fans of the Vikings to witness the offensive line play of recent seasons. Now, I would put our top 10 linemen against any other teams and declare we have the best! I don't know if anyone can make an argument that these 10 are indeed the best to have played for the purple and gold. You might be able to argue order of the top 10, but, I think I've got it right. Although, I could've flipped Yary and McDaniel and still been happy with this list. What are your thoughts?
  10. Top 10 Linebackers

    Where would you put Greenway on the list? Maybe in the place of Kendricks...but, to me, Greenway is not much different from Winston, Hilgenberg and McNeill...but, the defenses they played on had much more impact in the NFL than the ones Greenway played on. Maybe replace on of them with Greenway? The reason I included Barr and Kendricks over Greenway is because the 2017 defense was historically good, and they contributed to that defense. McDaniel is in the same boat as Greenway. Is it good enough to be a good player on bad, mediocre or just okay defenses? I know that could also be said of Henderson...but he also played with Kevin and Pat Williams and Antoine Winfield...and in most cases Henderson had more impact on those defenses than Greenway did...in my opinion.
  11. Top 10 Linebackers

    As I was trying to put this list together, I realized that throughout it's almost 60 year franchise history, the Vikings don't have any linebackers in the HOF...nor, do I believe, any have been eligible. I imagine that as you see some of the names on this list, you'll think it's "too early" for them to be on the list, and others don't have the individual statistics that players at other positions might have. I might agree with you if there was a logical person to put in their place. The only player I thought about putting on the list, that I wound up not adding, is Mike Meriwether. Anyway, here are my top 10 linebackers: 10. Eric Kendricks: (2015 - ) Kendricks has found a home at the MLB position on the Vikings defense. His greatest strengths are his sideline to sideline speed and his tackling. In a very short time he has amassed over 400 tackles. The team rewarded him this offseason with a new 5 year, $50,000,000 contract. He also has some liabilities. One is his height. Being only 6' tall, he often is matched against much taller players in pass coverage. His size can also be an issue when he is running towards a gap in the line of scrimmage to tackle larger, more powerful backs. But he is determined and aggressive and should remain a fixture on the defensive side of the ball. 9. EJ Henderson: (2003-2011) Henderson had a very respectful career as a Viking. Drafted out of Maryland in the 2nd round, he played in all 16 games as a rookie. Statistically, his best year was 2007 when he recorded 118 tackles...incredibly 94 of them were solo tackles. His most memorable moment as a Viking was probably coming all the way back from a gruesome broken leg in 2009 to playing all 16 games in 2010 recording 105 tackles. Henderson was elected to the Pro Bowl in 2011. 8. Anthony Barr: (2014 - ) Drafted in the 1st round out of UCLA, many fans, me included, had very high expectation for a player with both athleticism and size. Many hoped that he would be this generations Lawrence Taylor. Yet, I've determined that being this generations Anthony Barr is pretty good. One of the things that he's very good at is causing and recovering turnovers. He isn't the splashy sack artist coming around the edge...nor do the Vikings need him to be. He's more than competent in coverage against tight ends and most running backs. He will get exposed in zone coverage against the opponents number one receiver. However, most offenses don't really test his side of the field much as his 6'5", 255 lbs size with speed seems to worry opposing QB's. He's not a bad pass rusher either. He doesn't get a lot of sacks as he seems to flush out the quarterback into other waiting defensemen. One play that Viking fans will remember is his 2017 hit on Aaron Rodgers that broke his collarbone causing the Green Bay QB to miss most of the season. 7. Wally Hilgenberg: (1968 - 79) Hilgenberg was one of 11 players to play in each of the four Viking Super Bowls. He started 116 games for the Vikings after starting his career in Detroit in 1964. He ranks 12th in team history for the number of tackles with 739. He shares the team record with Scott Studwell for the most solo tackles in a single game at 13. He played in an era when the front four, Eller, Larsen, Page and Marshall got all the attention. Those guys tended to have the line of scrimmage wrapped up. Hilgenberg's main task was in short and mid-range pass coverage. Which, he did very well. Much like Barr, he did his job well enough that quarterbacks often went elsewhere with their passing attempts. I personally think he was an unsung hero on those great 70's defenses. Sadly, he died at the age of 66 in 2008 from complications of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). 