The Ten Best Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings, a franchise which saw its debut back in the 1961 season, has failed to ever win a Super Bowl despite appearing in four. However, this does not take away from the fact that they have had some of the most talented players in the history of the league at several positions. The following list displays those who have been the most productive in a Vikings uniform over the course of their career.

1. Alan Page- Defensive Tackle (1967-1978)

Alan Page was one of the founding fathers of the infamous Purple People Eaters, one of the greatest defensive lines in history. Behind this defense led by Page, the Vikings went to four super bowls in the 1970’s. Page recorded 148.5 sacks and recovered 23 fumbles over his professional career, and to this day is the only defensive lineman to ever win MVP, which he did in 1971.

2. Carl Eller- Defensive End (1964-1978)

Another member of the Purple People Eaters, Eller is best known as the Vikings’ all-time sack leader with 130.5. One of history’s “iron men,” Eller played in over 200 games as a Viking and joined Page in the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 2004.

Photo by nateog on Flickr

Photo by nateog on Flickr

3. Fran Tarkenton- Quarterback (1961-1966, 1972-1978)

The first Minnesota Viking to be inducted into the Hall of Fame (1986), Tarkenton was to the Vikings’ offense what Page was to the defense. Known widely as one of the best scrambling quarterbacks of all time, Tarkenton’s 47,003 passing yards and 342 touchdown passes were the most ever by a quarterback when he retired. Tarkenton led the Vikings to three super bowls and is still regarded as one of the best quarterbacks of all time.

4. Cris Carter- Wide Receiver (1990-2001)

After years of being denied entry to the Hall of Fame, Carter finally got voted in this year. He is ninth all time in receiving yards (13,899) and fourth in touchdown catches (130) but Carter’s ability to come up big in clutch situations is what Vikings fans remember. Carter was a big reason why the Vikings had success in the late 1990s and early 2000s, despite never getting to a Super Bowl.

5. Chris Doleman- Defensive End (1985-1993, 1999)

Doleman only played nine of his 15 seasons with the Vikings, but in that time he compiled 88.5 sacks, 29 forced fumbles, and 14 fumble recoveries. His 21 sacks in 1989 was the all-time season sack record until Michael Strahan broke it in 2001.

6. Randy Moss- Wide Receiver (1998-2004, 2010)

Moss will go down as the most loved and hated receiver in history. Playing on several different clubs, Moss is ranked third on career receiving yards and second in receiving touchdowns in history. He set the all-time season record with 23 touchdown catches in 2007 and has been on the two highest scoring offenses in history. Despite all these numbers, Moss has never been a part of a super bowl-winning team.

7. John Randle- Defensive Tackle (1990-2000)

Randle is one of the most high-energy players to ever don a Vikings uniform, and the fans shared that energy. Playing 11 seasons with the Vikings, Randle recorded 114 sacks, 25 forced fumbles and nine fumble recoveries. He went undrafted in the 1990 draft, coming from a Division II program, and was a dominant force his entire Vikings career, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.

8. Paul Krause- Safety (1968-1979)

Krause is another Minnesota defensive player who saw much success in the 1970s. To this day, Krause holds the record for interceptions over a career with 81, 53 of which came as a Viking. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.

9. Adrian Peterson- Running Back (2007-_)

The only active Viking on this list, Peterson has made it a goal to be the best running back of all time. Running for 2,097 yards last season only helped him, as he is ranked 33 in career rushing yards with 8,849. Already the best running back in Vikings history, Peterson has set his goal for 2013 to be 2,500 yards.

10. Randall McDaniel-Offensive Guard (1988-1999)

McDaniel was the dominant interior lineman of his era, as he paved the way for five 1,000 yard rushers and four 3,000 yard passers. Add to this the fact that he made it to 12 consecutive pro bowls, you undoubtedly have one of the best guards in history, and also, one of the best Vikings.

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Adrian Peterson’s 2012 Season Best Ever By A Running Back

No, Adrian Peterson did not break Eric Dickerson’s season record of 2,105 yards, set in 1984. He fell nine yards shy. No, he did not record the highest average yards-per-game in the course of a season. That record is still held by O.J. Simpson from his 1973 season with the Buffalo Bills. Nor did he come within 15 touchdowns of LaDainian Tomlinson’s 2006 record of 28 touchdowns in a season. So with all this said, how then can one justify that Adrian Peterson had the best season ever for a running back in 2012?

Let’s go back to Christmas Eve of 2011. The Minnesota Vikings were playing the Washington Redskins in a meaningless game as both teams were out of playoff contention. It was the third quarter, and the Vikings gave Peterson the ball. It all happened so fast. As soon as Peterson passed the line of scrimmage, Redskins safety DeJon Gomes went low on Peterson’s left leg. He had to be helped off the field after writhing in pain, and it was soon confirmed by team doctors that Peterson had indeed torn both his ACL and MCL. The meaningless 2011 season was over, but the 2012 season was now in jeopardy.

Photo by Mike Morbeck Photography

Photo by Mike Morbeck Photography

Peterson refused to mope around. Days after his injury, he had the surgery, and promised Viking nation and the world of football that he would be ready for the 2012 season opener. Naturally there was much doubt, as players generally take an entire calendar year to get back to where they were prior to injury.

