The Minnesota Vikings are the next team on my top 5 greatest franchise players tour through the NFL. Like every other team the Vikings have had some great players play for them throughout the years and I had the pleasure of watching a few of the ones that made my list in person. The Vikings are currently in a interesting situation where they are rebuilding yet not rebuilding if that makes sense? It’s confusing I know, just imagine how Vikings fans feel. Anyways, lets get to something that’s not confusing and that’s my top 5 greatest Minnesota Vikings.
Cris Carter, Wide Receiver (1990-2001)
Cris Carter was known for two things: never shutting up and always delivering on the football field. He was known as one of the most legendary trash-talkers in the game. Carter played 12 seasons with the Vikings and when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013 he held every significant career receiving record for the Vikings. He finished with 1,004 catches, 12,383 yards and 110 touchdown catches in his career with the Minnesota Vikings.
Carl Eller, Defensive End (1964-1978)
Carl Eller doesn’t care that sacks didn’t become an official NFL statistic until 1982. All he asks is to be known as the Vikings’ all-time leader in that category and they do. They list Eller as their career sack leader with 130 during his 14 years with the team. “Whether the words are sack, quarterback tackles, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “I’m still the sack leader, no matter what they call it.” Official records have the next guy on my list as the official leader in sacks but don’t tell that to Eller. He was selected to five All-Pro teams, six Pro Bowls and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.
John Randle, Defensive Tackle (1990-2000)
Entering the NFL getting a $5,000 signing bonus after going undrafted out of Division II Texas A&M-Kingsville, John Randle entered the NFL with a chip on his shoulder. All Randle did was go on to become the leader in sacks in NFL history among defensive tackles with 137.5 and get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010. In his career with the Vikings Randle ended with 114 career sacks to go along with six Pro Bowls and All-Pro spots.
5.) Randall McDaniel, Guard (1988-1999)
Randall McDaniel is considered one of the most dominate offensive lineman in NFL history. Making 12 Pro Bowls, which ties Will Shields for the most by a guard, was All-Pro seven times, was a member of the NFL 100 All-Time Team and inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009. McDaniel always said going up against fellow Hall of Famer teammate John Randle made the games easier and helped push him to be the best. He was good, very good and many consider him the best guard of all time.
4.) Alan Page, Defensive Tackle (1967-1978)
There are two defensive players in NFL history that have ever been named MVP: New York Giants legend linebacker Lawrence Taylor and Alan Page. Page was named to nine Pro Bowls and named All-Pro six times. He was also inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and named to the NFL 100 All-Time Team in 2019. The Hall of Famer recovered 23 fumbles for 86 yards and 2 touchdowns in his career as sacks and tackles weren’t stat yet. If they had been Page would have ranked highly on both.
3.) Adrian Peterson, Running Back (2007-2016)
Adrian Peterson is most most intimidating looking running back I have ever seen. This guy was just a physical specimen. Peterson is Minnesota’s all-time rushing leader with 11,747 yards and he set an NFL record for yards rushing in a game with 296 as a rookie. Then in 2012, he was named NFL MVP when he came back from a torn ACL suffered the previous December and amazingly rushed for 2,097 yards, the second-highest total in NFL history. Peterson is the toughest running back to ever play and is still looking to play even to this day.
2.) Randy Moss, Wide Receiver (1998-2004, 2010)
Randy Moss was an absolute superstar as soon as he first stepped on the football field. Moss made seven Pro Bowls and received three of his four All-Pro teams as a member of the Vikings. That’s pretty crazy considering the fact he slipped to the 21st pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. He had 587 of his 982 career receptions and 92 of his 156 career touchdowns in six seasons with the Vikings and a four-game stint with them in 2010. He played 14 seasons overall with tenures in New England and Oakland as well. Moss is my personal favorite receiver and if it wasn’t for one other guy he would be my number one Viking of all time. Speaking of that guy…
1.) Fran Tarkenton, Quarterback (1961-66, 1972-78)
Fran Tarkenton’s career with the Minnesota Vikings began in an interesting way. Tarkenton got into a feud with then-coach Norm Van Brocklin about his scrambling style of play which resulted in him being traded to the New York Giants. But he returned six years later, in 1972, when the coach was Bud Grant, who just happened to embrace Tarkenton’s scrambling and it’s a good thing that he did. Tarkenton went on to lead the Vikings to three Super Bowls and was named 1975 NFL MVP. When he retired after the 1978 season, he held all of the league’s most important career passing records, including throwing for 47,003 yards (33,098 with Minnesota) and 342 touchdowns (239 with the Vikings).
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