Thoughts from an Island Girl
What you are seeing is the demarcation line of a changing weather pattern. Cold air will move in waves and ultimately change our viewing habits as pictures of snow and snow drifts will prevail for at least, a few weeks.
This is the time of the year that weather takes it’s most decided turn toward wintry-like conditions. And for all the consternation towards Forecasters, we actually do quite well. A snow forecast or one that includes icy conditions is by far the hardest. It is largely easier to forecast for Hurricanes than where it is going to snow and where it might be freezing rain or just rain.
KGSO GFSX MOS GUIDANCE 12/19/2012 0000 UTC
FHR 24| 36 48| 60 72| 84 96|108 120|132 144|156 168|180 192
WED 19| THU 20| FRI 21| SAT 22| SUN 23| MON 24| TUE 25| WED 26 CLIMO
X/N 65| 41 54| 38 47| 28 49| 29 55| 33 54| 38 59| 43 57 30 49
TMP 54| 43 51| 38 38| 30 42| 31 46| 36 46| 40 51| 45 49
DPT 34| 35 47| 30 19| 18 19| 18 21| 25 29| 33 39| 40 39
CLD CL| CL OV| OV PC| CL CL| CL CL| PC OV| OV OV| OV OV
WND 7| 4 9| 15 25| 16 19| 8 8| 5 8| 5 9| 6 11
P12 2| 10 69| 81 11| 3 0| 5 9| 12 20| 41 42| 41 41 22 23
P24 | 77| 87| 3| 9| 25| 56| 63 33
Q12 0| 0 2| 3 0| 0 0| 0 0| 0 0| 2 |
Q24 | 2| 2| 0| 0| 0| |
T12 0| 0 6| 9 1| 0 0| 0 0| 0 1| 2 3| 4 3
T24 | 0 | 13 | 3 | 0 | 0 | 2 | 5
PZP 5| 7 6| 7 9| 10 13| 22 15| 12 10| 11 11| 11 12
PSN 3| 0 0| 7 44| 52 40| 7 1| 6 0| 0 0| 0 0
PRS 4| 1 0| 24 29| 24 2| 6 4| 5 3| 2 3| 3 4
TYP R| R R| R S| S S| Z R| R R| R R| R R
SNW | 0| 0| 0| 0| 0| |
For the initated this forecast is significant. First of all, the more long range, the more suspect temperatures are and the hints of much colder air would indicate a downward trend overall, in our temperatures. This computer model is for Greensboro, North Carolina.
THIS TIME VERY COLD ARCTIC AIR WILL BE IN
PLAY... BUT THE EXTENT OF THE COLD AIR DOWN THE EASTERN SEABOAR IS
PROBLEMATIC. THE MAIN QUESTIONS FOR OUR REGION WILL BE THE EXTENT OF
CAD THAT CAN DEVELOP BEFORE THE PRECIPITATION ARRIVES... AND TO WHAT
EXTENT THIS CAD WILL HAVE ON THE EVOLUTION OF THE STORM. THE LATEST
MODEL SUITE CONTINUES TO INDICATE EVEN STRONGER AND "CUT OFF" MID
LEVEL CYCLONES... SUGGESTING A MILLER B TYPE WINTER STORM.
I want you to note this part of the forecast discussion. This indicates that the actual temperatures are in question. More cold air than expected could be the difference between snow and rain. So if things get squirrely here, then you will know why.
And the impact of even winter storms can hit in so many ways. Emergency planning includes the availability of de-icing agents like salt for the roads and Urea for runways. Delays caused by snowfall and aircraft icing can virtually shut down an airport.
With this in mind, comes the refrain of Christmas Carols heralding long snowy days with snow drifts and the sounds of snow blowers. It marks a time where football fields can be covered in snow and yard markings are revealed by snow shovels and the aforementioned snow clearing equipment.
For the kids it brings the potential snow days. Kids will secretly pray for a big snow and the resultant school cancellations. Green Bay and Minnesota Vikings fans will go to games and take their shirts off, just baiting Jack Frost and Mother Nature with potential hypothermia. The usual talk of frozen tundra and the surreal site of snow falling like in a snow globe.
A bit of wintry fare for everyone. By late morning and early afternoon parents are getting on edge, as their children trudge ice and snow into the house and where Frosty was a pristine white, he becomes sullied by dogs and slush.
So where is all this going and certainly, how does it pertain to sports?
Well, there is a shifting from Spring-like weather to the caustic and unrelenting cooler air that marks this time of year. And that change is nigh at hand. We will see a major change by the end of this week and after. And while temps may rebound upwards for awhile, even parts of the Southeastern USA, will see some potential wintry like conditions and maybe even, significant snowfall.
And should I be wrong about that, wind chill factors will give you a winter wonderland sans snow and a dark gray overcast and cold biting days.
So, if we are fortunate, we will see those Thomas Kincaid pictures reproduced in our own backyards and city blocks. We will experience the ice skating and the sounds of happy children packing snow balls and seeing if the stories of Frosty’s coming to life.
As I mentioned the change is now imminent and the snows will no longer be relegated to Mt Olympus but the valleys around us as well.
This is the first installment of NFL Lucubrations
in 2011, and most likely the only one.
Ain't That A Kick In The Head
Ndamukong Suh is a throw back player stuck in a sad time in the NFL, otherwise known as the Goodell Valley. First he got screwed out of the Heisman Trophy, and award that is supposed to go to the best player but goes to the most popular quarterback, running back or wide receiver, two years ago.
He destroyed NFL offenses in his rookie season in 2010, quickly gaining respect and fear from his opponents. Suh hits hard and often, thus drawing critics who have been brainwashed by Goodell to worship just the offensive side of the football.
Suh isn't producing as much this year, most likely the infamous sophomore jinx being the culprit, but he is still producing at a good rate. He isn't going to match last years tackles and sacks totals, and that will be helped by the fact he is going to serve a two game suspension for stomping an opponent out of frustration on Thanksgiving.
Part of the frustration is the fact that the Detroit Lions defensive line has not met expectations this season. Suh, the 2010 Defensive Rookie of the Year, was surrounded by more talent than he had ever played with before. He is spending his second season lined up next to Corey Williams, but the veteran is having maybe the worst season of his eight-year career.
Defensive ends Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril have combined for 13 sacks so far, but they have offered little in run support with just 37 tackles. Linebackers Justin Durant and Stephen Tulloch were two veterans signed as free agents before this year, but the duo has only 107 combined tackles. Pat Angerer, of the Indianapolis Colts, and Pro Bowler London Fletcher, of the Washington Redskins, have at least that many tackles by themselves.
Detroit used their first round draft pick this year on defensive tackle Nick Fairley, only to get just six tackles in six games so far. Dreams of this unit being Detroit's second "Fearsome Foursome" have not come about, with Suh and Fairley reminding no one of the great Roger Brown or Alex Karras in the 1960's.
Suh plays with a mean streak, one that recalls historians of "Mean" Joe Greene of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Greene, a member of both the pro and collegiate Hall of Fame's, also was the Defensive Rookie of the Year as a defensive tackle. Suh may not match the streak of 10 consecutive Pro Bowls to start out his career like Greene did, but there are other similarities between the pair.
Like Suh, Greene hated to lose and would often explode if frustrated. During a game against the Cleveland Browns in 1975, Greene repeatedly kicked the opposing center in the groin. "Mean Joe" would also bat the ball away from centers during games where his team was losing.
Not only does he own four Super Bowl rings as a player, he has earned two more as a coach and consultant since retiring. A two-time winner of the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, there are few players in the history of professional football more respected and beloved.
Yet Suh is getting scorn for the same types of actions. Matt Slauson, a guard for the New York Jets, went to reporters to let them know he did not like Suh while the two were teammates at the University of Nebraska. Slauson then tried to say few of his fellow Cornhuskers liked Suh as well, yet not one of those teammates have corroborated these claims.
Some think Slauson's real issue is that he spent most of his time under performing in an injury-riddled collegiate career, which caused him to drop all the way to the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Others believe the cause of his ire was from being thrashed around by Suh continuously in inter-squad scrimmages during practice.
Slauson and others believe Suh's foot stomp of Evan Dietrich-Smith of the Green Bay Packers was not unintentional, which Suh initially claimed it was. The star defensive tackle later apologized for the incident, but still garnered a suspension because he currently is carrying the tag as the dirtiest player in football.
Most of the media, many who never have played football or sports of any kind, claim Suh crossed the line of sportsmanship. While that may hold some truths, the game of football is bereft with emotions that can sometimes be borderline psychotic. As the legendary Jack Tatum, a Pro Bowl safety, once said, " I like to believe my best hits borderline on felonious assault".
That attitude of the game has been castrated by Goodell and rules he has invented like "putting too much weight on the quarterback". It is a game biased in offense and geared to carry the quarterback, one where defenses are now merely temporary obstacles at best.
After the incident on Thanksgiving, reporters were quick to run and get quotes from current and former players. Yet these came from offensive players, men who are basically the enemy of the defense. An outraged is expected from these types.
Playing in an atmosphere as antiseptic as a hospital, the modern defender must watch now only how high, low, or hard he hits a player holding the ball. They must engage an offensive lineman with kid gloves because blockers today are allowed to extend their arms and basically hold on each play, making it extremely difficult for a defender to get near the football.
Suh will have to go the rest of his career carrying the burden of an unjust label that comes from him playing the game with passion. He may have the respect of those who paved the NFL path to get get this game a multi-billion dollar empire, but Suh now has to carry the ire of the current leadership intent on making the game plush and cozy for quarterbacks and other offensive players.
This isn't his first fine, and it may not be his last suspension. If it is, we may soon see a docile Suh playing out the string of his career for a paycheck, something often witnessed in the game today, instead of striving for greatness.
Greatness that has made men like "Mean Joe" Greene and others some of the most recognizable and respected people in all of sports. If Suh wants to attempt to match that type of success, people like Roger Goodell need to get off of his back and let the man play this child's game with all of the zest he can muster. True gridiron legends are made by the man, fans and game, not meddling bores sitting in a posh office on Park Avenue in New York City.
Losing Isn't For Everyone
Cleveland Browns star Josh Cribbs was recently lamenting how he has experienced just 38 victories in the 107 games he has played with the club since joining them in 2005. With a new coach this season, his third with Cleveland, the results have been pretty much the same as they have been his entire NFL career.
The 2007 season was the best the Browns have had in his time there, where they went 10-6. Not only is it the only winning season he has experienced, but Cribbs also made the first of his two Pro Bowls that year after leading the league in all-purpose yards, kickoff return yards, and an average of 30.7 yards per kickoff return.
After setting a NFL record with eight touchdowns via kickoff returns in 2009, his last Pro Bowl year, Cribbs' production on special teams fell off in 2010. He has had a resurgence this year, but he is not satisfied because the new kickoff rules have made opportunities lessen for him.
He doesn't just return kicks or punts, but he is also does a bit of everything on offense. Cribbs was a quarterback in college, so Cleveland has had him rush the ball 121 times and toss 12 passes with them. He is also a productive pass catcher who is used in multiple wide receiver sets. Cribbs has snagged 88 passes so far, but his role has increased in the offense this year and he already has a career high mark in receptions with 29.
Despite the fact he is tired of losing, Cribbs will most likely spend 2012 in Cleveland. His contract will expire after that year, but the market for 30 year old return men may not be as desirable in the free agent market as he may hope.
Yet Cribbs harkens back memories of other legendary Browns return specialists. Men like Eric Metcalf, Greg Pruitt, Dennis Northcutt, Gerald McNeil, Hall of Famers Bobby Mitchell and Leroy Kelly are just a few greats who spent years exciting Browns fans through the years.
Some will say this current Cleveland franchise isn't the same one that ties into the fantastic Browns teams that won eight championships between 1946 and 1964. That team went to Baltimore in 1996 and became the Ravens. This version of the Browns was born in 1999 and has had just two winning seasons since.
This may not be the Browns that sent 16 men to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but the fans of Cleveland's Dawg Pound just want a few more wins. It is refreshing to see a guy like Cribbs, a real leader of the team, say what is obvious.
It is also heartening for Browns fans to know they have players whose desire to win is that immense. Many men have been in Cribbs situation of being with a franchise in an era of losing, but there are also many stories where perseverance was later paid off by championship victories.
It will take some time for team president Mike Holmgren to show results in his attempt to rebuild the team, but Cribbs realizes his window as a productive player shrinks with each contest that passes by. The team is young, but there has been sporadic signs in 2011 that the Browns will improve sooner or later.
Sooner is not soon enough for Cribbs, so Cleveland can expect him to fight until the end. It has been what Cribbs has done since he joined the NFL as an undrafted free agent.
Blame The Coach For My Tears
Many Philadelphia Eagles fans have called for the firing of Andy Reid, the winningest head coach in franchise history, for years despite the fact his teams have won 122 out of 202 games since he was hired in 1999. That rage in helped by the fact the Eagles haven't won a championship since 1960.
Reid even has a winning record in the playoffs, but his teams only reached the Super Bowl once. He smoothly transitioned the squad from the Donovan McNabb Era last year, but the squad has hit a few bumps this season despite spending millions in the free agency market.
When fans saw the Eagles load their roster with Pro Bowlers like Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Cellen Jenkins, Vince Young, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Ronnie Brown, everyone expected the team to be headed for at least a division title in the NFC East. Many saw a Super Bowl ahead, which included yours truly.
But it hasn't worked out that way. Much like many other teams in professional sports history that doled out millions of dollars and got undesirable results, the Eagles have fallen flat on their faces in 2011. Things have fallen so far that Philadelphia was dealt their eighth loss already after getting stomped 31-14 by a young and rebuilding Seattle Seahawks team that has spent this season struggling themselves.
Owner Jeff Lurie is known for his loyalty, so there is hope he won't bow to a few fickle fans who starve for a trophy despite not knowing much about the game. Reid has made a few gambles that ended up being mistakes, like putting Juan Castillo in charge of the defense after the assistant had worked the offensive side of the ball the last 16 years with the team.
Trying to fill the shoes of Jim Johnson has been impossible since the guru died of cancer in 2009. Sean McDermott was fired after replacing Johnson, but he quickly found work with the Carolina Panthers. Yet fans need to realize the defense of 2011 is about the same as last year as far as yards and points allowed.
With the addition of Asomugha, Bryant, Babin, Rodgers-Cromartie, as well as retaining Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel, fans expected a huge improvement. The offense is also scoring four points less per game than they did last year, which reflects on Reid.
Quarterback Michael Vick, the man who replaced McNabb, looks like a $100 million mistake. He still remains injury-prone, but he has also regressed from last year when he looked like he finally adjusted to passing in the pocket. Young, who has filled in a few times after Vick went down, has also played erratically in his place.
Brown played so poorly that the Eagles looked to trade him weeks ago. But it isn't just the money Lurie has tossed that has hurt this team. It is the cash he hasn't yet passed out that ultimately became an issue.
DeSean Jackson had made two Pro Bowls in his previous three years with the team. An all-purpose wide receiver, the diminutive Jackson has been a threat catching, running, or returning punts for Philadelphia.
With his output, Jackson wanted a raise in pay. Lurie and his staff seemed more inclined to discuss this after 2011, considering the owner spent a fortune in free agency. Since this moment, Jackson has been a petulant child more inclined to be clubhouse cancer rather than a productive player.
What is confusing about his behavior is the fact Jackson went to the prestigious University of California, Berkeley., a school noted for their scholastic endeavors. All Jackson has done is lower his value with his behavior, so he wont be getting the cash he once sought.
Reid might catch the blame of Jackson's histrionics by some, but the coach has been trying to appease an ego while trying to get his 2011 to learn how to win. It is a juggling act that has not fared well for the team.
Coaches like Jack Del Rio have been fired already, even though that head coach was destined for this result after the owner forced him to cut his starting quarterback to save money. Men like Norv Turner and Tony Sparano should soon follow him to the unemployment line once this season concludes.
But Reid deserves a better fate. Some will say his players laid down on him this year, which should necessitate a change, but the unfamiliarity of a roster loaded with stars might need more time to gel. A squad in need of a real training camp, something the NFL was not afforded this year because of the players lockout.
After all of his productive years of service, Reid deserves one more season. A real season where he is afforded time to instill his philosophies into the newcomers, and possibly get rid of some distractions.
Every head coach is hired to be eventually fired because nothing lasts forever in the NFL other than legacy. Fans of Philly might be tough critics, but what is one more season to a group that hasn't seen a trophy in over 40 years?
Punches Hurt At Any Age
Many know how Canadian Football Hall of Famers Joe Kapp and Angelo Mosca brawled a week ago at a luncheon to discuss a cheap shot Mosca put on a teammate of Kapp's during a title game in 1963. Many may not know that the history of these men have NFL ties that still reverberate today.
When Kapp was drafted in the 18th round of the 1959 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, he basically was forced to the Canadian Football League because the Redskins never even bothered to contact him. Kapp is Hispanic and the Redskins were the last NFL team to integrate in 1962.
He was coaxed to join the Calgary Stampeders by legendary general manager Jim Finks. Two seasons later, he was traded to the B.C. Lions for four players, soon turning the team into a winner.
Leading them to the Grey Cup in 1963, the Lions faced Mosca's Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Mosca, whose nine Grey Cup appearances is a record, was a defensive tackle who was known as the meanest man in the CFL.
Kapp had a teammate named Willie "The Wisp" Fleming, a star halfback who would later be inducted into Canadian Football Hall of Fame himself. Fleming, who still holds the record for the longest play from scrimmage in CFL history, was tearing up the league during this time. Not only is Fleming the first 1,000-yard rusher in Lions history, he averaged 9.7 yards per carry in 1963.
Fleming went out of bounds after a carry, Mosca barreled into the prone player and knocked Fleming out of the contest. The Lions lost that game, but got revenge the following season by defeating Hamilton in the Grey Cup.
Kapp joined the NFL in 1967, thanks to Finks. Several franchises wanted his services, including teams in the American Football League, but Finks worked out a deal where his Minnesota Vikings waived a little-used halfback named Jim Young so that the Lions could sign him. Young would spend the next 13 seasons with the Lions and be named to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
Despite spending just three years with the Vikings, Kapp's Vikings made the first playoff appearance in franchise history. He made the Pro Bowl in 1969 and led Minnesota to the last NFL Championship Game ever. After winning that game, the Vikings went on to Super Bowl IV before losing to the Kansas City Chiefs of the AFL.
He had played that year without a contract, thanks to an option in his contract. Despite having tied a record by tossing seven touchdowns in a single game, the NFL would not allow teams to contact the free agent until late September of 1970.
Kapp signed with the Boston Patriots, which caused the team to give the Vikings a pair of first-round draft picks, and struggled with a team that had just two wins that year. The newly renamed New England Patriots then drafted Heisman trophy winner Jim Plunkett, who also happened to be a quarterback with Hispanic heritage, and turned Kapp away at their facilities when he reported to camp.
After deciding to retire after that encounter, he spent the next decade acting in television and movies. He returned to football in 1982 by becoming the head coach of the University of California, his Alma mater.
Not only is he the last coach to lead Cal to the Rose Bowl, Kapp oversaw his squad make "The Play". This is when the Golden Bears lateraled the ball five times on a kickoff return as the clock expired to defeat rival Stanford University.