Adrian Peterson was back on the field practicing in under eight months and was ready to start the season opener on September 9.

He started the season slow, as one might expect. He was still gaining back some of the explosiveness that he had come to be known for. In fact, it took him until week four to run for his first 100-yard game, which he did against Detroit.

Then something changed. Week seven against the Arizona Cardinals came along and Peterson exploded for 153 yards. He would go on to run for 100 yards or more in every game for the rest of the season except in Week 16 against Houston, where he was held to 86 yards.

Most impressive was how Peterson ended the season. In the month of December alone, he ran for 861 yards which was more than the starting running backs of 15 teams accomplished throughout the entire season. Most importantly, however, this late effort allowed the Vikings to win their final four games and make it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

So numbers aside, why is Adrian Peterson’s 2012 outing the best ever? Let’s put it this way, he was the Vikings offense. The Vikings’ passing offense was ranked 31 out of 32 teams, and when star receiver Percy Harvin went down, nobody else stepped up. Opposing defenses took advantage and put eight to nine men in the box. In other words, they knew Peterson was getting the ball…and they still couldn’t stop him.

The Vikings’ star player ran for 2,096 yards at the end of the season, and while this wasn’t enough to break Dickerson’s record, he carried the ball 31 less times than Dickerson. And he did all this ten months removed from an ACL and MCL tear.

While records and statistics won’t show it, these are the reasons why Adrian Peterson’s 2012 season is the greatest ever by a running back.

NFC North Q&A

It’s that unfortunate time of the year again, where professional football stories are confined to which players are unhappy about their contracts, speculation of which team will go after which free agent in March, and so on. Since there isn’t going to be much of any interest in the NFL realm until Feb. 20, when rookie hopefuls will be strutting their stuff at the Indianapolis combine, now is a good time to look towards the future of the division.

This week I got a chance to sit down with Nick Amatangelo, the sports editor of the Loyola Phoenix at Loyola University Chicago. Amatangelo is also an avid, but level-headed Green Bay Packers fan (a true rarity!) The interview itself went as follows.

Purple Horns: Nick, thank you so much for taking the time to sit down and talk NFC North football with me.

Nick Amatangelo: No problem, I’m happy to chat.

PH: The Chicago Bears finished last season at 10-6 and missed out on a playoff berth due to losing a tiebreaker against the Minnesota Vikings. Do you think that the Bears will be back in the mix in the 2013 season?

NA: That’s tough to say. [New head coach] Marc Trestman wants to bring a big change to the offensive side of the ball, which will require bringing in pieces for Cutler. You could probably expect them to need two drafts to shore up that offensive line and maybe add a weapon or two, so I’d say they’ll probably be back in the playoffs in either 2014 or 2015.

Photo by Mike Morbeck Photography

Photo by Mike Morbeck Photography

PH: Speaking of the playoffs, the Vikings were one of the surprise teams of the 2012 season. Do you see them replicating their success in 2013?

NA: If [running back] Adrian Peterson does anything like he did this past season and they add a receiver or two, the offense could be a lot more consistent. I do think the Vikings overachieved a little last season, but if they have another good draft, I could definitely see them back in the playoffs in 2013.

Photo by Mike Morbeck Photography

Photo by Mike Morbeck Photography

PH: The Packers won the division as most expected, but they weren’t as explosive as in 2011. Longtime veteran receiver Donald Driver has elected to retire and signs point to receiving star Greg Jennings leaving for free agency. Will the Packers have enough weapons in 2013 to win the division again?

NA: Absolutely. Randall Cobb is one of the up and coming stars in the NFL and Jordy Nelson and James Jones still offer a strong enough receiving corps for this team to be effective. Plus they have arguably the best quarterback in the league throwing them the ball.

Photo by Mike Morbeck Photography

Photo by Mike Morbeck Photography

PH: The Lions took a big step backwards last season despite Calvin Johnson having a historic season as a receiver. What will they have to do to get back into the playoffs in 2013?

NA: I don’t know if they can get back to the playoffs next year, or the year after. They definitely overachieved in 2011. The problem is Calvin Johnson is the whole offense and you can’t have an offense built like that. Even if they add some receivers and a good running game, the defense is still a mess. It’s going to take time to fix that club. You have to figure that the days of Coach Schwartz are also numbered.

PH: With three teams with 10 wins or more, is the NFC North the best division in football?

NA: Absolutely. This season, absolutely. Next season might be different though. The Bears and Lions won’t get 10 wins. The Vikings probably won’t get 10 wins. The Packers should get 10 wins, but who knows. From top to bottom, the NFC North is the best division in the NFL, with the rising NFC West being a close second.

PH: Which team in the NFC North will have the best offense in 2013 and which will feature the best defense?

NA: The offense has to go to the Packers at this point. They have the best quarterback in football. If they fix the line up, you’re looking at a very, very good offense. For defense, I actually think the Vikings have a slight edge over the Bears right now. Lots of up and coming stars in Minnesota.

PH: Finally, the question of big debate. Which team has a worse offensive line, the Bears or the Packers?

NA: They’re the two worst offensive lines in football, hands down. I’d say the Packers have the worst, but it’s masked because Rodgers is so good at scrambling and throwing on the run. They’re both awful though.

By paulcanavati Posted in NFL