6. Lonnie Warwick: (1965-72) Warwick was the starting middle linebacker on the legendary teams of the late 60's and early 70's. Joe Kapp once called him the "meanest man" in football. Truth be told, he was one of the guys that made the old Central division known as the "black and blue" division. However, he was in the same division as Butkus and Nitschke, so he garnered little press. But he could hold his own against those guys before the injuries started taking hold. He led the Vikings in tackles for a four year stretch. 5. Roy Winston: (1962 - 76) Winston, like Hilgenberg, was one of the 11 Viking players to appear in all four Super Bowls. His durability, like a lot of Vikings from that era, was legendary. He was known as a heavy hitter. In one 1972 game against Miami, Winston hit the 240 pound Larry Csonka so hard that Csonka crawled off the field thinking that he had broken his back. Csonka respected that hit so much that he invited Winston to be his guest when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Winston had the same fate as Warwick and Hilgenberg playing behind the Purple People Eaters. His statistics are pedestrian, and he won no individual awards. But he was tough, and he got his job done. 4. Fred McNeill: (1974-85) 39 years before Anthony Barr was drafted in the first round out of UCLA, the Vikings drafted another Bruin linebacker in the first round of the 1974 draft. This linebacker was Fred McNeill. McNeill fell in the pattern started by Winston, Warwick and Hilgenberg of simply doing his job well. And he did it for 11 years. He was part of teams that game up the fewest yards (1975) and the fewest points (1976). He was the first former player to diagnosed with CTE while living, and have that diagnosis confirmed upon his death. He gave his health to the team. 3. Jeff Siemon: (1972-82) Siemon was a native Minnesotan, born in Rochester in 1950. He took over the starting MLB position in 1973 from Lonnie Warwick. He was known for his intelligence, speed, and quickness. Siemon was elected to 4 pro bowls during his career, and is one of the 50 Greatest Vikings. Athletics runs in the Siemon family as his daughter Kelley was a four year starter and member of the Notre Dame women's basketball team that won the national collegiate championship in 2001. 2. Matt Blair: (1974-85) Blair came to the Vikings in the second round of the same draft that produced Fred McNeill. He was one of the fastest linebackers in NFL history. He earned 6 consecutive pro bowl honors (77-82) and made the all-rookie team in 74. He was elected second team all-pro in 1980. Blair was an outstanding special teams player having blocked 20 kicks (3rd in NFL history). 1. Scott Studwell: (1977-90) With a name like Studwell, how could you be anything other than a linebacker? He was the best ever to play for the Vikings. When he retired, he was the team leader in tackles for a career with 1, 981. In the 1981 season he recorded 230 tackles, which remains a team record. In a game against Detroit in 1985, Studwell recorded an amazing 24 tackles. A single game record for the Vikings. He was elected to 2 pro-bowls and was 2nd team all pro in 1988. He is a member of the 25th and 40th Anniversary teams and is one of the 50 Greatest Vikings. After his playing career, Studwell moved into the front office, first as a scout and then becoming Director of College Scouting in 2002. He retired from the Viking organization, giving 42 years of service, right after the 2019 college draft. Folks, here are the Top 10 Minnesota Viking Linebackers!
  12. Top 10 Viking Running Backs

    You are correct...Isn't it strange to think that until Peterson goes in, the Vikings have had only one back on the team to go to the hall of fame? And McElhenny earned the honors as a 49'er, not a Viking.
  13. Top 10 Viking Running Backs

    Start your own dang list!!!
  14. Top 10 Viking Running Backs

    One of the things that I neglected to say is that only one of these 10 backs is in the professional football hall of fame. Extra credit will be given to the first person who tells me which one!!!
  15. Top 10 Viking Running Backs

    Well...I'm glad you decided to take this course then at Professor VV's college of Viking Knowledge!!
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