After being fired in 1986, Kapp went back to the CFL in 1990 and became the general manager of the Lions. Though he he lasted just 11 games on the job, Kapp was the man who brought star quarterback Doug Flutie to the CFL.
Yet with all of that success, he did not forget what Mosca did to Fleming in 1963. Kapp was close with the halfback and had coaxed Fleming out of retirement in 1968 to try to play with Minnesota. Mosca became a Hall of Fame professional wrestler after he retired from the gridiron.
The popular video of Mosca swinging his cane and Kapp pounding his fists has been seen by many. Some have dubbed it a "geezers brawl" because both men are 74 years old. Yet there is much more respect to be had than humor.
These men played the game for passion, not cash. They had successes beyond that time, but the passion surely still burns in souls not nearly as withered and damaged as their bones. It beckons to the heart as to why a true football fan loves the game, as well as to past participants as to why they played it.
No one is calling for a re-match, but no one wants or expects these gridiron greats to ever lose their love for their teammates, fans, or the game itself. We need more of this passion to touch us all.
Yoooooooo! Dis iz 7thStoneFromTheSun again. OK, I struck out in da afternoon games las weak and only went 7-6
. I is now 104-67 overall. I knead two dew better dis time cuz it iz holidaze time.
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I got dis sneeky feelin da Panthers will win hear, cuz da Bucs just have let down demselves in 2011. Dey mite rebound dis weak,but I tink Cam will get er dun.
27 Buccaneers 24
Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots
Da Pats are in da middle of a run dat will sea dem win dere final eight games. I tink dat defense gets dem bounced from da playoffs, but a 13-3 record will look good.
34 Colts 20
Denver Broncos @ Minnesota Vikings
Da Teblow legend continues, but it is more an indictment of da crappy fundamentals of da NFL today. It is revoltin a NFL defense can't stop an option quarterback who can't throw da ball at all. Da Broncos defense is da reel savior of da teem.
17 Vikings 14
Tennessee Titans @ Buffalo Bills
Both teems 2011 playoff hopes iz on life support, but da Bills showed me a little sumfin las weak. I tink dey will build off dat big victory las Sunday.
28 Titans 24
Oakland Raiders @ Miami Dolphins
Da Raiders iz cummin off a big win las weak,while da Dolphins are just playin four pride. Oakland kneads two seel da deel by winnin games like dis.
27 Dolphins 21
Atlanta Falcons @ Houston Texans
Game of the Week
Houston rules dere divishun wif a too game leed, but dey got quarterback issuez and is stuck havin two start a third-string rookie. Dey even went too a retirement community and brought Jake Delhomme back to be da reserve.
Da Texans will knead to rely on dere excellent runnin game and underrated defense two win hear. Lawrence Vickers, an excellent blocking fullback, mite miss da game and put more stress on Arian Foster and Ben Tate two be big.
Atlanta has been incunsistent and mediocre all yeer. But dere run defense is ranked second best in da NFL in yards alloud. Wif a rookie Texans quarterback expectin to see eight or nine defenders in da box Sunday, Atlanta will need to refrain from giving up big plays while controlling the line of scrimmage.
Da Falcons offense has not been as good as expected dis yeer, mainly because quarterback Matt Ryan has played poorly much to often. Halfback Michael Turner, just 52 yards away from 1,000 rushing yards, will need to be big against a Texans defense that is the best in the NFL in yards alloud and happens to bee forth best in rushin yards given up.
Who wins da line of scrimmage will prevail hear. Atlanta is a game behind New Orleans in da NFL South, so dey must stay pace. Dis iz why I iz rollin wif dem hear.
23 Texans 14
Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Dese teems faced each other too weaks ago, wif Pittsburgh winning by a touchdown in a very closely contested battle. Even tho da Steelers gained more yards and had one less turnover, Cincinnati took it two dem.
I expect a replay really, but da Bengals are a game behind da Steelers in da AFC North and a loss hear will drop them in the Wild Card playoff quagmire with such average teems like da Jets, Broncos, and Titans.
I tink it goes to da wire.
21 Bengals 17
New York Jets @ Washington Redskins
Yeah, Mark Sanchez was a mistake to draft. Yeah, Rex Ryan ran his toe sucker much two much as his teem true frailties was exposed. Yeah, dis average teem only gets press cuz dey iz in New York.
Still, dey are very much in da AFC playoff race and should beet Washington two stay adrift in it. Dese too teems have faced each other just nine times before, and da Jets only win over da Redskins was a 3-0 barn burner in 1993.
23 Redskins 21
Kansas City Chiefs @ Chicago Bears
A battle of backup quarterbacks who knead a good rushing attack and defense too win. Da Bears.
24 Chiefs 10
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns
Da Ravens have had a habit of playin down to lesser oppossition in 2011, while da Brownies almost pulled off a big upset over da Bengals las weak. PLUS da Dawg Pound will never forgive Art Modell and will have extra venom four Baltimore.
24 Browns 17
Dallas Cowboys @ Arizona Cardinals
Now dat da Cowboys sit alone on top of da NFC East, dey knead to win deez type of games to stay dere.
27 Cardinals 17
Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants
Remember las weak how I told ya'll da Jints defense would get steamrolled by da Saints? What do yous tink da Pack iz gunna do? Capeesh?
35 Giants 20
Saint Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers
At da beginning of dis seesun, most taught da Rams would be 9-2 and da Niners 2-9 now. Dat iz why dey play da games.
27 Rams 14
Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints
I was one of dem who had Detroit goin two da playoffs dis yeer, but a loss hear will have dem drop another notch down on da ladder. Da Saints have to get dis two stay ahead of Atlanta in da NFL South.
I expect a high scoring affair, but I tink da Saints just got a few more weapons. If Detroit runs da ball well, dey got a shot.
38 Lions 31
San Diego Chargers @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Da Jags fired dere head coach dis weak, somethin da Chargers should have dun two dere head coach befour dis yeer even began. Why San Diego hasn't canned Norv Turner yet iz a question I have asked since 2009.
31 Jaguars 17
1. Green Bay Packers
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. New Orleans Saints
5. San Francisco 49ers
6. New England Patriots
7. Houston Texans
8. Dallas Cowboys
9. Atlanta Falcons
10. Oakland Raiders
11. Cincinnati Bengals
12. Chicago Bears
13. Detroit Lions
14. New York Giants
15. New York Jets
16. Tennessee Titans
17. Denver Broncos
18. Buffalo Bills
19. Philadelphia Eagles
20. Washington Redskins
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
22. Seattle Seahawks
23. San Diego Chargers
24. Kansas City Chiefs
25. Arizona Cardinals
26. Cleveland Browns
27. Carolina Panthers
28. Jacksonville Jaguars
29. Miami Dolphins
30. Minnesota Vikings
31. Saint Louis Rams
32. Indianapolis Colts
Welp,dat iz dat. I knead to get da fuck outta hear two do sum xmas shopping cuz yous alls knows dat dis goomba has a lot of hunnys to spread da mistletoe on in da cummin weeks. As dey say in Ol' Mexico= A.M.F.
Making predictions of an upcoming NFL season is basically akin to swinging a stick at a pinata blindfolded, yet without knowing if such a target truly exists. The reason of an educated guess can be leaned upon, yet there is no real science because too many unknown factors lurk in shadows set aside annually by the enemies of success.
Even with a 2011 season hurriedly smashed together after a players strike that killed much of the preseason, the league has gone on collecting the offerings of fans as this circus barks town to town. The actual play on the field may have degenerated some, but much of this stems from rules that were set out without much clear thought instilled.
As the NFL hits the midpoint of the 2011 season, there are already reasons to rejoice about the game. Some surprises have been peppered in with the unexpected and relied upon. As the pretend awards are passed out, on their way to the real ones in a few months, we look back at preseason predictions and compare them with the reality of here and now.
MVP : Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback, Green Bay Packers
I picked Rodgers to win this award a few months ago, and he has played as expected. His team, which relies on him heavily, is undefeated and showing they could be better than the Packers squad that won it all last year. I still think he walks away with the NFL MVP Award when he season ends, and Rodgers has done nothing to show why he won't yet.
Matt Forte, Frank Gore, Drew Brees, and Eli Manning are worth noting for their efforts so far.
Offensive Player of the Year : Fred Jackson, Halfback, Buffalo Bills
My preseason selection, Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens, has done nothing but show why I selected him. Yet Jackson is the biggest reason the Bills are in first place in the AFC East. He leads the NFL in rushing yards and is just 47 yards away from leading the league in total yards from scrimmage.
Jackson already had the respect of the league for his versatility, and it appears he is headed to his first Pro Bowl season. If he holds up this year, since the Bills rely on him so heavily, Buffalo could make the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
Rice, Forte, LeSean McCoy, Wes Welker, Calvin Johnson, and Steve Smith are all certainly capable of winning this award when the season ends.
Defensive Player of the Year : Jared Allen, Defensive End, Minnesota Vikings
The player I picked to win this award, Ndamukong Suh, has been average for most of this season. Allen has been awesome all season. He is tied with the most fumbles forced, fumbles recovered, and passes defended amongst all defensive linemen.
He leads everyone with 12.5 sacks and is fourth in tackles amongst defensive linemen. Allen has also found time to intercept a pass. While the Vikings have struggled this season, it could be a lot worse if Allen wasn't having the season he currently is. Minnesota has been mostly competitive because he keeps caving in offensive lines off the edge.
Nick Barnett, Kameron Chancellor, Darrelle Revis, Charles Woodson, and Jason Pierre-Paul are just a few players who could be considered for this award.
Offensive Rookie of the Year : Cameron Newton, Quarterback, Carolina Panthers
My selection, Daniel Thomas, has struggled with his health all year and is fourth amongst all rookies in rushing yards. Newton is third so far.
But it isn't just his legs that makes him special. Despite being the first draft selection of 2011, pundits expected him to struggle from the spread offense, that he played in college, to the pro style offense. Newton has had a few rookie struggles, but he has mostly stood out for his struggling Panthers.
He has performed so well that Carolina hardly runs the football this year despite giving halfback DeAngelo Williams just 75 carries so far after making him one of the highest paid halfbacks in the game before the season started.
Newton has already set team records, by throwing for 432 yards in one game and 854 yards in two consecutive games. His 422 yards passing in his debut is the most in NFL history, and the 854 yards thrown in his first two games is also a NFL record.
Not only is Newton the first rookie in NFL history to pass for more than 400 yards in first career start, as well as the first rookie in NFL history to pass for more than 400 yards in first two career starts, he is just the sixth quarterback ever to throw for over 400 yards in consecutive games.
He is the only player in NFL history with at least five rushing touchdowns and five passing touchdowns in his first five games, and he is one rushing touchdown away from having for most rushing touchdowns by a rookie quarterback.
Andy Dalton, who is having an excellent season so far as the starting quarterback of the Cincinnati Bengals, is the only rookie in the discussion with Newton. Dalton has done well, but the surprising Bengals sit on top of the AFC North right now because of their defense.
Newton's team is not winning much yet, but the future appears bright for this 6'5" 248 lbs monster who already has the respect of opponents. He has a better quarterback rating than Dalton, as well as over 900 more passing yards. He is already the leader of a rebuilding Panthers franchise, and one day could be the best quarterback in the league.
Defensive Rookie of the Year : Patrick Peterson, Cornerback, Arizona Cardinals
My pick, J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans, is playing very well and is certainly in the running. So are players like Mason Foster, Ryan Kerrigan, Von Miller, Akeem Ayers, Marcell Dareus, Phil Taylor, and Brooks Reed.
Peterson leads all NFL rookies in solo tackles, interceptions, passes defended, and is third in total tackles. But what separates him is the work he does on special teams. He is already the best punt returner in the league.
He leads in the NFL with three touchdowns off of punt returns, punt return yards, and a whopping 21.8 average off of 19 returns. Peterson is already within reach of several NFL records.
His three touchdowns is tied with Devin Hester as the second most by a rookie in NFL history and one away from the record Hall of Famer Jack Christiansen set in 1951. He is just 242 yards away from the record Louis Lipps set in 1984 for the most punt return yards ever by a rookie. He is also within reach of the 23 yards per return average Herb Rich set on 12 returns in 1950.
His 99-yard punt return is the second longest ever in NFL history. It happened in overtime against the Saint Louis Rams, and was the first overtime by a rookie off a punt return since Tamarick Vanover did it in 1995.
If Peterson keeps up even half of this pace, as many suspect he will, there should be an easy task for the voters on who is the 2011 Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Comeback Player of the Year : Ben Tate, Houston Texans
I picked Tate and he is already fulfilling expectations. He already has 623 rushing yards despite being basically a reserve with limited touches. He is averaging a very impressive 5.7 yards per carry as well.
This award generally goes to players who, like Tate, are coming back from a previous year ruined by injuries. It also can go to an improved player who had previously struggled. Men like Ryan Fitzpatrick and Alex Green are in the running based on those facts.
Arian Foster is the star of the Texans. Not only is he the 2010 rushing yards leader, he leads the team in rushing yards , attempts, and touchdowns this season. Yet he has a lead of just 33 yards over Tate despite 45 more attempts and having started every game but two for Houston in 2011.
It will be curious to see how much longer the Texans keep this duo in tact beyond 2011. Tate has just one start this year, a number he undoubtedly would like to change down the road. Houston has the most rushing attempts and second most running yards by a team so far this year, which is a big reason the Texans sit on top of the AFC South right now.
Tate seems a cinch to join Foster as a pair off 1,000-yard rushers for the Texans this year. He has shown no residual effects from the broken leg he suffered during a 2010 exhibition game either. He has given no reason why he shouldn't win the 2011 Comeback Player of the Year Award.
Coach of the Year : Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers
There really is no doubt who is leading here. Harbaugh is leading one if the NFC's better teams with a good defense and rushing attack. Yet Harbaugh also has had a tremendous positive influence on quarterback Alex Smith, who has performed well despite having his top two wide receivers struggling to stay healthy this year.
My selection, Steve Spagnuolo, has seen his team play poorly. The Niners are already running away with the NFC West title, and their rookie head coach is a huge reason why. If Harbaugh keeps it going, he may pass his younger brother John in accolades. He and John Harbaugh, a successful head coach with the Baltimore Ravens, are the first pair of brothers to be NFL head coaches.
Yoooooooooo! Dis iz 7thStoneFromTheSun, 3rd's cuzin, once again! Yo? I did crappy las weak, going 8-6. I iz now 80-50 overall, so lets get dis partee started. Capeesh?
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons
Game of the Week
Da winner gets two sit alone on top of da NFC South, even if Atlanta has played one less game so far. Both teems have average defenses, but da explosive Saints offense has looked better than the more balanced Falsons offense so far.
Matt Ryan has been inconsistent with Atlanta all yeer, but da defense has looked better in each of da las three weaks. Drew Brees has been mostly awesone for New Orleans all seasun, but da inconsistent Saints defense can get exposed by a good running teem.
If Michael "Burner" Turner gets off, Atlanta wins. If not, look for Brees to make da difference.
Atlanta 30 Saints 28
Tennessee Titans @ Carolina Panthers
I really iz flippin a coin on hear. Cam Newton mite prove me wrong.
Titans 27 Panthers 24
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals
OK, da Bungles have had a nice ride against da lesser teems. Now reality sets on.
Steelers 24 Bengals 20
Saint Louis Rams @ Cleveland Browns
YO! I rather have a labotomy den watch dis crap.
Rams 28 Browns 20
Buffalo Bills @ Dallas Cowboys
I tink da Bills fun ride is over. I don't tink much of da Cowboys, but I can sea dem winning hear.
Cowboys 27 Bills 24
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts
How many times in da Jags history have dey gone into Indianapolis expecting two win?
Jaguars 23 Colts 21
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs
Tim Teblow ran a win las weak, but da Chiefs will not allow dis.
Chiefs 31 Broncos 16
Washington Redskins @ Miami Dolphins
If da Skins lose hear, pack it up until 2012. John Beck gets his first win ever, at the expense of his former team.
Redskins 20 Dolphins 17
Arizona Cardinals @ Philadelphia Eagles
Kevin Kolb prolly won't play hear two get back at da Eagles for trading him. But Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will.
Eagles 31 Cardinals 20
Houston Texans @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Houston kneads dis, and da Bucs are wildly inconsistent. Dat Houston runbning game pulls it out.
Texans 28 Buccaneers 17
Baltimore Ravens @ Seattle Seahawks
Da Ravens tend two play down too competition and dey are goin to have a let down after a big win las weak. I tink it will be a close one hear.
Ravens 27 Seahawks 24
Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears
Da Bears are cummin off a big win las Monday, but da Lions know how two play dere division rivals.Det beet Chicago by 11 just over a month ago and sweep dis series to try to stay within reach of da Packers.
Lions 26 Bears 24
New York Giants @ San Francisco 49ers
I see a old school battle hear, where defense rules most of da game. I like da Niners defense much more den da Jints, but I tink Eli Manning is just a bit better den Alex Smith.
Giants 17 49ers 16
New England Patriots @ New York Jets
Dese are too flaewed teems dat we all expected more from. Flip a coin hear, da winner gets to sit on top of da AFC East. I'm going with the better defense.
Jets 23 Patriots 21
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
Da Pack just has two loose once. Right? Dis iz a game they very well could, but I tink dey isn't reddy yet.
Packers 34 Vikings 23
1. Green Bay Packers
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. Atlanta Falcons
4. Detroit Lions
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. New York Giants
7. Houston Texans
8. New York Jets
9. New Orleans Saints
10. Pittsburgh Steelers
11. Chicago Bears
12. Cinncinatti Bengals
13. New England Patriots
14. Buffalo Bills
15. Philadephia Eagles
16. Dallas Cowboys
17. Tennessee Titans
18. Kansas City Chiefs
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
20. San Diego Chargers
21. Seattle Seahawks
22. Oakland Raiders
23. Carolina Panthers
24. Jacksonville Jaguars
25. Minnesota Vikings
26. Washington Redskins
27. Arizona Cardinals
28. Saint Louis Rams
29. Denver Broncos
30. Cleveland Browns
31. Miami Dolphins
32. Indianapolis Colts
OK, dat iz dat. Now iz da time two go find a few honeys too hang out with, because yous knows dat I iz all about da honey. As dey say in Ol' Messico = A.M.F.
In 1960, Lamar Hunt joined men like Ralph Wilson, Bud Adams and Barron Hilton to start a new football league to compete with the NFL. The American Football League was the name of their league, the fourth league with that name to compete against the NFL.
Despite a rough start, this AFL would become, and still is, the one league that competed with the mighty NFL with success.
Hunt initially started his franchise in Texas, calling them the Dallas Texans. He tried to hire Tom Landry as his head coach, but the future Hall of Famer decided to take the same job title with the expansion Dallas Cowboys of the NFL.
He then tried to hire College Hall of Fame coach Bud Wilkinson, but Wilkinson decided to remain in the college ranks for three more years. He eventually did coach the St. Louis Cardinals for two seasons in 1978.
Then Hunt took a gamble on an assistant coach in the college ranks few knew of. Hank Stram would stay with Hunt until 1974, and the Hall of Famer is still the most successful coach in the history of the Chiefs franchise.
The Texans and Cowboys shared the Cotton Bowl, and the Texans were the AFL's top drawing team. After a rough start, Stram made a move that would turn things around by getting a Hall of Fame quarterback to lead his team.
The Texans had been signing several excellent players out of the grasp of the NFL, thanks to smart and aggressive leadership from Hunt. He recruited heavily in the black colleges of that era, something the NFL did not do.
Stram had been an assistant coach at Purdue University until 1955. While there, he got to work with a youngster named Len Dawson. Dawson was a first-round pick by the NFL in 1957, but was considered a flop by many up until that point.
Stram knew better, plus his team needed a quarterback. He coaxed Dawson to leave the Cleveland Browns and join his Texans in 1962.
The move paid off in spades, because the Texans ended up winning the title that year. Despite their success, Hunt was disappointed with the attendance figures and moved his team to Kansas City before the 1963 season. He renamed them the Chiefs.
The Chiefs remained a strong team, but Hunt knew the AFL needed to merge with the NFL for his team to survive. He and the other AFL owners challenged the NFL to a game between each leagues champions, because the NFL had been calling the AFL inferior.
Not too long later, while watching his kids play with a toy called a "Super Ball," Hunt came up with the idea of calling the championship game the Super Bowl.
The AFL and Chiefs lost the first game, but the leagues agreed to merge. The date set was before the 1970 season.
Yet, before the merger was official, the Chiefs sent the AFL out with a bang by winning Super Bowl V. It was the second time the AFL had won a Super Bowl, and it is still the only one the Chiefs have won. It was also, so far, the last one they have appeared in.
Yet the success of the Chiefs in the 1960's is a big reason why the AFC exists today. The Chiefs have put together many good teams since 1969, yet their 1993 squad has been the only one to reach the AFC Championship game.
The Chiefs have nine players inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame so far, though certainly more belong.
Here are the best offensive players in the history of the Chiefs not yet inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Quarterback : Bill Kenney
Kenney was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the 12th round of the 1978 draft. He was the 333rd player chosen overall, the second from last pick that year.
He actually ended up being Mr. Irrelevant for that draft, because the last pick of the draft never signed with the team due to injury. The Dolphins cut him in training camp, so Kenney tried out for the Washington Redskins the next year and was cut again.
In 1980, he made the Kansas City Chiefs roster as a backup. Kenney ended up starting three games that year due to an injury to the Chiefs starter Steve Fuller. He won two games and tossed five touchdowns.
Kenney started 13 games next year, tossing nine touchdowns and 16 interceptions, and won eight games. In the strike-shortened season of 1982, he tossed seven scores in the seven games he played.
Kansas City then used their first round draft pick of 1983 on Todd Blackledge, another quarterback. Kenney responded by having the best season of his entire career and set career best marks in most areas.
His 603 attempts for 346 completions led the NFL. He also threw for 4,348 yards and 24 touchdowns, as well as rushing for three more scores.
He was named to the Pro Bowl, and is the only Mr. Irrelevant to have done so.
He was on his way to matching those totals the next year, but got injured and missed half of the season. He threw for 2,098 yards on 151 completions and 15 touchdowns. The 1985 season saw Kenney start in ten games and toss 2,536 yards and 17 touchdowns.
He started 16 games over the next two years, getting 28 touchdown passes on 4,029 yards. After starting in five games in 1988 and not throwing a touchdown, the Chiefs waived Kenney.
He joined the Washington Redskins as a third-stringer in 1989, but never saw action. He then retired from the NFL.
Bill Kenney held the Chiefs record for most passing yards in a season for 11 years and still ranks behind Hall Of Famer Len Dawson and former Pro Bowler Trent Green in most categories in Kansas City Chiefs history.
He is certainly one to never forget.
Trent Green, Elvis Grbac, Cotton Davidson, Mike Livingston, and Steve Bono deserves mention.
Fullback : Curtis McClinton
McClinton was drafted in the 10th round of the 1960 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He had two years of college eligibility left, so he returned to school and was later a 14th-round pick of the 1961 AFL Draft by the Dallas Texans.
He signed with the Texans at the end of the 1961 season. He became a huge part of the 1962 team, being named AFL Rookie of the Year and to the Pro Bowl after forming a dynamic backfield with halfback Abner Haynes.
McClinton would then be named MVP of the 1962 AFL All-Star game.
Haynes, who also was a Pro Bowler and the first AFL Rookie of the Year ever, would often follow the great blocking of McClinton to pick up big chunks of yards.
The Texans won the AFL title that season, their last in Dallas. McClinton had a game-leading 24 carries, as the Dallas ground game lead the Texans to victory.
The team would relocate to Kansas City after the game. The 1965 season may have been the best of McClinton's career. He led the AFL with six rushing touchdowns, caught a career best 37 passes for three more scores, and led the team with a career best 661 rushing yards.
The Chiefs won the AFL title again in 1966, and McClinton was named to the Pro Bowl after leading all Kansas City running backs in receiving and grabbing a career best five touchdowns.
The Chiefs faced the NFL's Green Bay Packers in now what is referred to as Super Bowl I. McClinton became the first AFL player to ever score in a Super Bowl by catching a seven-yard pass to tie the game early in the second quarter.
After making the Pro Bowl in 1967, he got hurt and was replaced by rookie Robert Holmes in 1968. Kansas City used him as a reserve fullback and tight end the next year, taking advantage of his excellent blocking abilities.
He spent the entire 1969 season blocking, never touching the ball all season. The Chiefs would go on the win Super Bowl III and McClinton retired after the game.
When he retired, he was second on the Chiefs all-time rushing list. He still ranks eighth best. No Chiefs fullback has been to the Pro Bowl as much as McClinton.
Not only is Curtis McClinton a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame, but he is easily the greatest fullback in franchise history.
For those clamoring for the legendary Christian "The Nigerian Nightmare" Okoye at this slot, he did play fullback often. However, his greatest moments happened in one-back sets, making him also eligible as a halfback on this team.
Robert Holmes, Christian Okoye, Mack Lee Hill, and Tony Richardson deserves mention.
Halfback : Priest Holmes
Holmes went undrafted in 1997, so he signed with the Baltimore Ravens. He did not play much as a rookie, returning just one kickoff for 14 yards.
Things changed the next year immensely after the Ravens got rid of their 1996 backfield. Holmes became the primary back and ran for 1,008 yards.
Not only is he the first 1,000-yard back in Ravens history, but his 227 yards on 38 carries in the 11th week against the Cincinnati Bengals was a team record until Jamal Lewis set an then-NFL record with 295 yards in 2003.
Holmes spent 1999 banged up and Errict Rhett got most of the carries. Holmes still piled up 557 yards on just 89 carries, an outstanding 5.7 yards per carry average.
Baltimore drafted Lewis in 2000 and named him the starter. He responded with 1,364 yards, which helped the Ravens win Super Bowl XXXV. Holmes was still an important part of the offense, despite the fact Lewis touched the ball primarily.
Holmes ran for 588 yards and caught 32 passes, yet the Ravens rarely used him as they went from a Wild Card team to champions.
Now a free agent and disillusioned with his role, Holmes signed a contract with the Chiefs that was a relatively paltry sum. The move turned out to be a revelation for both Kansas City and Holmes.
He led the NFL with 1,555 yards on a career high 327 carries. He also caught 62 balls, and his 2,169 yards from scrimmage led the league.
While Holmes was named First Team All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl in 2001, he would duplicate those honors in each of the next two seasons as well.
The 2002 season may have been the best of Holmes career, despite the fact he missed the final two games because of injury. He was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year.
He ran for a career best 1,615 yards, averaged a career best 115.4 yards rushing per game, caught 70 passes, and led the NFL with 21 rushing touchdowns and 2,287 yards from scrimmage.
Holmes followed that up with an NFL record 27 rushing touchdowns in 2003, as well as catching a career best 74 balls.
While his record of 27 rushing touchdowns was broken in 2005, Holmes is tied with Emmitt Smith for the record as the only players in NFL history in consecutive season to have 20 or more rushing scores.
Holmes was having perhaps the best season of his career in 2004. In eight games, he had piled up 892 yards, ran for 14 touchdowns, and led the league with an average of 111.5 yards rushing per game. He was given the Ed Block Courage Award for his heroics both on and off the gridiron.
He was hurt during the eighth game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was lost for the season. Holmes came back the next year, but suffered an injury to his spine in the seventh game and was out for the season.
After sitting out of the entire 2006 season, Holmes tried to play in 2007. He appeared in four games, starting two. Averaging a career low three yards a carry and failing to reach the end zone for the first time since his rookie season, he retired.
No other Chief has run for more yards or touchdowns than Holmes. His 86 career rushing scores n the 14th most in NFL history.
While Kimber Anders ties Holmes with the most Pro Bowls by a halfback in Chiefs history, Holmes is the only one with three First Team All-Pro nods.
Despite carrying the ball just three years for the Ravens, he still ranks fourth in franchise history for career rushing yards.
The Chiefs have had a bevy of great running backs in their history, so there really is no wrong selection here. I chose Holmes for his historic four seasons for the Chiefs, something we may never see duplicated again.
Abner Haynes, Mike Garrett, Ed Podolak, Barry Word, Kimble Anders, Larry Johnson, Joe Delaney, Tony Reed, and Christian Okoye deserves mention.
Wide Receiver : Otis Taylor
Taylor was drafted in the fourth round of the 1965 AFL Draft by the Chiefs and the 15th round of the NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.
In those days, the NFL would "babysit" drafted players in hopes of keeping them from AFL scouts. However, Taylor crawled out of his hotel window to talk to legendary Chiefs scout Lloyd "Judge" Wells.
Wells ended up signing such great players like Hall of Famers Buck Buchanon, Willie Lanier, and Emmitt Thomas, along with many other great players.
The NFL was behind the times in those days when it came to small predominantly black colleges, something the AFL never was, despite having had several legendary players excel on their fields from those schools in the past.
Philadelphia not only lost Taylor to the AFL, they later cut sixth-round pick Garry "Ghost" Garrison and watched him become a Pro Bowl receiver for the San Diego Chargers. Rick Redman, a tenth-round selection, became a Pro Bowl linebacker for the Chargers.
Now a Chief, Taylor paired up with Pro Bowlers Chris Burford and Frank Jackson to give Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson an exciting trio of receivers.
While he was a reserve his rookie season, he still grabbed 26 passes, was second on the team in touchdown catches, and impressed everyone with his excellent and aggressive blocking.
Kansas City made him a starter in 1966, so Taylor tied Burford for the team lead of 58 receptions and eight catching scores. He also gained 1,297 yards, a whopping 22.4 yards per catch average that led the AFL, and was named a Pro Bowler and honored as a First Team All-Pro.
In the AFL title game that year, the Buffalo Bills did a good job on the Chiefs ground game. So Taylor and Burford became the primary weapons. Taylor caught five balls for 78 yards and a score as the Chiefs prevailed.
The victory propelled them into a Super Bowl I match up with the NFL's Green Bay Packers. Taylor caught four balls for 57 yards, but the Chiefs stopped the Chiefs running game cold and ended up winning 35-10.
He caught a career best 59 balls in 1967, leading the AFL with a career best 11 touchdown catches, but was somehow left off the Pro Bowl squad. He next two years were injury filled, causing him to miss three contests each year.
Yet he got healthy in time for the Chiefs playoff run in 1969. He caught just two passes in Kansas City's divisional playoff victory over the New York Jets, but they went for 74 yards and helped set up scoring opportunities.
Dawson completed just seven passes against the Oakland Raiders in the championship game, but Taylor grabbed three for 62 yards and helped set up key scored in the Chiefs 17-7 win.
In Super Bowl V against the Minnesota Vikings, he grabbed six balls for 81 yards. His 46-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter is an NFL Films staple, and it helped the Chiefs seal the franchises only Super Bowl victory.
Taylor went to the Pro Bowl again in 1971 after catching 57 passes for a league leading 1,110 yards. He also led the NFL with an average of 79.3 yards caught per game. He was also honored with his last First Team All-Pro nod.
The 1973 season was his last as a Pro Bowler, where he again caught 57 balls. Dawson began to lose starts to Mike Livingston, and running back Ed Podolak became Livingston's primary pass target.
After missing four games in 1974, he suited up for one game the next year and then retired.
No other Chief had more receptions or touchdown catches when he left the game. Though tight end Tony Gonzales has passed him in receptions and touchdowns caught, Taylor still ranks second and heads the list of all Chiefs wide receivers.
His three Pro Bowls and two First Team All-Pro honors also heads the list amongst all Chiefs receivers.
Ex-Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt often said Taylor deserved induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Not only was Taylor a great blocker with a fiery disposition, he was incredibly acrobatic and had enough speed to stretch the seam of the defense.
His career average of 17.8 yards on 410 receptions shows this. He was an extremely reliable receiver who the running backs depended on as much as his quarterback.
But Taylor was more than just a receiver and blocker. A wonderful athlete, the Chiefs had him carry the ball 30 times for 161 yards and three scores with them over the years.
Many Chiefs fans and observers will agree that Otis Taylor is the best wide receiver in team history.
Wide Receiver : Chris Burford
Burford was a ninth-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 1960 NFL Draft. He decided to sign with the Dallas Texans in the American Football League.
While having a sturdy build of 6'3" 220, Burford was far from a speedster. He was an incredible possession receiver who ran precision routes.
He caught 46 passes as a rookie while averaging a career best 17.2 yards per reception. Burford made his only Pro Bowl the next year after leading the team with 51 catches and gain a career high 850 yards.
Business began to pick up in 1962 when the Texans signed future Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson. He and Burford showed that they obviously spent several extra hours working on precision and timing.
The Texans won the AFL title in 1962 and Burford was named First Team All-Pro after leading the AFL with a career best 12 touchdown catches.
His 1963 season was his best, catching a career high 68 passes for 824 yards and nine touchdowns.
While having previously teamed up with Pro Bowler Frank Jackson at receiver, Burford was then teamed with Otis Taylor in 1965. While Burford led the team in receptions that season, despite missing three games, he and Taylor shared the title of most receptions in 1966.
The Chiefs won the AFL championship that year, propelling them to face the NFL's Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl I. While the Chiefs lost 35-10, Burford did leads the team with four catches for 67 yards.
He played one more season, catching a career low 25 balls, then retired.
His 391 career receptions was a team record until Taylor passed him with 19 more in 1974. Yet he still ranks fourth best to this day, and his 55 receiving touchdowns ranks third best.
Not only was Chris Burford the very first Pro Bowl and First Team All-Pro receiver in franchise history, his excellent route running and receptions along the sideline are still legendary.
He is a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame. Some say that the Dawson to Burford connection along the sidelines ranks right with the immortal Johnny Unitas to Raymond Berry connection.
Carlos Carson, Andre Rison, Frank Jackson, Stephone Paige, Henry Marshall, Eddie Kennison, and J.T. Smith deserves mention.
Tight End : Fred Arbanas
Before Tony Gonzales came to Kansas City to begin a career that will probably end up in Canton, many Chiefs backers had long been asking the Pro Football Hall of Fame to induct Arbanas.
He was drafted by the Dallas Texans in the seventh round of the 1961 AFL Draft. The Saint Louis Cardinals drafted him in the second round of the NFL Draft, but didn't offer as much money as the Texans did.
Arbanas quickly exploded onto the AFL scene and was the top tight end of the league immediately.
He was named to the Pro Bowl in five of his first six seasons as a player. He was also named First Team All-Pro three times.
He was an outstanding blocker and a big threat in the passing game. While most tight ends in his era were possession receivers, Arbanas could get deep and stretch the seam of the defense.
Not only did this free up receivers from being double-teamed, it opened up the excellent Kansas City ground attack even more.
His finest season may have been in 1964, where he matched his career high mark of 34 receptions. He also had a career best eight touchdowns and 20.2 yards per catch average.
He did not play the Pro Bowl that year because an injury late in the season caused blindness to his left eye for a lengthy period of time.
Besides being a great player, most people associated with the Chiefs in his era speak of what a great teammate and leader Arbanas was.
He was admired for his indomitable drive and will to win. Arbanas also had the propensity to come up huge in the Chiefs biggest games. His 29-yard touchdown catch in the 1966 AFL title game got the Chiefs on the board early in their 31-7 victory.
Injuries began to take their toll in 1968, which led to a decline in production as a receiver. Yet his blocking and leadership was as valuable as ever.
In his last three seasons, before retiring after the 1970 season, Arbanas caught 35 passes. His final year saw him miss the only eight games of his career.
Arbanas retired with a Super Bowl ring and three AFL Championship rings. His 198 catches for 3,101 yards and 34 touchdowns were all Chiefs records for a tight ends then, as were his five Pro Bowls and three First Team All-Pro nods.
While Gonzales has passed him in most categories, he still ranks second in those surpassed. Yet his career average of 15.7 yards per catch is easily better than the 11.9 Gonzales averaged.
What makes it much more impressive is the fact Arbanas dealt with a ten-yard chuck rule his whole career, while Gonzales just dealt with the five-yard rule put in place in 1978. His 34 touchdown receptions also rank the fifth best in Chiefs history.
Not only is Arbanas a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame, but he was named the starting tight end on the AFL All-Time Team that was selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters.
Fred Arbanas is the greatest tight end in AFL history, yet his numbers also measure up to Hall of Famers John Mackey and Mike Ditka. Those two are considered by many as the best NFL tight ends in the 1960's.
While Gonzales may now be called the best tight end in Chiefs history, Arbanas, a much better blocker, is not far behind.
Walter White and Jonathan Hayes deserve mention.
Tackle : Jim Tyrer
Tyrer was drafted in the third round of the 1961 American Football League draft by the Dallas Texans, the first draft the AFL ever held. He was the 22nd player chosen overall. He was also drafted in the 14th round of the NFL draft by the Chicago Bears.
Tyrer was named the starting left tackle immediately by the Texans, now in their second year of existence under the leadership of future Hall of Fame head coach Hank Stram. The Texans would go on to win the AFL Championship in 1962, as Tyrer was named to his first of nine straight Pro Bowl honors.
Hall of Fame owner Lamar Hunt, a founder of the AFL, was unhappy with attendance despite winning the title. Though he wanted to keep the team in Dallas, he decided to move the team to Kansas City and rename them the Chiefs because he was tired of sharing the same stadium, the Cotton Bowl, with the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL and suffering from low attendance figures.
Tyrer was unaffected by the transition, as he received the first of six straight First-Team All-Pro nods in 1965, establishing him as the top left tackle in all of professional football.
The Chiefs would win the 1966 AFL title, but it was also the first season the AFL and NFL decided to hold a championship game between the two leagues. Kansas City faced the Green Bay Packers of the NFL but lost the game 35-10.
In 1967, Hunt was watching his children play with a toy called a Super Ball. He then had the idea of calling the AFL and NFL title game the Super Bowl. The Chiefs would reach this game in 1969, the last one player between AFL and NFL teams before the two leagues merged.
It was also the season where Tyrer was named the AFL Offensive Lineman of the Year. Kansas City would win Super Bowl IV, dismantling the Minnesota Vikings 23-7. It has, so far, been the last Super Bowl in which the Chiefs have appeared in.
Tyrer missed two games in 1973 for the first time in his career. His string of 180 straight games played is the third-longest streak in club history, and he started in each one of them. Kansas City thought the 34-year old was nearing the end of his career because he had finished his second season where he failed to make the Pro Bowl. They traded him to the Washington Redskins.
He played in every game for the Redskins in 1974, though he mainly served as a back up to Ray Schoenke. He did, however, start in one game. Washington won their division, but were bounced from the playoffs in the first round by the Los Angeles Rams. Tyrer decided to retire at the end of the year.
Despite being the best left tackle in AFL history, he has yet to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Though he was a finalist once in 1981, no player in the history of professional football has more accolades than Tyrer and has failed to be inducted.
One reason may be because of the reason he died in 1980. Suffering from depression, Tyrer committed suicide after killing his wife. Though depression was not much of a subject to speak about in that era, it is as though the Hall of Fame voters have kept him out of Canton due to perhaps their lack of knowledge of this subject.
In recent years, professional football has almost begrudgingly acknowledged depression and the fact that it can occur after severe head trauma over a long period of time. "Post Concussion Syndrome" is the commonly used term and these effects have been brought to light by gridiron legends who have suffered from it following their football careers.
Hall of Famers like John Mackey and Mike Webster are two who have suffered from this type of trauma. A game thought to be so violent that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was seen on television contemplating banning the three-point stance from the game in an attempt to reduce head injuries.
Tyrer played in an era where offensive linemen were instructed to use their heads as weapons. They were told to bury their heads into the chests of defenders first.
This was also an era where offensive linemen were not allowed to use their hands like they do in the current game. They had to put their arms in the shape of a chicken wing, as they relied on quick feet and strong shoulders to take control of their opponents.
Opposing defensive ends were allowed to use their fists back then, and the head slap move was perhaps the most used method to beat blockers. While unable to defend themselves, offensive linemen lead with their heads as they had been taught.
Defenders would attempt to counteract this by dodging blockers, then slapping them upside their heads to get the blocker off balance. In doing so, they were given a clearer path to those who possessed the football.
Though Tyer regularly faced the opposing teams' best pass rushers, he was unflappable and consistent. Men like Hall of Famer Elvin Bethea, Rich "Tombstone" Jackson, Larry Eisenhauer, and Ben Davidson were just a few of the stellar defensive ends he faced each week for several seasons.
Davidson is the man who Tyrer admitted was the toughest opponent he faced. The respect was mutual. Davidson called Tyrer a "mountain of a man," though Davidson stood 6'8" and weighed 275 lbs., himself.
"He was easily the best blocker I ever faced," Davidson recalls. "He had power and finesse. He could have made an excellent guard, too. We were friends off the field, as Tyrer was all about good sportsmanship. "We used to go to the AFL All-Star games together on a bus. We would joke if either he or my teammate, Hall of Famer Jim Otto, had the biggest head in football. I often would say at banquets that Tyrer basically wore a big red trash can as a helmet when he played."
Davidson believes that Tyrer has long deserved his induction into Canton, as does Bethea. Bethea was inducted himself in 2003.
"Tyrer was the pioneer of big offensive tackles. He was the best blocker I ever faced" Bethea said. "I used to try to run as fast as I could upfield to get around him, but it rarely worked. It pissed me off that I couldn't defeat him, as I could with other left tackles regularly."
Bethea also admits he feared facing Tyrer. "He was THE preeminent left tackle in all of football. All other blockers I faced in the NFL were mediocre compared to him. He would just swamp me each game to where I would be lucky to beat him even once in a game," he said.
Paul Zimmerman, a Hall of Fame voter and writer for Sports Illustrated, has often said Rich "Tombstone" Jackson was the greatest pass rusher in pro football history and has long lobbied for his induction into Canton. Jackson, though he would like to be inducted himself, also has a tremendous amount of respect for Tyrer.
"It is a travesty that Jim Tyrer has yet to be inducted into Canton," he said. "He was one of the first big offensive linemen with quick feet to play pro football. Besides having good feet, he was crafty and smart. "You had to be prepared facing him, as the Chiefs won-loss record was proof of how excellent their players were. Tyrer was the top offensive lineman I ever faced, and that included the AFL and NFL."
Larry Eisenhauer, whose four Pro Bowls are tied with Bob Dee and Richard Seymour as the most in Patriots franchise history, also echoes Davidson, Bethea, and Jackson in thinking that Tyrer should have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame long ago.
"He was the best I ever faced," Eisenhauer recalls. "He was equally excellent run blocking and pass blocking. He was a very strong man, and I never looked forward to facing him. I really cannot believe he has not been inducted into Canton yet. He was the best left tackle in AFL history."
Tom Keating was a two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle who played on two AFL Championship teams.
"Jim Tyrer was one of the most dominant tackles in all football," he said. "When I was with the Raiders, Ben and I rarely ran stunts against Ed Budde and Tyrer. If I went first in the stunt, Jim would close down and I was faced with 6'6" and closer to 300 lbs. I was 6'2" and weighed 247 lbs."
"If Ben went first (took an inside rush), I had to loop way outside and by the time I got outside, Lenny Dawson was throwing the ball. Ben and I had much better luck one-on-one with Ed and Jim."
"Jim was a excellent drive blocker and was good at hooking the defensive players," said Keating. “He deserves induction into Canton."
If Tyrer has the respect of his peers, many who are amongst the finest to ever play, then it adds to further confusion as to why he has yet been given his long awaited induction.
One theory is a lingering disrespect to the American Football League itself. NFL players were told back then that the AFL was an inferior brand of football, full of players who lacked the skills to play in the NFL.
Homer Jones, a Pro Bowl wide receiver of the New York Giants, is known as the man who invented spiking the football after a touchdown and holds the record for most yards per catch for a career.
"We were told the AFL was a Mickey Mouse organization yearly to keep us from wanting to play there, even for more money. When we finally faced those guys, we realized that they were as good as us. Maybe even better in some areas," he said.
Jackson recalls his Denver Broncos played the first preseason contests between the two leagues.
"We played against both the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings," he said. "We weren't always the best team in the AFL, never winning more than seven games in a season in the entire time we spent in the AFL. We were told we had no chance against the NFL, but we won both games."
The AFL has just 30 players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame who once played in their league. Several joined the league just before the merger, having played the majority of their careers under the NFL umbrella. Only one, Billy Shaw, was inducted despite having played his entire career in only the AFL. At his ceremony, he was forced to wear a jacket that had the NFL logo emblazoned on it.
"There may be a lingering AFL disrespect when it comes to voters," said Ed Budde, an offensive guard also on the AFL's All-Time First Team and teammate of Tyrer for eleven years. He played alongside Tyrer and went to seven Pro Bowls himself.
"Jim played at a top level with great skill for a long time. His body of work is proof of his excellence, and he should be inducted into Canton," he said.
Many football fans and his peers believe Budde should also be inducted, but he has somehow not yet been given this honor.
For some reason, Canton has become the NFL Hall of Fame, instead of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Though several players spent time in other leagues, the Hall of Fame seems to make sure these contributors' biographies concentrate mostly on their NFL exploits.
The Cleveland Browns, who dominated the All-American Football Conference, never get their true respect as a dynasty because they came from another league initially.
There is a long list of AFL players awaiting induction into Canton to this day, as inferior modern players go in ahead of them. One theory for this is that the NFL still is upset at being forced to merge with the AFL, because the upstart league was taking viewers and money away from them.
Voters living in the wallets of the NFL have chosen to ignore gridiron excellence for fear of losing their positions. Positions they no longer sit in with the pure intentions they once held.
Though many feel the way Tyrer's life ended was the reason for his exclusion from the Hall of Fame thus far, it also points out another hypocrisy of Canton. When Michael Irvin was inducted in 2007, it was met by a huge backlash from NFL fans who couldn't understand his induction ahead of Art Monk and others, because of his notorious lifestyle as opposed to the squeaky clean lifestyle of others.
The official reason given for Irvin's induction is that garnering the honor is based on a player's body of work on the field, not off of it. If this truly is the case, then it shows the flaw in logic for omitting Tyrer thus far.
"It is time to wipe the slate clean and induct him," says Davidson. "Life goes on. These types of events happen daily. We are turning him into a Pete Rose by excluding him, though everyone knows he should be in."
Depression was an issue people in Tyrer's era dealt with internally; it was not as acceptable to seek help for it as it is today. He battled it as his business ventures failed and he struggled to keep his four children enrolled in private schools.
"We didn't make a lot of money," Davidson remembers, "so we worked extra jobs to make ends meet. I worked with several teammates as valets at a race track. We would park the customers' cars, then sprint back as a way to keep in shape. I remember one time I was riding a bus to an AFL All-Star game with Jim. I was telling him of my post-career plans of being a landlord. He proceeded to tell me of all of these plans he had. He kind of made me feel inadequate, my owning apartment buildings. I also thought perhaps he was too spread out in his interests and might be too aggressive."
As his financial situation suffered, his depression worsened to the point it led to his death.Though none of his family members saw it coming, most acknowledged that he was depressed at the time.
"I felt my dad's mental state at the end of his life must have been impaired and that very well could have been as a result of the trauma his brain experienced during his football career", says Brad Tyrer, the oldest son of Jim and Martha.
One thing all of his children have done is forgive him for that fateful day. They still love their father and hope to see Canton finally give him his long overdue earned respect. "Dad belongs there, but I am unsure if the voters will ever put him in," says Brad.
Pete Duranko was a defensive end for seven seasons with the Denver Broncos. Not only was he a friend, having had dinner with Tyrer and their wives, but he faced him several times on the field.
"He was the best offensive tackle ever, and one of the best to ever have played football," Duranko says enthusiastically. "He didn't get his full recognition because he was on those excellent Chiefs teams, but he was load to deal with."
Duranko has spent his post-football career working with players who suffer from depression and also deals with his own health issues and depression.
"It creeps up on you" he said. "People, especially the voters, do not understand mental illness. Jim was a strong man who did his best to hide his disease. He didn't want people to know he was depressed and preferred to try to deal with it himself. "When we were in the game, if you didn't play, you'd go highway. Meaning you got released. This made you play through all sorts of injuries, especially concussions."
Duranko is yet another of a long line of players who feel Tyrer deserves induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A list that includes Hall of Famer Willie Lanier and Fred Arbanas. Arbanas, a six-time Pro Bowler and member of the AFL All-Time Team and Chiefs Hall of Fame, was Tyrer's roommate for ten years and perhaps his best friend on the team.
While many of those close to Tyrer feel head injuries suffered while playing football contributed to his depression, there are some who are unsure. Al Lundstrom is Tyrer's brother-in-law and played football with him at Ohio State University.
"Jim was smart, hard to move, was fast on his feet, and was also very big. Many players were unable to use the head slap on him because of his height. Though he was depressed about his financial situation, I am not convinced his depression was brought on by post-concussion syndrome," he said.
Even if he did not suffer from a head injury after his career, his accolades speak loudly for a long overdue respect that should be attained now. The voters really have no excuse nor reason not to bestow it.
If it is AFL disrespect, the building clearly has a sign that says PRO FOOTBALL Hall of Fame, NOT the NFL Hall of Fame. The American Football League certainly played pro football, as their two Super Bowl wins in four meetings with the NFL prove.
No player in the history of professional football, who is able to be voted into Canton, has attained more accolades than Tyrer and has failed to be inducted by the voters yet. He was named All-AFL in each of the eight seasons he played in the league
Canton is full of players with much less accomplishment and respect. Many defensive ends who faced him state he was the best offensive tackle ever in AFL history. Even better than Hall of Famer Ron Mix or eight-time Pro Bowler Winston Hill, who also awaits his induction.
If the excuse of the voters is that they have not forgiven him for how his life ended 30 years ago, they fail to realize it has been three decades and it is time to forgive...especially having hurriedly inducted a questionable character like Michael Irvin.
If an induction into Canton truly is about what a player does on the gridiron alone, their exclusion of Tyrer becomes more ludicrous and has to bring into question what reasons the voters have used to prevent his induction.
Tyrer, himself, once described what playing offensive tackle was like. “You have to have a certain personality to be an offensive lineman. You have to be orderly, disciplined. You have to take the shots like a hockey goalie. It's a passive violence. You build up anxiety. But when you finally get a clear shot at a guy, you say, 'Take this for all of those.' ”
Not only did his opponents "Take it for all of those," but he gave it better than anyone who ever played his position in the entire history of the American Football League. He had no peer at his position.
Quite simply, he was the best to ever suit up at left offensive tackle for the Chiefs or the AFL. Tyrer is a member of the Chiefs Ring of Honor and Hall of Fame.
As time passes, not only do we tend to forget the life of Jim Tyrer and how it ended, but we also tend to forget all of his excellence attained in the game of football. The voters of Canton can be held guilty of this, especially the Seniors Committee. A committee whose sole job is not to forget greats.
All you have to do is look at the career of Tyrer to see how great he was, because it is in plain black and white print. There are few who ever played his position in the history of pro football to succeed on his level.
Of the 11 men who were voted into Canton so far as offensive tackles, nine have fewer accolades than Tyrer. Only Lou "The Toe" Groza has appeared in as many Pro Bowls, though he was named to two less First-Team All-Pro Teams. Anthony Munoz is the only offensive tackle in Canton who has more combined Pro Bowls and First-Team All-Pro honors than Tyrer.
"A travesty," as Rich Jackson states, might be too light a word for Tyrer's exclusion from Canton. Utterly disgusting, distasteful, and disrespectful may be more apt.
If his own family can forgive him and move on, it is time the voters do so as well. There is no player right now in the entire history of professional football more deserving of induction into the Pro Hall of Fame than Jim Tyrer
Tackle : Willie Roaf
Roaf was drafted in the first round of the 1994 draft by the New Orleans Saints, where he was the eighth overall selection. The Saints immediately installed him as their starting right offensive tackle.
Over the next eight seasons, Roaf played left offensive tackle, missed just three games, and went to the Pro Bowl seven times. He was also named First Team All-Pro twice.
He was named to the NFL's 1990s All-Decade Team as a starter, but suffered an injury seven games into the 2001 season and missed the rest of the season.
The Saints organization made the mistake of thinking the injury would affect his play, because they traded him to the Chiefs before the 2002 season for just a conditional draft choice.
Roaf proved New Orleans woefully wrong by playing four seasons for the Chiefs and being named to the Pro Bowl each year. He was named First Team All-Pro after the 2004 season as well.
The 2005 seasons was his last. Even though he went to the Pro Bowl, Roaf missed six games because of injury. He then decided to retire, having gone to the Pro Bowl in 11 of his 13 seasons played.
Even though he played just half of the decade, his excellence had him named to the second team of the NFL's 2000's All-Decade Team.
His seven Pro Bowl games as a Saint in the most in that franchises history. His four Pro Bowls with the Chiefs is second only to the legendary Jim Tyrer as the most by an offensive tackle for the team.
Willie Roaf will soon be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he wins a spot on this team until then.
John Alt, Dave Hill, Jeff Cornilison, Matt Herkenhoff, and Irv Eatman deserve mention.
Guard :Ed Budde
Budde was the first-round draft pick of the American Football League's Dallas Texans in 1963. He was the ninth player picked overall. He was also a first-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL, where he was the fourth player picked overall.
The Texans became the Kansas City Chiefs before the 1963 season began. Budde's impact was immediate. He was named to the AFL All Star team in his rookie year.
Budde went on to have the second longest tenure in Chiefs franchise history, behind Chiefs Pro Bowl punter Jerrel Wilson.
Budde was fast and explosive. He would pancake most of his opponents with regular proficiency. He had the quickness to get to the next level to clear even a wider path for his team mates.
He was also technically sound and rarely let his opponent sack the Chiefs quarterback.
Budde went to seven Pro Bowls in his first nine seasons. He was hurt in 1975 and only played one game. After returning the next year to play 11 games, Budde retired after the 1976 season. He is a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame.
He played in six AFL All-Star games. He was named to the Sporting News AFL All-League team in 1969.
Budde was the first offensive lineman to be selected by the Associated Press as an Offensive Player of the Week. He is considered to be one of the greatest guards to have ever have played in the AFL by many.
Budde helped lead the Chiefs to two American Football League Championships wins and a victory in Super Bowl IV. He was named to the AFL’s All-Time Team by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His son, Brad Budde, also played guard with the Chiefs for six seasons.
Ed Budde may be the greatest offensive lineman to have ever played for the Chiefs. That is quite a statement when you recall the long list of NFL greats who have been Chiefs.
He was very athletic and strong. He did not miss a game his first nine seasons, and missed just three games in his first 12 years.
He was the anchor of a great Chiefs offensive line that featured such greats as Pro Bowl center Jack Rudnay, perennial Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jim Tyrer, offensive tackle Dave Hill, guard George Daney and Pro Bowl tight end Fred Arbanas. All, except Daney, are members of the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame.
Tyrer and Arbanas are also members of the AFL All-Time Team team.
Perhaps, due to all of the great Chiefs players during Budde's era, Canton has overlooked his place in history? If you look at all of his accomplishments on the gridiron, it should be a fairly easy decision to induct him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Guard : Dave Szott
Szott was drafted by the Chiefs in the seventh round of the 1990 draft. He impressed the coaches quickly and ended up starting 11 games in his rookie year.
He remained a constant force in the Chiefs offense the next eight years, missing just two games over that time.
He was named First Team All-Pro after the 1997 season, the first Chiefs guard to get this honor since Ed Budde in 1969. He got hurt in the first game of the 1998 season and missed the rest of the year.
After playing in 14 games the next year, he got hurt in the first game of the 2000 season and missed the rest of the year.
Szott joined the Washington Redskins the next year and started every game. He then went to the New York Jets in 2002 and got hurt in the fourth game, which caused him to miss the rest of the season.
After starting 15 games in 2003, the 36-year old Szott retired. In 2006, he became the Jets team chaplain.
Szott's humanitarian work with those afflicted with cerebral palsy had him win the Ed Block Courage Award twice in his career. He was a tough player who is amongst the finest guards in Chiefs history.
Billy Krisher, Marvin Terrell, and Tom Condon, now a famous players agent, deserve mention.
Center : Jack Rudnay
Rudnay was drafted in the fourth round of the 1969 draft. He did not join the Chiefs until the 1970 season because he hurt his back in the 1969 College All-Star game and had to sit out the entire year.
He began to take starts from incumbent starter E.J. Holub as a rookie, quickly meshing in with Chiefs legends Jim Tyrer, Ed Budde, and Dave Hill.
Rudnay was named the starter the next year, an honor he help the rest of his career. He missed one game that season, the only game he missed until 1980.
Rudnay was quickly recognized as one of the top centers in the NFL, but Hall of Famer Jim Otto and Bill Curry blocked his path to the Pro Bowl. That changed in 1973 when Rudnay made the first of four straight Pro Bowls.
Hall of Famers Mike Webster and Jim Langer then went to go to the Pro Bowl instead. He missed four games in 1980, the last games he missed in his career. It ended a streak of 144 games.
He retired after the 1982 season having played 178 games, the third most ever by a Chiefs offensive linemen and the most ever by a Chiefs center.
Jack Rudnay is inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame and he is certainly the best center in franchise history.
Jon Gilliam, E.J. Holub, Kendall Gammon, and Terry Grunhard deserve mention.
Defensive Tackle: Bill Maas
Maas was the Chiefs first-round draft pick in 1984, the fifth player taken overall.
He became an instant star for the team at nose tackle, being named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year despite missing two games.
After a career-high seven sacks in 1985, he matched that total the next season and was awarded his first Pro Bowl nod. He went back again in the strike-shortened 1987 season after getting six sacks and scoring a touchdown off of a fumble recovery.
Maas got off to a fast start in 1988, getting four sacks and a safety in his first seven games. He then got hurt in the eighth game and missed the rest of the season.
The 1989 season was the first year in his career he didn't have a sack, as it was shortened to 10 games because of injury. He did score the last touchdown of his career off of a fumble.
Kansas City moved him to defensive end in 1990. He got 5.5 sacks and a safety that season. After an injury-filled 1992 season, he joined the Green Bay Packers.
He spent most of the year backing up John Jurkovic at nose tackle, though he did start three games. After having just the second year of his career without a quarterback sack, he retired.
His 40 career sacks is tied with Mike Bell as the seventh most in team history, and is the most by either a defensive tackle or nose tackle.
Bill Maas is the only nose tackle in Chiefs history to make the Pro Bowl. He was the first Chief ever to win a Rookie of the Year Award, and he might be the best nose tackle in franchise history.
Defensive Tackle: Curley Culp
Culp was drafted in the second round by the Denver Broncos in 1968, where he was the 31st player picked overall.
He was was traded to Kansas City after the 1968 draft for a fourth round pick in the 1969 draft. That pick turned out to be offensive guard Mike Schnitker, who played with the Broncos from 1969 to 1974.
Culp found his way into nine games during his rookie year. He broke out in his second year in the AFL, as he was named to his first Pro Bowl team and helped the Chiefs get to Super Bowl IV.
It was in that game, the 3-4 defense was born.
Hall of Fame Head Coach Hank Stram decided to put Culp right over Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl center Mick Tingelhoff. Culp's immense strength and quickness overwhelmed Tingelhoff to the point where he began to command double, sometimes triple teams.
This freed Hall of Famers like Buck Buchanan, Willie Lanier, Bobby Bell, along with Pro Bowl safety Johnny Robinson, to make plays as the Chiefs shut down the Vikings and won 23-7.
Culp would go on to play the 1971 Pro Bowl. He was twice honored as the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Week during his tenure in Kansas City and led the 1973 Chiefs in sacks with nine. He would play in Kansas City until the beginning of 1974.
Culp had signed on to play in the World Football League for 1975, so he was traded four games into the season to the Houston Oilers in one of the most lopsided trades in NFL history.
The Oilers also acquired Kansas City's 1975 first-round selection, which turned out to be Pro Bowl linebacker Robert Brazile, for defensive end John Matuszak.
Culp was the ingredient Houston needed to excel in the Oilers' 3-4 defense. He was named to the 1975 Pro Bowl and was chosen NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Newspaper Enterprise Association.
Culp also received the George Halas Trophy after accumulating 11.5 sacks, an unheard-of statistic for a nose tackle.
Teamed with Hall of Fame defensive end Elvin Bethea and great linebackers like Brazile, Ted Washington Sr., and Gregg Bingham, Culp helped lead some excellent Oilers teams that went to a AFC Championship game.
In 1975, he recovered a career-high three fumbles and took one 38 yards for the only touchdown of his NFL career. In 1977, Culp snared the only interception of his career and rumbled 25 yards.
Culp was named to Pro Bowls from 1975 to 1978 while in Houston. In 1979, he was named Second Team All-Conference by both the UPI and Associated Press.
By 1980, he was battling injuries and started just five of 10 games in Houston. The Oilers released him during 1980, and he was claimed by the Detroit Lions.
He finished that year in Detroit, starting in two of three games. Culp tried to play in 1981, but ended up playing just two games before retiring.
Culp was named by the Sporting News to the All-Century Teams of both the Kansas City and Houston/Tennessee franchises.
He was voted by a panel of former NFL players and coaches to Pro Football Weekly's All-Time 3-4 defensive team.
He was be inducted into the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame. The Tennessee Titan are said to be working on creating their own team Hall of Fame and Culp will certainly be inducted into it one day as well.
Trying to summarize Culp's career may be best said by his comrades.
Chiefs Pro Bowl center Jack Rudnay said, "Every center in the league should have to go against Curley in order to know what it’s like to go against the very best.”
Hall of Fame Center Jim Otto claimed, "Curley Culp was perhaps the strongest man I ever lined up against."
Culp was once reported to have broken the helmets of three teammates during a scrimmage at Arizona State University. He had tremendous leverage to go with his massive strength and superior quickness.
There was a time some thought he benefited from lining up next to Buchanan, but he showed in Houston that he was still an unstoppable force.
Often facing multiple blockers on each snap of the ball, he used his wrestling knowledge to sift through the opponents on his way to the ball.
I find it amazing Culp hasn't been inducted into Canton. He was the key person who popularized the 3-4 with his intelligence and abilities.
Former Oilers head coach Bum Phillips once said, "Curley made the 3-4 defense work. He made me look smart."
Well, the Hall of Fame voters certainly look anything but smart. You see politics involved too much in the Canton voting process. I've been told by certain voters that they are disgusted with this process themselves.
It is as if some voters don't want too many players from one team. Look how long it took for Chief Emmitt Thomas to get inducted, and how Chiefs legend Johnny Robinson somehow hasn't been yet.
He did excel with two teams, so whatever the hold up is by the voters is unacceptable. Curley Culp should have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame by now.
Dan Saleaumua, Joe Phillips, John Browning and Paul Rochester deserve mention.
Defensive End: Jerry Mays
Mays was drafted in the fifth round of the 1961 AFL Draft by the Dallas Texas, as well as in the 11th round of the NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings.
Having been born and raised in Dallas, he signed with the Texans. His rookie year saw Mays used as a reserve who played all over the defensive line. He had the only interception of his career that season.
The Texans plugged him into the starting lineup at defensive tackle in 1962. He responded with a Pro Bowl season, helping the Texans capture the AFL crown. He stayed at defensive tackle until 1964, when he again made the Pro Bowl.
The Chiefs then moved him to defensive end in 1965. Mays would go to the Pro Bowl the next four years and would be named First Team All-Pro twice.
In the 1966 season, he had a key sack in the AFL title game and shared a sack in Super Bowl I. Though he did not go to the Pro Bowl in 1969, he came up big when his team needed him most.
Mays had a sack in their AFL Championship win against the Oakland Raiders, and another sack in their Super Bowl V win over the Minnesota Vikings.
The 1970 season was his last as a player, one that saw Mays make the Pro Bowl yet again. He then retired.
Jerry Mays is a member of the starting unit on the AFL All-Time Team and was the third person to be inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame.
He never missed a game in his entire 10 seasons, which covered 140 games. His seven Pro Bowls is only exceeded by the eight of Hall of Famer Buck Buchanan. His five Pro Bowls as a defensive end is only matched by Neil Smith as the most ever in franchise history.
Many people believe the only reason Mays is not inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is the same reason Johnny Robinson has yet to go in.
With Buchanan, Willie Lanier, Bobby Bell, and Emmitt Thomas inducted from that defense, it is as if Canton put a quota on the unit and a limit has been reached.
Yet there is no doubt Mays belongs. Not only is he one of the very best defensive lineman in AFL history, Mays is one of the greatest Chiefs ever.
Defensive End: Neil Smith
Smith was drafted by the Chiefs in the first round of the 1988 draft. They had to swap positions in the draft with the Detroit Lions to make Smith the second overall selection.
He spent his rookie year sharing starts with Mike Bell, Leonard Griffin and Mike Stensrud, starting in seven of the 13 games he appeared in. Smith was given the starting job full-time the next year, a duty he would hold eight seasons.
While Smith was excellent at rushing the passer, he was an all-around athlete that could burn an offense several ways. He picked off four balls in his career, scoring once. Smith also took one of his 12 fumble recoveries in for a touchdown. He was also strong against the run.
But his intelligence set him apart from many of his peers.
Smith liked to flinch at opposing linemen, causing them to move and get called for false starts. He was so good at this that the NFL banned it in 1998, dubbing it the "Neil Smith Rule."
His prime years saw him get named to the Pro Bowl five straight seasons, beginning in 1991. After getting 14.5 sacks in 1992, along with a career-high 77 tackles, he led the NFL with a career-best 15 sacks the next year. It also was the lone time he was honored as a First Team All-Pro.
He had double-digit sacks for four straight years until 1995.
Smith left Kansas City after the 1996 season to play with the Denver Broncos. He shared the team lead of 8.5 sacks with Alfred Williams and Maa Tanuvasa as he made his final Pro Bowl squad that year.
Denver got into the playoffs as a Wild Card team that year, eventually facing the Chiefs in a divisional playoff game. Denver won 14-10, thank to two key sacks by Smith.
He came up with another important sack in the Chiefs' 24-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game. Smith then recovered a fumble in the Broncos 31-24 Super Bowl XXXII win over the Green Bay Packers.
Denver repeated as champions the next season as Smith continued to be an important part of their defense. In the Broncos' playoff win over the New York Jets, Smith scored the final points of the game by taking a fumble 79 yards for a touchdown.
After becoming a part-time starter in 1999, he joined the San Diego Chargers in 2000. He appeared in 10 games and retired after failing to record a sack for the first time in his career.
His 104.5 career sacks still ranks 19th best in NFL history.
The 85.5 sacks he had with Kansas City is the second most in team history and the most by a defensive lineman. His 12 fumble recoveries is the second most by a Chiefs defensive lineman.
Neil Smith is inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame and member of the second unit on the NFL's 1990s All-Decade Team. He is certainly one of the best defensive ends in franchise history.
Mel Branch, Art Still, Gary Stills, Mike Bell, Wilbur Young, Aaron Brown, Jared Allen and Eric Hicks deserve mention.
Outside Linebacker: E.J. Holub
After a legendary collegiate career that had Holub inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, the native Texan was drafted by the Dallas Texans in the first round of the 1961 AFL Draft, where he was the eighth overall selection. The NFL's Dallas Cowboys made him their second-round pick.
He was put at left outside linebacker, where he would go to the Pro Bowl in three of his first four years. He missed the 1963 Pro Bowl because of injury, but earned his second consecutive First Team All-Pro honor that year.
It may have been his best year, as he had a career-best five interceptions. But perhaps his career highlight to that point happened when the Texans won the 1962 AFL title. Holub had a key interception and returned it 43 yards to set up a score.
He switched to right outside linebacker in 1965 and went to the Pro Bowl the next two years. In the Chiefs' Super Bowl I loss in 1966, Holub collected a quarterback sack.
Holub had been playing on wobbly knees heroically the last few seasons. When his knees caused him to miss five games in 1967, Kansas City switched to the offensive side of the ball to play center.
Though he never went to the Pro Bowl in his three years at center, his leadership and toughness drew the admiration of both teammates and peers. Holub was the starting center of the 1969 Chiefs team that won Super Bowl V.
His balky knees forced to retire after the 1970 season, but he is the only player to have not only started on both sides of the ball in Super Bowl history, he is the only one to have started at two separate positions.
Holub's five Pro Bowls are behind Hall of Famers Bobby Bell and Derrick Thomas as the most in franchise history, as is his two First Team All-Pro nods.
E.J. Holub is a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame and one of their greatest players.
Middle Linebacker: Sherrill Headrick
Headrick joined the expansion Dallas Texans as a free agent in 1960. He quickly won a starting job at middle linebacker and was named First Team All-Pro as a rookie.
His 1961 season may have been the best of Headrick's career. He returned both of his interceptions for touchdowns and was even asked to return a pair of punts. Headrick was named First Team All-Pro and went to the first AFL All-Star Game.
The 1962 season saw the Texans win an AFL title. He once again was named First Team All-Pro and went to the AFL All-Star Game. He was solid the next two years, and Headrick took another interception in for a score in 1963.
He returned to the Pro Bowl in both 1965 and 1966. The 1967 season was his last with the Chiefs.
Kansas City had just drafted Willie Lanier that year, a player who would later be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a middle linebacker.
Injuries also began to take a toll on Headrick. Nicknamed "Psycho" by his teammates, Headrick played through a long list of injuries and would take the field never wearing hip pads.
Hall of Fame coach Hank Stram was quoted as saying Headrick played with the highest threshold he had ever seen.
Headrick played with a broken neck, an infection in his mouth, and various other ailments. He once was seen with the bone of a finger pierced through the skin, Headrick popped the bone back into place between plays.
The style of play left him bound to a wheelchair in his final years of life before dying on cancer in 2008.
He joined the expansion Cincinatti Bengals in 1968 and retired after being healthy enough to play just eight games. Cincinnati had also just drafted a rookie middle linebacker named Bill Bergey, who would later go to five Pro Bowls.
Not only was Headrick one of the first Chiefs to ever go to the Pro Bowl or be named First Team All-Pro, his three First Team All-Pro ties Lanier as the most ever by a Kansas City middle linebacker. His four Pro Bowls are second to Lanier as the most by a Chiefs middle linebacker.
Sherrill Headrick is a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame and is one of the toughest and best linebackers in the history of their team.
Tracey Simien, Marvcus Patton, Gary Spani, and Dino Hackett deserve mention.
Outside Linebacker: Jim Lynch
Despite a College Football Hall of Fame career that saw him win the 1966 Maxwell Award, the NFL did not attempt to draft Lynch in 1967.
The Chiefs made him a second-round pick in the 1967 AFL Draft three picks ahead of Chiefs Hall of Fame middle linebacker Willie Lanier.
After starting three games as a rookie, he earned the starting job in 1968 and held it the rest of his career. It was also perhaps the best season of his career. He grabbed a career-best three interceptions, returning one for the only touchdown of his career.
Lynch was awarded his only Pro Bowl that year. While Lanier and fellow Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Bell got most of the press, Lynch was a solid all-around linebacker himself. He was a steady and consistent force.
In a playoff loss to the Miami Dolphins in 1971, the longest game ever played in NFL history, Lynch had an interception. He never missed a game until his final season in 1977, where he missed three but matched his career best total of three interceptions.
Since retiring, he was inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame and won the 1992 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award.
His 14 fumble recoveries is the fifth most by a defender in Chiefs history. The 17 interceptions he had is the third most ever by a Chiefs linebacker. Jim Lynch is one of the best defensive players to ever have played for Kansas City.
Walt Corey, Whitney Paul and Donnie Edwards deserve mention.
Strong Safety: Johnny Robinson
Robinson was a first-round pick of the Detroit Lions in 1960. He was the third player picked overall. He opted to go to the fledgling American Football League, where he was a territorial pick of the Dallas Texans.
Under Hall of Fame coach Hank Stram, Robinson started his pro football career as a halfback. He rushed for 458 yards in his rookie year, at an average of 4.7 yards per carry, and also caught 41 passes for 611 yards that accrued an impressive 14.9 yards per catch average.
Robinson also returned 14 punts for 207 yards at an outstanding 14.8 return average, and returned three kickoffs for 54 yards. He scored four touchdowns rushing, four touchdowns receiving, and returned a punt for a score.
In 1961, Robinson rushed the ball less. He had 52 carries for 200 yards and scored twice via the run while catching 35 passes for 601 yards, which is an exceptional yards per catch average of 17.2, for five touchdowns.
He only returned two punts that year and would only be asked to return four more his entire career.
In 1962, Robinson was moved to strong safety on defense by Stram. It turned out to be a great move for the Texans.
Though he did catch the last pass of his career on offense for 16 yards, he also picked off four passes. Robinson helped the Texans win the AFL Championship by picking off two balls in the title game.
The Texans moved to Kansas City after that season and were renamed the Chiefs. In 1965, Robinson picked off 5 passes and returned them for 99 yards.
The 1966 season was one of Robinson's best. He set a career high in interceptions with 10, and returned them for 136 yards, while scoring the only defensive touchdown of his career via an interception.
He helped lead the Chiefs to the first Super Bowl ever against the Green Bay Packers. He followed that with 11 interceptions the next two seasons.
In 1969, Robinson set a career high with 158 yards off eight interceptions. The Chiefs would go on to beat the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.
Robinson would intercept a pass and recover a fumble that game while playing with broken ribs, which helped keep the Vikings from scoring more than seven points.
He then had a great year in 1970, when the AFL merged with the NFL. He tied his career high with 10 interceptions. He also had 155 interception return yards and took a fumble 46 yards for the last touchdown of his professional career.
In 1971, Robinson had four interceptions. His last game came on Christmas Day, when the Chiefs and Miami Dolphins played the the longest game in NFL history. It was also the Chiefs' last home game in Municipal Stadium. Robinson retired during the off season.
Johnny Robinson hold the Chiefs franchise record for a safety with 57 interceptions for his career. He ranks second overall in interceptions behind Hall of Fame cornerback Emmitt Thomas in Chiefs history.
He is still ranked tenth all-time in NFL history in career interceptions, tied with four other players.
His 43 interceptions in the AFL ranks third all-time in the league's history. He led his team in interceptions five times in his career.
He is a member of the All-Time All-AFL Team and one of only 20 players who were in the AFL for its entire 10-year existence.
Robinson was a six-time American Football League All-Star selection and is credited by many to have redefined the role of the strong safety in professional football.
His career was more than spectacular. He was the consummate team player who did whatever it took to help his team win, whether it was on offense, defense or special teams.
His stats do not lie, and his impact on the game is immeasurable. He belongs in Canton.
Lloyd Burris, Jim Kearney and Greg Wesley deserve mention.
Free Safety: Deron Cherry
Cherry went undrafted in 1981, so he signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as a free agent punter, but was cut at the conclusion of the preseason. Cherry was signed by the Chiefs in late September as a safety after injuries hit the position.
Cherry has been often called one of the top free safeties in NFL history. He was a seven-time Pro Bowler in his 11-year career.
Cherry's 15 career fumble recoveries place him in a three-way tie for the Chiefs record. He ranks third on the Chiefs list of most interceptions, and is only the 26th player in the history of the NFL to reach the 50 interception plateau.
In 1987, he was selected to the Chiefs 25-year All-Time Team, and named the Chiefs NFL Man of the Year. In 1988, Cherry won the Byron "Whizzer" White Humanitarian Award. When the NFL named the 1980s All-Decade Team, Cherry was amongst those selected.
Cherry picked off a pass early into his rookie year, then waited until his third season to get another. That year, he picked off seven passes. He would pick off seven passes in each of his next two seasons as well.
He scored the only touchdown of his career in his fifth season. Cherry then picked off nine passes in his sixth season, which led the entire NFL that year. He followed that up with three interceptions in the strike-shortened season of 1987.
He picked off seven passes, once again, the following season. His final NFL season saw him pick off four passes. Though he was never asked to punt in the NFL, Cherry did return seven kickoffs for 145 yards in his first four seasons.
Cherry topped 100 tackles six times in his career and accumulated 927 unofficial tackles in his career. Cherry led Chiefs in tackles four times and in interceptions on six occasions.
When Cherry joined the Chiefs, they had an exceptional defense. The secondary was led by Gary Barbaro, who played Cherry's position. Lloyd Burris was a newly drafted strong safety who started right away.
Teamed with cornerbacks Eric Harris and Gary Green, the Chiefs often picked off passes. Barbaro, a three-time Pro Bowler in his seven seasons, bolted for the United States Football League in 1983.
Cherry and Burress would form one of the NFL's best safety tandems until they retired together in 1991. The pair picked off 72 passes for five touchdowns, recovered 24 fumbles, and went to eight Pro Bowls in the 145 games they played together.
Cherry is a class act. His play on the gridiron was spectacular, but he never was one to blow his own horn.
He preferred to donate his free time to charities and is still active with many organizations. He became a part-owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars in their 1995 expansion year also.
When you look at his career, it can be lauded for several areas of excellence. If you just stick to his gridiron play, you see him on the 1980s All-Decade team, as well as seven Pro Bowls, to go with 50 interceptions.
Whatever the hold up for his induction has been, there can be no excuses nor reasoning. Deron Cherry epitomizes the definition of what a football player should strive to attain to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Gary Barbaro, Dave Webster, Jerome Woods, Mike Sensibaugh and Bobby Hunt deserve mention
Cornerback: Albert Lewis
Lewis was drafted in the third round of the 1983 draft by Kansas City. He spent his rookie year as a reserve, but still managed four interceptions.
Three-time Pro Bowler Gary Green then joined the Los Angeles Rams after the season, elevating Lewis into the starting lineup. He was soon joined by rookie Kevin Ross to help safeties Deron Cherry and Lloyd Burruss form the best secondary in football for many years.
His 1985 season may have been his best. Lewis had a career-high eight interceptions and 74 tackles, while scoring a touchdown off of a fumble recovery.
Starting in the strike-shortened 1987 year, Lewis began a run of four straight Pro Bowls. He would be named First Team All-Pro in his final two Pro Bowl years.
But Lewis was much more than a shut-down cornerback. He also was magnificent on special teams. He blocked 11 kicks or punts in his career, and scored a touchdown off of one in 1993. He also recorded a safety in 1988.
Yet, despite all of his greatness, the Chiefs thought his career was winding down after an injury filled 1991 season. They drafted Dale Carter in the first round in 1992, and had him split time with the 33-year old Lewis.
Ross played a lot of free safety in 1993, so Lewis started in 13 of the 14 games he played and led the team with six interceptions.
He then left the team to become a member of the Oakland Raiders, who were in their last season at Los Angeles in 1994.
Teamed with Pro Bowler Terry McDaniel, and joined by Lionel Washington, the Raiders had a very experienced and effective secondary that season.
Washington then retired, but Lewis and McDaniel remained a solid tandem until 1997. Now 38 years old, Oakland moved Lewis to free safety in 1998. He responded by taking one of his two interceptions 74 yards for the final touchdown of his career and the only one to come off of a pick.
He retired after the season with 42 career swipes, 38 of which happened with the Chiefs. It is the second most by a cornerback in team history, and it ranks fifth best overall.
His four Pro Bowls is only exceed by the five Hall of Famer Emmitt Thomas had as a cornerback for the Chiefs. Yet his two First Team All-Pro nods are the most ever by a Kansas City cornerback.
Lewis is a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame. Hall of Famer Jerry Rice is one of many wide receivers to have said Lewis was the toughest cornerback they ever faced.
In 2008, the NFL Network listed the duo of Lewis and Ross as one of the greatest cornerback tandems in NFL history.
There is no question that Albert Lewis is one of the greatest cornerbacks in Chiefs history.
Cornerback: Kevin Ross
Ross was the Chiefs seventh-round pick in 1984, and he quickly impressed the team so much that he earned a starting job in training camp.
His inclusion helped make a young secondary perhaps the best in the NFL. All four members of the secondary, Albert Lewis, Deron Cherry, Lloyd Burruss, and Ross, would go on and be named to the Pro Bowl in their careers.
Besides being exceptional thieves in the passing game, they were incredibly stout against the run. Ross had a career-best six swipes in his rookie campaign, returning one 71-yards for a touchdown. He also had 98 tackles, which led the secondary.
Though he was just 5'9" 185, Ross was a very physical player who thrived in bump-and-run coverage. His excellent athleticism allowed for this, because playing bump-and-run defense in the offensive friendly five-yard chuck rule is very difficult.
He racked up a career-high 111 tackles in his second season. Ross would pile up 90 or more tackles seven times in his career, getting to the century mark three times and missing it two more times by three tackles total.
The Chiefs also started to use him in blitz packages. He had two sacks in 1986, while scooping up a fumble and running it in for a touchdown. Ross was also a tough guy, missing just five games in his first 13 seasons.
Despite missing the first game of his career in 1988, he still had 99 tackles. Ross would go to his only two Pro Bowls the next two seasons, a reward for being one of the best cornerbacks in football in his first seven seasons.
He continued to excel in a Chiefs wonderful secondary that would lose Cherry and Burruss to retirement after the 1991 season. Kansas City drafted Dale Carter in the first round of the 1992 draft, so they moved Ross from the right cornerback to the left side for the first time in his career.
He had a career-low 58 tackles there, but did take his lone interception 99 yards for the last touchdown of his career. Lewis left the team after that year, and the secondary was now in disarray. Ross had to split time at cornerback and free safety to try and help the defense that year.
He then left the Chiefs to join the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta decided to line Ross up at strong safety, even though his size was not conducive to the position. Yet he responded with six interceptions and 190 tackles in his two seasons with the Falcons.
He then joined the San Diego Chargers for the 1996 season to play free safety. The 34-year-old had a respectable season, getting 88 tackles, while forcing two fumbles and picking off a pair of passes.
Ross went back to the Chiefs in 1997. Kansas City had a pair of Pro Bowl cornerbacks in Carter and James Hasty, as well as a Pro Bowl free safety in Jerome Woods. Ross appeared in just five games, the only year of his career he failed to pick off a ball.
He retired after that year with 38 career interceptions, five sacks, and three touchdowns. Ross had 30 interceptions with the Chiefs, which ranks seventh best overall in team history and third best amongst all Kansas City cornerbacks.
His 827 official tackles are the most in franchise history, exceeding Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Thomas by 185 tackles. The 12 fumbles he recovered is tied with Lewis as the most ever by a Chiefs cornerback.
When you look at the history of the Chiefs, it is filled with excellent cornerbacks. Kevin Ross is one of the very best to have ever donned their uniform.
Gary Green, Dale Carter, James Hasty, Eric Warfield, Dave Grayson, Duane Wood and Fred Williamson deserve mention.
Kicker : Nick Lowery
Lowery came to the NFL as an undrafted player, but he would soon become the first professional athlete who graduate from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
Raised in Washington D.C., he tried out for the Washington Redskins but was cut. He then got a job with the New England Patriots for two games in 1978.
While he made all seven extra points, Lowery missed his two field goal attempts. The Patriots cut him and he was out of football until 1980.
The Chiefs had just parted ways with Hall of Famer Jan Stenerud after the 1979 season. Stenerud signed with the Green Bay Packers and lasted four years there. He then played two years with the Minnesota Vikings before retiring.
Lowery won the job in camp, and held it the next 14 seasons. His teammates called him "Nick the Kick".
Consistency and excellent accuracy was his calling card, no matter where on the field Kansas City asked him to perform. He led the NFL in field goal percentage three times with them, and led the league in field goal attempts and makes once as well.
The 10 field goals he missed in 1981 and 1984 was the most he ever had with the team. Yet he made his first Pro Bowl in 1981.
Lowery had at least 100 points 11 times with the Chiefs. He had 97 in another season, and had 83 and 74 in the two strike-shortened seasons.
The 1990 season was probably his best. He made an NFL-leading 34 field goals on a career high 37 attempts. His 139 points led the NFL, and he was honored as First Team All-Pro and the Pro Bowl that year.
The Chiefs let him leave after the 1993 season, the year he won the Byron "Whizzer" White Award for his humanitarian work, so he signed with the New York Jets.
Lowery kicked three seasons for the Jets before retiring after the 1996 season. When he retired, Lowery held several NFL records for a kicker.
He still ranks in the top 13 in points scored and extra points and field goals made. He ranks 29th in career extra point percentage, and 33rd in field goal percentage.
Lowery is a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame, and he was nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007.
While he attempted 26 fewer field goals as a Chief than Hall of Famer Jan Stenerud, he made 50 more than the Chiefs legend. Lowery missed four extra points in 483 attempt, while Stenerud missed 15 in 409 attempts.
He made eight more kicks from 50 or more yards than Stenerud, even though he had 11 less attempts. He also made more field goals at a higher percentage than the Hall of Famer on 26 less attempts.
The three Pro Bowls Lowery accrued as a Chief are two less than Stenerud, but his two First Team All-Pro nods are one more than the Hall of Famer.
His 212 games with Kansas City is the second most in team history. Of his 1,711 career points, 1,466 came as a Chief. It is the most in team history, as 1,231 of Stenerud's 1,699 career points was with Kansas City.
It is hard to say Lowery is the best kicker in team history, considering Stenerud is the only pure placekicker inducted into Canton. Also, the playing conditions were extremely different in both players eras.
But is is not hard to say he had a career at least equal. That, along with all of the team records he holds, puts him on this Chiefs team.
Tommy Brooker deserves mention.
Punter: Jerrel Wilson
Wilson was drafted in the 11th round of the 1963 AFL Draft by the Chiefs, and in the 17th round of the NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He was listed as a running back on draft day.
He was an all-around great athlete who hailed from Southern Mississippi University. A decade later, that school would produce another great athlete named Ray Guy. Guy was the first punter drafted in the first round and is considered the best in NFL history.
While Hank Stram did hand Wilson the ball 22 times in his career, and well as have him catch five balls and throw three passes, the Hall of Fame coach decided Wilson would best help the Chiefs as a punter.
Wilson also returned a kickoff as a rookie, one of the few full-time punters in football history to be asked to perform this duty. Yet his high and booming punts is where he garnered most notice.
Nicknamed "Thunderfoot" by his teammates, he led the AFL in punting average twice and the NFL three times. He also led both leagues in total yards punted once, and his 72-yard punt as a rookie led the AFL. He also ran in a pair of two-point conversions in his career.
Stram often said Wilson was the best punter he ever saw play and was, in his opinion, the best kicker in NFL history.
Wilson was named the first-string punter on the AFL All-Time Team, but he made his first Pro Bowl after the two leagues merged. From 1970 to 1973, he represented the Chiefs as the AFC punter in the Pro Bowl.
He played 15 seasons with the Chiefs, amassing 203 games. It was a team record at the time, and still ranks third most in franchise history. He averaged over 41 yards per punt in 14 seasons, and over 44 yards seven times.
After Wilson averaged a then-career low 39.9 yard per punt on a career high 88 attempts in 1977, the Chiefs let him go and sign with the New England Patriots.
He played one year, averaging a career worst 35.6 yards per punt. He also attempted the only extra point of his career that season, but missed. Wilson then retired, holding virtually every punting record in Chiefs history.
He was the first Pro Bowl punter in team history. The Chiefs have had just one other, Bob Grupp, who made it once in 1979.
No other Kansas City player has ever punted the ball more or for more yards than Wilson. He is so high on the list that it will take a very long time to be supplanted.
Not only is Jerrel Wilson the greatest punter in Chiefs and AFL history, but he truly is right up there with fellow alumni Guy as perhaps the best ever to have played the position.
Bob Grupp deserves mention.
Return Specialist : Dante Hall
As most Chiefs fan know, this franchise has been blessed with a ton of utterly fantastic return specialists. Yet Dante Hall was so good at returning either punts or kicks, he will own this spot all by himself.
Hall was selected in the fifth round of the 2000 draft by Kansas City. He played just five games as a rookie, handling special teams duties in a part-time fashion.
The Chiefs sent him to NFL Europe to refine his skills. Hall led the league in kickoff returns was was second in all-purpose yards. When the 2001 season began, he was Kansas City's full-time return specialist.
Kansas City did not just have him return kicks. Hall, a wide receiver, also ran the football a lot in the beginning of his career. He had 11 attempts in 2001, then 16 the next year. He had 54 attempts in his career.
Hall was a possession receiver whose 40 catches in 2003 was his best. He caught 162 passes for nine scores in his career, at an average of 10.8 yards per catch.
Yet it was his return ability that cemented his place in NFL history as one of the greatest ever. He had several nicknames like "The Human Torch", or "The Human Joystick", or "The X-Factor".
He exploded on the NFL in 2002, his first Pro Bowl season. He led the NFL with two touchdowns off punt returns and scored another one off a kickoff return.
The 2003 saw him make the Pro Bowl for the final time, as well as garner his only First Team All-Pro honor. It also may have been the finest season of his career.
Hall led the NFL with a career best 2,446 all-purpose yards. He again led the NFL with two punt return scores, which included a league leading 93-yard return that was the longest of his career. He also led the NFL with a career best 16.3 yards per punt return.
Hall also led the NFL with two kickoffs returned for touchdowns. This includes a career long 100-yard return that led the league.
He somehow did not make the Pro Bowl in 2004 after leading the NFL in all-purpose yards, kickoff attempts and yards, and scoring twice off of kick returns.
Hall was second in the NFL in all-purpose yards the next year, while scoring once off a kick return. The 2006 season was his last with the Chiefs, where he took a punt return in for a touchdown.
He then was traded to the Saint Louis Rams for a pair of draft picks. Injuries curtailed his Rams career, forcing him to miss 17 games over two seasons.
He was able to return a punt 85-yards for a score and a kickoff 84-yards to set up a score in his time with the team. Hall retired after the 2008 season, but he still holds several Chiefs records.
His two years with two punt and kickoff returns for scores in a season is the most in team history. He holds the top four spots for most kickoff returns in a season and four of the top five in all-purpose yards. Jamaal Charles' 2009 season ranks second.
Hall's 16.3 average on punt returns is the best in Chiefs history by anyone with nine or more returns. Hall ranks first in Chiefs history in kickoff returns, kickoff return yards, and kickoff returns for touchdowns.
His five punt returns for touchdowns is the most in team history, and he ranks third in total punt return yards. The six punt returns for scores in his career is the eighth most in NFL history. His six off of kickoffs is the third most ever.
He ranks fifth in NFL history with kick and punt returns and yardage. His 12 non-offensive scores ranks ninth best ever, and his 10,136 career kickoff return yards ranks fourth best.
He also ranks in the top-34 in all-purpose yards, career punt return yards, yards per touch, and longest punt return ever.
Hall was a special player despite having just six healthy seasons. His place in the history of professional football is securely placed amongst the greatest ever.
He is a member of the NFL's 2000s All-Decade Team and should one day soon be inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame.
Tamarick Vanover, whose eight career touchdown returns would place him at the top of most teams lists, J.T. Smith, Johnny Robinson, Willie Mitchell, Dale Carter, Noland Smith, Abner Haynes, Ed Podolak, Paul Palmer, and Dave Grayson deserve mention.
As some of you know, I have had a long running series remembering the best non-Hall of Fame players on each franchise. Since the NFL is teetering now, Goodell looks like he is dying with multi-colored skin and lipstick, and March Madness, hockey, and baseball are in the front...thought I'd submit two ALMOST All-Time Teams for the Gabbers today. Miami can be found in the NFL section.
Remember : These Are The Best Vikings Who Are Not Yet, And Maybe Never Will Be, Inducted Into The Pro Football Hall of Fame
Quarterback : Tommy Kramer
Kramer was drafted in the first round of the 1977 draft for the express purpose of one day supplanting aging Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, who owned virtually NFL record for a quarterback during that time.
He sat and learned for two seasons, then Tarkenton retired. Kramer took over in 1979 and soon became known for his flair for the dramatic moment. He was known as "Two Minute Tommy" because he often led Minnesota to victories late in the game.
One of his more famous moments came on a one-handed catch by Ahmad Rashad on a "Hail Mary" pass as time expired against the Cleveland Browns. It secured the Vikings a division title. Kramer threw for a career best 3,912 yards and 26 touchdowns the next year despite missing two games.
Kramer had taken over the Vikings when an aging team was rebuilding. The offensive line was an area affected by mass retirement, so it was often porous while Kramer was there He took a huge pounding despite having a quick release. The punishment he took led to injuries, causing him to miss 20 games in 1983 and 1984.
In his 13 years as the primary starting quarterback, Kramer lasted an entire season twice. He often found himself picking his carcass off the turf after being blasted by another defender. Another reason for defenders to key on him was an erratic rushing attack.
Minnesota had halfbacks Ricky Young, Ted Brown, and Darrin Nelson as the main running backs in Kramer's area. Though Brown had two effective seasons running the ball, these backs are most noted for their receiving abilities.
Young, one of the great pass catching backs in era, Brown, and Nelson had over 900 receptions with Kramer. Brown's 1,063 rushing yards in 1981 was the best run support Kramer ever had.
Though he missed three games in 1986, Kramer had perhaps his finest season.. He made his only Pro Bowl and was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Kramer led the NFL in quarterback rating, adjusted yards gained per pass attempt, and adjusted net yards gained per pass attempt.
His next three seasons were littered by injuries. Kramer missed 24 games over that time and lost his starting job to Wade Wilson. He joined the New Orleans Saints in 1990, but appeared in one game. He then retired.
Replacing a legend is never an easy thing to do, and it is harder when the team is trying to rebuild. Despite all of the missed games, Kramer is second in franchise history in wins, games played, passing attempts and completions, passing yards, and passing touchdowns. No Vikings quarterback has been sacked more either.
He is one of the 50 Greatest Minnesota Vikings Team put together in 2010. Kramer is the only Viking to ever win the Comeback Player of the Year Award. "Two Minute Tommy" is truly a Vikings legend.
Joe Kapp, Wade Wilson, Randall Cunningham, and Duante Culpepper deserve mention.
Fullback : Chuck Foreman
Foreman was drafted in the first round of the 1973 draft by the Vikings. He went to work right away, leading the team in rushing, touchdowns scored, and finishing second in receiving. He was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and to the first of five straight Pro Bowls as Minnesota reached the Super Bowl.
He was just as special in his second season. Foreman led the team in rushing receiving, and touchdowns both in the air and on the ground. His 15 total touchdowns that year led the NFL. The Sporting News named him NFC Player of the Year as the Vikings reached the Super Bowl again.
The 1975 season was one of his best. He was named First Team All-Pro after leading the NFL with a career best 73 receptions, while churning out 1,070 yards on a career high 280 carries. Foreman also ran for a career high 13 scores, adding a career high nine more off receptions.
His 22 touchdowns was an NFC record at the time. He was fighting O.J. Simpson for the NFL record, as well as trying to lead the league in rushing, receiving, and scoring. In the last game of the regular season, the Vikings headed into Buffalo.
Foreman went wild in just under three quarters. He had already scored three times, had nine receptions, and 85 yards rushing in a snow storm. Simpson was attempting to pass the 22-touchdown record he had tied Gale Sayers with the season before.
As Foreman ran out of bounds after an errant throw, a fan pelted him in the eye with a snow ball. With his vision blurred, he sat out a few plays but returned to catch a touchdown pass to tie Sayers and Simpson for the record. His eye was bothering him so he had to sit out the rest of the game for precautionary measures.
Simpson would later set the record with his 23rd score in the Vikings 35-13 rout. Foreman lost the rushing title the next day when Jim Otis, of the Saint Louis Cardinals, passed him by six yards. In the end, a disgruntled fan cost Foreman a chance at history.
He duplicated his 13 rushing touchdowns in 1976, while pounding out a career high 1,155 yards on the ground and catching 55 balls. His 14 touchdowns led the NFL, and the UPI named him NFC Player of the Year. Minnesota reached the Super Bowl for the third time in his career.
The 1977 season was his last Pro Bowl year. He ran for 1,112 yards and scored nine times total. Though he caught 61 passes and ran for 749 yards in 1978, the wear and tear of carrying the Vikings offense caught up to him.
He spent 1979 on the bench, being replaced by a pair of pass catching backs named Ricky Young and Ted Brown. He was traded to the New England Patriots in 1980, but was rarely used. He then retired.
Foreman was more than a powerful runner with soft hands. He was especially nimble, earning him the nickname "Spin Doctor". He would accomplish these feats on the icy Minnesota tundra in an era were fields were not kept up like they are today.
The 132 points he scored in 1975 is still a Vikings record by a non-kicker, and it ranks second best overall. He held the team record for most rushing yards until Robert Smith passed him in 2000, and he has the second most rushing attempts in Vikings history behind the great Bill Brown.
He is tied with Smith and Adrian Peterson with 52 touchdowns on the ground, but Peterson appears likely to set the record the next time he plays. Foreman's 336 receptions are just three behind Ted Brown as the most by a running back in Vikings history, and ranks ninth best overall.
His 73 receptions in 1973 was a NFL record by a running back until the Vikings Ricky Young broke it in 1978. Foreman is one of the 50 Greatest Minnesota Vikings as well as being a member of both their 25th and 40th Anniversary Teams. He has also been inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor.
Some Vikings fans may prefer the rugged Bill Brown in this slot. He was a scoring machine with soft hands just like Foreman. Some would say put both in the backfield together, which also works.
I chose Foreman because he was basically the first version of the versatile fullback you could lean on running or passing the ball. There was nothing Foreman couldn't do on the gridiron for six spectacular years. He may be the best fullback in Vikings history.
Bill Brown and Tony Richardson deserve mention.
Halfback : Robert Smith
Smith was Minnesota's first-round draft choice in 1993. He contributed very little his first two seasons and was mostly used as a receiver. Though he carried the ball much more the following two years, Smith fought injuries and missed 15 games over that time.
He came into his own during the 1997 season, rushing for 1,266 yards and catching a career best 37 balls. He also averaged a very impressive 5.5 yards per carry, which was the best of his career.
Smith followed that with his first Pro Bowl year in 1998 after running for 1,187 yards and churning out six rushing touchdowns.He ran for 1,015 yards in 1999 despite missing three games.
His 2000 season was his best, as well as being the only time in his career he was able to play an entire season. Smith made his last Pro Bowl after setting career high marks of 1,521 yards and seven touchdowns on 295 carries. He also averaged 5.2 yards per carry.
Despite reeling off four straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons and being only 28-years old, Smith retired after that 2000 season. He noted his injury plagued career as one of the reasons for his early exit, despite perhaps just entering his prime.
Smith is still holds the Vikings record for most rushing yards in a career and his four 1,000-yards rushing seasons is a team record, though Adrian Peterson tied it in 2010. Smith accomplished all of this and fumbled the ball just nine times in his whole career.
He was always making the big play for the Vikings. Smith's average touchdown run was 27.2 yards, which is an NFL record. He had four consecutive years where he ran a football 70 yards or longer.
He is one of the 50 Greatest Minnesota Vikings as well as being a member of their 40th Anniversary Team. There is no question that Robert Smith was a special player in the short time that he wore the Vikings uniform.
Brent McClanahan, Michael Bennett, Dave Osborne, Tommy Mason, Darrin Nelson, Ted Brown, and Ricky Young deserve mention.
Wide Receiver : Cris Carter
Carter was drafted in the fourth round of the Supplemental Draft in 1987 by the Philadelphia Eagles. He had to go into the supplemental draft because he lost his senior year of eligibility at Ohio State University after signing a contract with an agent.
The 1987 season is best known as being shortened by a players strike. Carter was rarely used, catching two touchdowns off five receptions, though he did return 12 kicks. He would only return one kick the rest of his career.
Kenny Jackson, the Eagles first-round draft pick in 1984, was not working out as a starter opposite Pro Bowler Mike Quick. Carter was inserted into the starting lineup and grabbed 17 touchdowns off 84 receptions over two seasons.
The Eagles were known for their swarming defense and athletic quarterback during this time. Their head coach, Buddy Ryan, was a defensive expert, but the Eagles offense could not score in the playoffs and were bounced out in their first game in both years Carter started.
Ryan suddenly cut Carter after the 1989 season, with the reason was that all Carter did for the Eagles was "catch touchdown passes". The truth was that Carter was abusing drugs and the wide receiver credits his being cut as the wake up call that saved his life.
Minnesota claimed him off the waiver wire right away. He spent his first year in Minnesota backing up Anthony Carter (no relation) and Hassan Jones. Though the Vikings started three receivers seven times in 1991, he supplanted Jones as the starter and would hold that spot the remainder of his Vikings career.
One of Carter's strengths was his conditioning and durability. Though he missed four games because if injury in 1992, he played every other game possible for Minnesota. Except for his rookie and final seasons, those would be the only four games that he missed.
His 1993 season was the first of eight straight Pro Bowl years. He became one of the very best receivers in the NFL over this time. Carter caught a career best 122 pass in both 1994 and 1995, becoming the only player in NFL history to have that many receptions twice. He led the NFL in receptions in 1994, and his career best 17 touchdown receptions in 1995 led the league as well.
The Vikings had a revolving door at quarterback during Carter's time there. Seven different men were the primary starter in his 12 seasons with the team. Despite all the lunacy and confusion, Carter was a beacon of steady leadership and consistent production.
Carter had 86 or more receptions in seven of his eight Pro Bowl years. He had 90 or more catches five times. He also grabbed those touchdowns Ryan mentioned. Other than the 17 scores in 1995, he led the NFL with 13 touchdown catches two times. He was in double figures in touchdown receptions in five of his Pro Bowl years.
What made his production even more special, other than the ever changing quarterback, is the fact he had to share receptions with future Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss, Pro Bowl wide receivers Jake Reed and Anthony Carter, and Pro Bowl tight end Steve Jordan.
Besides his eight consecutive Pro Bowls, he was named First Team All-Pro twice. He holds the Vikings record for Pro Bowls by a wide receiver, and only Moss has been named First Team All-Pro more. Just two Vikings, Hall of Famers Alan Page and Randall McDaniel have represented Minnesota more at the Pro Bowl than Carter.
Though he caught 73 balls for six scores in 2001, the Vikings let the 36-year old receiver go. He joined the Miami Dolphins the next year, but appeared in just five games and retired.
Carter hold the Vikings records of receptions, receiving yards, and touchdown catches for a career. He also holds the single-season Vikings record for receptions and is tied with Moss with touchdown receptions.
He has been a finalist for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame three times so far. He ranks third in NFL history with 1,101 career receptions, fourth in career receiving touchdowns with 130, and eighth in career receiving yards, and total career touchdowns.
Carter has a feel-good story attached to his career, one that has now extended to where he provides analysis on television. With career on the ropes because of drugs, he rebounded and became a leader. Most recall him serving as a mentor to Moss.
He won the Bart Starr Man of the Year Award in 1994, the Bryon "Whizzer" White NFL Man of the Year Awards in 1998, and the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 1999.
Besides the 17 NFL records he either owns or shares, he is a member of the NFL's 1990s All-Decade Team. He is one of the 50 Greatest Minnesota Vikings as well as being a member of their 40th Anniversary Team.
The Vikings have retired his jersey and inducted him into their Honor Roll. His induction into Canton is inevitable, the only question left is the year it will happen. The Vikings have had a huge amount of great receivers to play for them, but Cris Carter may be their best ever.
Wide Receiver : Sammy White
White was drafted in the second round by Minnesota in 1976. He started immediately and exploded on the NFL.
He was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year after catching a career best 10 touchdowns while getting 906 yards on 51 receptions. The Vikings reached Super Bowl XI, where White would make a play to be remembered forever.
The Vikings were trailing early to the Oakland Raiders and forced to throw on third and long. The ball hung in the air as White and two Raiders ran to it. There was a tremendous collision that eventually sent White's helmet flying.
Though he hung onto the ball, the impact of the hit forced him to sit out of several plays. White did come back to lead the Vikings with five receptions for 77 yards and a score in the Raiders 32-14 victory.
What some fans do not remember was the catch White made in the Vikings playoff win over the Washington Redskins that year. Those who recall it often say it is amongst the best circus catches in NFL history.
While Chuck Foreman and Brent McClanahan both ran for 100 yards, White led the team with four catches for 64 yards. Two went for score, but the first was the best.
Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton slightly overthrew White on a post pattern, but a diving White got a hand on he ball, batting it in the air. He crashed to the ground, but kept his eyes on the football.
Squirming on the ground, he stretched out to keep batting the ball in the air. Juggling it as he squirmed to get his body underneath the ball. He achieved this after several yards, then continued to snake his body on the ground until he crossed the goal line to put the Vikings up 14-3.
He was named to the Pro Bowl in his rookie year, an honor he would achieve the next season after averaging 18.5 yards on 41 receptions and scoring nine times. He was considered a top-flight receiver able to beat you with speed and precise route running.
He continued to be the Vikings top receiver the next three years, culminating in having one of the best seasons of his career in 1981. He set career high marks with 66 receptions for 1,001 yards.
After the strike-shortened 1982 season, White's next two years were met with nagging injuries. He still was able to average a career best 19 yards at catch in 1984. After being able to suit up for just six games, due to injury, in 1985, he retired.
He left the game as the Vikings all-time leader in receiving yards and touchdown catches, as well as second in receptions. White still ranks fourth in touchdown catches, fifth in receiving yards, and seventh in receptions.
Wide receiver is a position Minnesota is deep in tradition and excellence, where choosing anyone is not the wrong choice. I selected White for not only his postseason greatness, but the fact he was at his best in the much harder 10-yard chuck rule era.
Only Ahmad Rashad had to deal with this, as far as Vikings receivers with more receptions, and he finished with just seven more catches than White. The rest on the list, with more catches than White, are men who encountered the much easier 5-yard chuck rule in a much more offensive friendly era.
Yet Sammy White was able to average over 16 yards on 393 receptions while finding the end zone 50 times. He wasn't just spectacular, he was tough. Proving much of his career to be amongst the best wide receivers in Vikings history.
He is one of the 50 Greatest Minnesota Vikings as well as being a member of their 25th Anniversary Team.
Anthony Carter, Ahmad Rashad, John Gilliam, Paul Flatley, Koren Robinson, Bob Grimm, Jerry Reichow, Jake Reed, and Gene Washington deserve mention.
Tight End : Steve Jordan
Jordan was the Vikings seventh round draft pick in 1982. He spent his first two years backing up Pro Bowler Joe Senser and Hall of Famer Dave Casper.
He earned the starting job in 1984. Besides 38 receptions, he had the only rushing attempt of his career and scored from four yards out. He had a career best 68 receptions the next year, but failed to score.
Things changed in 1986, where Jordan would earn the first of six consecutive Pro Bowl honors. Besides being a consistent receiving threat, his blocking improved every year. He also never missed a game over this stretch of time.
Jordan began to get injured in 1992. He missed two games that season and the next, though he was productive with 57 receptions in his last year as a starter. Jordan was only able to suit up for four games in 1994, then retired.
He is one of the 50 Greatest Minnesota Vikings as well as being a member of their 40th Anniversary Team. No Vikings tight end has more Pro Bowls, receptions, receiving yards, or touchdowns caught than him.
He still ranks third in Vikings history in receptions, sixth in receiving yards, and seventh in touchdown catches. Minnesota has had quite a few good tight ends wear their uniform, but Jordan may be the best of them all.
Joe Senser, Byron Chamberlain, Bob Tucker, and Stu Voight deserve mention.
Tackle : Grady Alderman
Alderman was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 10th round of the 1960 draft. He went to college at the nearby University of Detroit Mercy. Alderman and Kansas City Chiefs guard George Daney hold the distinction of being the last players from the school to have played in the NFL.
The football program was disbanded in 1964 despite having put 62 players in the NFL and once winning a national championship. Alderman is a member of the schools Hall of Fame.
He spent his rookie year on the bench, playing both guard and tackle. Detroit left him exposed to the Vikings expansion draft in 1961. Though Minnesota got several good players, including Hall of Fame halfback Hugh McElhenny, Alderman was their finest selection.
He started at left tackle day one. Alderman started every game he played over the next nine seasons, missing just one game over that span. Though the Vikings were struggling as a team, he quickly stood out.
The 1963 season was his first of five consecutive Pro Bowl honors. The team have five losing seasons in their first seven years of existence, but people recognized the work of Alderman. He played in an era where players and coaches voted on who would get that honor.
The Vikings steadily improved, and Alderman was a cconsistent force each year. The offensive line was one of the reasons for the improvent, with Pro Bowlers Mick Tinglehoff at center and Milt Sunde at guard. It would get even better whn Hall of Famer Ron Yary and Pro Bowler Ed White were added later on.
Though his Pro Bowl streak ended in 1968, it was the first year the Vikings won their division. Minnesota repeated as division champions the next year by winning 12 of 14 games. Though the team would win 12 games three more times up until 1973, it was a franchise record until the 1998 team won 15.
The Vikings are the last NFL Champion before the NFL and American Football League officially merged in 1970. They reached Super Bowl V that year before losing. Alderan was named to his last Pro Bowl, as well as earning his lone First Team All-Pro nod.
The last five years of his career was peppered with injuries, but he helped Minnesota keep winning. The team lost just 11 games in four of those years. Alderman would miss the first three starts of his career in 1970, and miss three more the next year. He also missed the second game of his career in 1971.
Now 36-yeard old in 1974, Minnesota took him out of the starting lineup for the first time in his career. He appeared in every game but one as a reserve. The Vikings reached their third Super Bowl in his career with them, but lost. Alderman then retired.
His 194 games played is still the seventh most in Vikings history. Few players in the history of the game were as reliable. Alderman missed just three games in his 14 years with Minnesota.
Alderman was somehow left off the NFL's 1960s All-Decade Team despite geing to the Pro Bowl more than two of the three tackles selected. One, Bob Brown, is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Brown went to the Pro Bowl four times in the 1960's and the other selection, Ralph Neely of the Dallas Cowboys, went twice.
A masterful technician, he always took on the other teams best pass rusher. He also had to block with knowledge of the avenues Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Takenton might take off running to. Tarkenton was known as the "Mad Scrambler", so blockers would have to stay blocking on plays longer for him than other teams had to.
He is one of the 50 Greatest Minnesota Vikings as well as being a member of both their 25th and 40th Anniversary Teams. Alderman was an alert player who pounced on 13 fumbles in his career.
Alderman was somehow left off the NFL's 1960s All-Decade Team despite geing to the Pro Bowl more than two of the three tackles selected. One, Bob Brown, is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Brown went to the Pro Bowl four times in the 1960's and the other selection, Ralph Neely of the Dallas Cowboys, went twice.
The six Pro Bowls he played in are tied with 11 other Vikings as the fifth most in franchise history, and it is the most ever by a left tackle. He is the first tackle in team history to be named First Team All-Pro. Alderman was named Second Team All-Pro five times.
What fans forget with all of his longevity, durability, and excellence is how he accomplished all of this despite being one of the smaller left tackles in the game. Alderman stood 6'2" and weighed 247 lbs. in an era where blockers were not allowed to extend their arms and use their hands like today.
Surviving alone shows how stellar he was with his technique. Then you factor in all of the accolades he attained in his career as his teams went from the basement of the NFL to becoming a dominant squad for many years.
I can only guess his exclusion from Canton is some sort of punishmenment for the Vikings failing to win a Super Bowl. He hasn't even gotten close in the voting process, which is a head scratcher.
There are many men in Canton because their teams won championships, but the Pro Football Hall of Fame is not a team honor. It is supposed to honor individual achievement. This is somehow forgotten by voters too many times to count. Just because the Vikings failed to win, they have several extremely worthy players still waiting on induction.
Inferior players go in as time forgets the greatness of these men. The expression that no one remembers second place seems to get louder in the case of men like Alderman, yet the voters seem clueless how hard it is just to reach a title game or even just make an NFL team.
Six Pro Bowls in a career is an excellent number, but it looks less thanks to how the National Football League ruined the Pro Bowl in both the game and how they sullied the hoonor by allowing no-nothing fans to vote. Where showboats or media whores get the honor instead of the deserving.
Offensive tackle is a position neglected by Canton's voters the last few decades. Yet Alderman's numbers match or exceed a few inducted. He has as many Pro Bowl appearances as Mike McCormack and Rayfield Wright and more than Bob St. Clair or Joe Stydahar.
It would be the right thing for the voters to do by getting the trenches some respect in Canton. Minnesota has three blockers worthy and two, Alderman and Tingelhoff, really should have been in long ago. Those who toiled in the trenches in virtual anonymity for the sake of victory.
The list of legendary tackles is long waiting for induction. Opening up the seniors pool to incluse a few more candidates would be the intelligent move as well, because watching inferior modern players get inducted first due to these rules is infuriating and diseased.
Not only is he still the greatest left tackle in the history of the Minnesota Vikings, but Grady Alderman is most certaonly worthy of induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Tackle : Todd Steussie
Steussie was drafted by the Vikings in the first round of the 1994 draft. He started at left tackle immediately, and would start every game of his career with Minnesota.
He was also extremely durable and dependable, missing just one game with the Vikings. On a Vikings offensive line that had a Hall of Fame guard and Pro Bowl center, Steussie gained notice for his own excellent play.
At 6'6" 330, he was a mountain of a man on a team with one of the most explosive offenses in the league. Stuessie was given a Pro Bowl nod in both 1997 and 1998.
Stuessie became a free agent after the 2000 season, so he signed with the Carolina Panthers. Lasting three years with the team, he appeared in the Panthers Super Bowl XXXVIII loss. He was a salary cap victim in 2004 and was released.
After playing the next two seasons for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Stuessie joined the Saint Louis Rams in 2006. He was hurt the next year, able to play in just six games, then retired.
Tim Irwin, a true Vikings legend, was considered heavily for this slot. Stuessie accomplished Pro Bowl honors, and Irwin did not. Though both are excellent players who were underrated when they played, Stuessie's accolades give him the nod here.
Korey Stringer, Tim Irwin, and Steve Riley deserve mention.
Guard : Ed White
White was drafted in the second round of the 1969 draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He was the 39th player picked overall. His high school stadium is named Ed White Stadium.
While attending the University of California, Berkeley, he was an All-American noseguard for the famous "Bear Minimum" defense that allowed opponents an average of only 3.6 yards per play. He was also used as a receiver and quarterback on occasion, showing how excellent an athlete he was.
White was then switched to left offensive guard, against his wishes, after being drafted. He earned the starting job mid-way into his second year. He also ended up playing defensive tackle towards the end of the 1970 season, after injuries ravaged the defensive line.
White would go on to team with Hall of Fame tackle Ron Yary, and center Mick Tingelhoff, to give the Vikings one of the best offensive lines in the NFL during the 1970's. The Vikings would appear in four Super Bowls during Whites tenure in Minnesota. Three appearances were between 1973 to 1976.
The Vikings won the last NFL Championship in 1969, before the NFL-AFL merger. In 1974, he was named the the UPI Second Team All-Conference, and was named by the Newspaper Ent. Association's First team All-NFL.
Before 1975, White was switched to right guard and was named to his first Pro Bowl that year. He would be named to the Pro Bowl the following two seasons as well.
In 1977, White was injured and was only able to start 8 games. Before the 1978 season, he was traded to the San Diego Chargers for running back Rickey Young.
He would earn his last Pro Bowl nod in 1979, and was one of the first players to be named to the Pro Bowl from both the AFC and the NFC in his career. White played with the Chargers until 1985. When injuries hit the Chargers offensive line in 1984, White ended up starting at right tackle for 13 games.
He would then be moved to left guard for his final NFL season, and started every game. He was named the Chargers Offensive Lineman of the Year from 1983 to 1985. White was inducted into the San Diego Charger Hall of Fame in 2004.
White was extremely athletic and incredibly strong. He was the the NFL arm–wrestling champion and once stated he hasn't lost an arm-wrestling match since he was in high school to a man 200 lbs heavier than him. White was also noted for his exceptional intelligence on the field.
He has often said he disliked playing on the offensive side of the line, and thought he would have been a much better player on defense. Still, he was one of the best in his era. Many of his contemporaries have long said White belongs in Canton.
White also made his teammates better just by practicing against him daily. Hall of Fame DT Alan Page, Gary "Big Hands" Johnson, Louie Kelcher, and Hall of Fame DE Fred Dean all have praised White for making them better players.
White was one of the most complete offensive guards in the NFL throughout his career. Stats for guys who play his position are ignored by most.
The most a fan notices a guard is when he makes a mistake. A big mistake has been made for years, and still continues on to this day. The culprits are those who vote for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Ed White may not be remembered by many of them, but he is certainly respected by those who played against him, or watched him play. It is time to correct the mistake of not having inducted him into Canton.
He is one of the 50 Greatest Minnesota Vikings as well as being a member of both their 25th and 40th Anniversary Teams.
Guard : Milt Sunde
Sunde was drafted in the 20th round of the 1964 draft by the Vikings after having grown up in Minneapolis and attended the University of Minnesota.
After a rookie year of being a reserve, he earned a starting job at left guard in 1965. Sunde then earned his only Pro Bowl nod the next season, joined by left tackle Grady Alderman and center Mick Tingelhoff.
He got hurt the next year, appearing in 10 games. The Vikings moved him to right guard in 1968, where he split starts with Larry Bowie. He took over the starting job the next year as the Vikings became the last NFL champions before they merged with the American Football League.
He held the starting job until 1974 when new acquired Andy Maurer took over. The Vikings went to the Super Bowl in 1973 and 1974, but lost both times. Sunde retired at the end of the 1974 season.
Minnesota has had several great guards in the franchises history, but Milt Sunde was the first to ever go to the Pro Bowl. A perfect scenario for the local kid who made good against all odds. He is a member of their 25th Anniversary Team.
Terry Tausch, Wes Hamilton, Larry Bowie, David Dixon, and Charles Goodrum deserve mention.
Center : Mick Tingelhoff
Tingelhoff was an undrafted rookie signed by the Vikings before the 1962 season. He earned the starting job at center in the second preseason game of his rookie year.
It was a role he would not relinquish until he retired after 1978. He made his first Pro Bowl in 1964, and would attain that honor every year until 1969.
The 1969 season was the year the Vikings were crowned NFL Champions and went on to play the AFL Champion Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl IV before losing. He was named to the 1,000-Yard Club in 1969, honoring the NFL’s top blocker.
In 1970, he was named to the First Team All-NFL by both the Pro Football Writers and Pro Football Weekly. He was named First Team All-Conference by the Associated Press and Pro Football Weekly.
He was named Second Team All-NFL by Newspaper Ent. Association and Second Team All-Conference by the UPI. The Vikings went back to the Super Bowl in 1973, before losing to the Miami Dolphins.
The Vikings returned to the Super Bowl the following season, but lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Vikings continued to be an NFL powerhouse throughout the decade and returned to Super Bowl XI in 1976, but lost to the Oakland Raiders.
He retired after the 1978 season having started every game the Vikings played his entire career. His 240 consecutive starts were then the second most in NFL history, thirty starts behind his Vikings teammate Jim Marshall.
The only player in Nebraska University history to enjoy a longer NFL career was Tingelhoff's Husker teammate, Ron McDole, who spent 18 years in the league from 1961 to 1978. Tingelhoff has been inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor and has had his no.53 jersey retired by the franchise.
Tingelhoff's omission from Canton is one of the most confusing of all players still awaiting induction. The numbers are obvious. He was one of the most dominant center's of his era, and defined the true definition of an iron horse.
You can easily note his consecutive starts streak, the fact he was a Pro Bowler six straight seasons, and was part of the most dominant team in the NFC during the 1970's.
The Vikings were a well balanced offense that scored points off the ground and via the air. Tingelhoff snapped the ball to such great NFL quarterbacks like Hall Of Famer Fran Tarkenton and Pro Bowler Joe Kapp. He also helped pave the way for Vikings fullback Chuck Foreman, and others, to gain huge chunks of yardage.
Much of the yardage Tarkenton acquired thru the air to set a then-NFL record in passing yards and passing touchdowns were helped along by Tingelhoff's protection. He was a sound technical blocker who used his intelligence, grit, and determination to get the job done better than most centers who ever played the game.
The fact that the voters have passed on him over these years truly shows many hardly pay attention to the battles in the trenches. There is absolutely no question that Mick Tingelhoff belongs in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
He is one of the 50 Greatest Minnesota Vikings as well as being a member of both their 25th and 40th Anniversary Teams.
Matt Birk and Jeff Christy deserve mention.
Defensive Tackle : Keith Millard
Millard was a first-round draft pick of the Vikings in 1984, but he decided to sign with the Arizona Wranglers of the United States Football League instead. The Wranglers traded him to the Jacksonville Bulls. The USFL folded in 1985, so he joined the Vikings.
Minnesota had the 6'6" Millard play backup nose tackle as a rookie, which is extremely rare for a player of that height. The rookie started five games and led Minnesota with 11 sacks, which plated in the top 10 in the league.
Counting the USFL, Millard had 23 sacks in 1985. The Vikings switched to a 4-3 defense in 1986, moving Millard to defensive tackle on the right side.
After getting 22 sacks over three years, including the strike-shortened 1987 season, Millard was set to have one of the greatest seasons ever by a defensive tackle. The 1989 season saw him get 18 sacks, the most ever by a defensive tackle in the NFL and only 15 players have ever gotten more.
His teammate, Chris Doleman, led the league with 21 that season thanks to lining up next to Millard. Even Al Noga and Henry Thomas were extremely effective. Noga had a career-best 11.5 sacks, while the nine Thomas had was the second best total of his career. Millard also picked off a pass, rumbling for 47 yards, and took a fumble 31 yards for a touchdown.
He was given his second and last Pro Bowl and First Team All-Pro honors, while becoming the second, and so far last, Viking named NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Hall of Famer Alan Page was the first NFL player to ever win it in 1971 while with the Vikings.
He was also named the UPI NFC Defensive Player of the Year, an award only Page and Doleman also won while with Minnesota. Page was the first defensive player ever to have won that award, which went defunct after the 1996 season.
Suffering a major knee injury in the fourth game on the 1990 season, he did not suit up again until 1992 as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. Despite a sack in two games played, Seattle released him and the Green Bay Packers had him on their roster for two games. Millard joined the Philadelphia Eagles in 1993, appearing in 14 games and starting five. He had four sacks, then retired.
His 53 sacks with the Vikings still rank fourth-best on the NFL list for the franchise, but Hall of Famers Page and Carl Eller had 108.5 and 130.5 "unofficially" with Minnesota, and Jim Marshall, who should be in Canton, had 127 himself.
Though injuries shortened a career that appeared destined for Canton, Millard was ranked 21st of the 50 Greatest Vikings Team put together in 2010. Minnesota has two defensive tackles enshrined in Canton with Page and John Randle, but Keith Millard was surely on their level for a short time before his injury.
Defensive Tackle : Henry Thomas
Thomas was drafted in the third round of the 1987 draft by the Vikings. Though his rookie year was cut short four games by a players strike, he started every game and intercepted a pass.
He scored a touchdown off a fumble recovery the nest year, while intercepting another ball. His teammates called him "Hardware Hank" because Thomas would line up over center and dismantle the opposing offenses point of attack.
This helped allow his three fellow defensive linemen to get 50.5 sacks. Thomas collected nine himself, while scoring again off another fumble recovery. Thomas was widely respected and a noted tackling machine.
The 1990 season was one of his best, getting a career best 109 tackles and 8.5 sacks. He followed that up with his first Pro Bowl year after getting eight sacks and 100 tackles. Thomas had collected an amazing 466 tackles in his first five seasons.
Thomas made the Pro Bowl for the last time in his career in 1992 even though his tackle totals began to dwindle. He got nine sacks, as well as recording a safety, in 1993 despite missing three games due to injury.
He joined the Detroit Lions in 1995 and got a career best 10.5 sacks while mentoring rookie, and future Pro Bowler, Luther Elliss. Thomas left the Lions after the next season, joining the New England Patriots in 1997.
Thomas played four years with the Patriots. He was very effective, getting two interceptions and 21 sacks over that time. He took one interception 24 yards for the last score of his career. Thomas retired after the 2000 season.
Of his 93.5 career sacks, 56 came with the Vikings. Hall of Fame defensive tackles Alan Page and John Randle are the only Vikings defensive tackles with more. He ranks third on the Vikings list in tackles.
The Vikings have many fantastic defensive tackles in their franchises history. Henry Thomas certainly ranks near the tip as one of their best ever. He is one of the 50 Greatest Minnesota Vikings.
Gary Larsen, Doug Sutherland, Charles Johnson, and Paul Dickson deserve mention.
Defensive End : Jim Marshall
Jim Marshall was a fourth round draft choice of the Cleveland Browns in 1960. He had played the year before in the Canadian Football League for the Saskatchewan Roughriders after leaving Ohio State University upon the completion of his junior year.
When Marshall came to the Browns, he started right away at right defensive end. He started the first three games, but had a falling out with legendary head coach Paul Brown. He soon lost his starting job, but continued to play the rest of the season.
In the off-season, Brown had plans to move Marshall to offensive tackle, but Marshall contracted encephalitis, and lost a great deal of weight. This fact, coupled with the problems Marshall and Paul Brown were having, did not bode well for Marshall's future in Cleveland.
Both teams have different versions on how Marshall became a member of the expansion Vikings. The Vikings state that Marshall was traded with Jim Prestel, Paul Dickson, Jamie Caleb, Dick Grecni, and CB Billy Gault while Cleveland received a second-round choice and an 11th-round choice that turned out to be Chuck Hinton and Ronnie Meyers.
The Browns state that "Jim Marshall was released by the Browns on Sep. 11, 1961. His rights were picked up by the Minnesota Vikings soon after, and the Browns, in a “gentleman’s agreement”, which is how Paul Brown carried out many deals, received cash and “future considerations”.
Regardless, Marshall was then a Viking until 1979. Marshall was with the team through the good and bad times. He led the team in sacks their first six years in the NFL.
He may best be remembered for his 66 yard "wrong way" run, the longest safety and shortest play in NFL history. Billy Kilmer, then a running back with the San Francisco 49ers, had fumbled the ball. Marshall scooped it up and bolted for the wrong end zone.
The Vikings won the game, as Marshall came up with a key sack in the fourth quarter. The "wrong way run" is truly a NFL classic moment to this day. But Marshall also achieved many more great feats on the field.
Many fans know he played in a then-league-record 282 consecutive regular season games and 302 games counting his playoff appearances. Punter Jeff Feagles passed this number, but the NFL still recognizes Marshall's consecutive starts streak because Feagles was a punter.
Marshall also owns the NFL record of 282 consecutive games played by a defensive end and he also recovered 29 fumbles, an NFL record for a defensive player.
He is listed as the Vikings franchises second leading All-Time leading sack totals leader, behind Hall of Famer Carl Eller, with 127. Marshall was the Vikings team captain for 17 seasons.
In all, discounting CFL games, Marshall played in 409 games (pre-season, season, post season and Pro Bowls), had over 1050 tackles, and over 133 sacks. His teams won 11 Divisional Championships and played in four Super Bowls.
Twice he kept his streak intact by walking out of hospitals where he was recuperating from pneumonia and ulcers. On another occasion, he played after accidentally shooting himself in the side while cleaning his shotgun.
In the final home game of his illustrious career, Marshall sacked Buffalo's Joe Ferguson twice and even played offensive tackle during the Vikings final series. Minnesota won 10-3, and Marshall was carried off the field by his teammates. He was awarded the game ball, the first one ever given to a Viking player by Hall of Fame head coach Bud Grant.
Many fans may best remember Marshall in his days of the Purple People Eaters. Teamed with Alan Page and Carl Eller, Gary Larsen, then Doug Sutherland, Marshall helped lead one of the greatest front fours in NFL history.
Paige and Eller are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Vikings may not have won the Super Bowl, but their teams were annually amongst the most feared and respected during the era.
Marshall was one of a kind. We have seen Darrell Green and Jackie Slater play as long since, but neither matched Marshall's consecutive games streak. Marshall played in 270 games in 19 seasons with the Vikings and never missed a game. These are probably records that will stand for a very, very long time.
He was versatile enough to play on either side of the ball, and anywhere along the defensive line. His toughness is legendary. Many in the Twin Cities remember how Marshall and 16 others on snowmobiles got caught in a blizzard in Wyoming.
Many of the party broke up in small groups as the snowmobiles conked out one by one. A bank president from Minnesota died. Marshall was with five other people as they tried to walk through snow that was 10-15 feet deep.
They made a snow cave to rest for the night by burning everything they had. Marshall's money, checkbook, and other papers were amongst those things burned.
They made it another 24 hours as they froze in their camp before help arrived. Marshall called the experience " “the toughest thing I’ve ever encountered in my life.”
When you look at Jim Marshall's stats, he is Canton worthy. When you factor in his legendary streak, it should be concrete proof that he is undeniably a Hall of Fame player. Maybe the voters won't let him him because of Eller and Paige or the lack of titles? That should not be a deterrent for the voters.
Paige and Eller finished their careers elsewhere, but certainly are worthy. Marshall? He was as consistent and reliable as they come. He should have been in the Pro Football Hall of Fame years ago.
He is one of the 50 Greatest Minnesota Vikings as well as being a member of both their 25th and 40th Anniversary Teams.
Defensive End : Chris Doleman
Doleman was the Vikings first round draft pick in 1985, as well as the fourth overall selection. Minnesota was running a 3-4 defense, so they had Doleman play left outside linebacker.
He was asked to primarily play the run, and he had a career best 113 tackles that season. He also picked off a pass and the half a sack he had that year would be the lowest total of his career.
Though he took an interception 59 yards for a touchdown the next year, his production dwindled drastically. The Vikings would then switch to the 4-3 defense in the strike-shortened 1987 season.
The move paid off as the Vikings soon featured a young, exciting, and explosive defensive line. Doleman has 11 sacks in the 12 games he played, as well as forcing a career high six fumbles. He was named to the first of his four consecutive Pro Bowls.
The 1989 season is considered the best of his career. He piled up a Vikings record 21 sacks, still the third best total in NFL history, and forced five fumbles. He was named First Team All-Pro on a defense that had an amazing 71 sacks. It is one less than the NFL record set by the 1984 Chicago Bears.
After failing to make the Pro Bowl in 1991, he returned to it the next year after getting 14.5 sacks and matching his career high mark of six forced fumbles. Doleman was also named First Team All-Pro for the last time of his career after recording a safety and scoring a touchdown off an interception.
The 1993 season was his last as a Viking. He joined the Atlanta Falcons as a free agent in 1992, lasting two years with the team and going to the Pro Bowl once. Doleman then joined the San Francisco 49ers in 1996.
His three years with the 49ers were very productive. He piled up 38 sacks, scored a touchdown off a fumble recovery, and made the Pro Bowl one final time in his career. He then left to rejoin the Vikings for the 1999 season. After getting eight sacks, he retired.
Doleman ranks fourth on the NFL career sacks list with 150.5. His 96.5 with the Vikings is officially recognized as the second most in team history because the NFL did not recognize sacks until 1982.
He ranks second in tackles and safeties as well. One of the most impressive statistics in his career is that he missed only four games and played in 232 contests over his 15 seasons.
The Vikings have one defensive end, Carl Eller, in Canton, and another, Jim Marshall, who should be. Doleman is one of the 50 Greatest Minnesota Vikings.and has been a finalist for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame three times. His induction seems likely, but it is safe to say he is one of the best defensive ends in Vikings history.
Mark Mullaney, Doug Martin, and Al Noga deserve mention.
Outside Linebacker : Matt Blair
Blair was drafted in the second round of the 1974 draft by the Minnesota Vikings, and was the 51st player chosen overall. The Vikings started him in six games during his rookie year, and he was named to the NFL's All-Rookie Team after getting an interception and fumble recovery.
Minnesota would go on to appear in Super Bowl IX that year, where Blair would block a punt leading to the Vikings only points in their 16-6 defeat. He played as a reserve next season, but earned the starting left outside linebacker job in 1976.
He had a career high five fumble recoveries and had two interceptions that year, as the Vikings made it to Super Bowl XI before losing. In the NFC Championship Game two weeks earlier, he had helped block a field goal attempt that Vikings cornerback Pro Bowl Bobby Bryant took 90 yards for a touchdown that accounted for the first points of the game.
The 1977 season saw Blair make the first of six consecutive Pro Bowl appearances. His penchant for the big play was widely known throughout the league, as was his solid, steady play backed by great fundamentals. The entire defensive personnel around him changed at every position except his. He was named the captain of the defense in 1979 and held that position until he retired.
Gone were Hall Of Famers like defensive tackle Alan Page, defensive end Carl Eller, and free safety Paul Krause, along with Vikings legends like defensive end Jim Marshall, defensive tackle Doug Sutherland, linebackers Jeff Sieman and Wally Hilgenberg, and defensive backs Bobby Bryant and Nate Wright. Blair continued to be a top echelon linebacker in the league despite these massive changes.
Many other changes occurred on the Vikings offense after 1977 as well. Minnesota went to four Super Bowls between 1969 and 1976, but none after that. After making it to the NFC Championship Game in 1977, the Vikings made the playoffs in 1978 and 1980 and lost in the first round each time. Blair would not appear in a postseason game again.
It was in that 1977 season that he scored his first touchdown, which came off a blocked kick. He scored again for the final time the next season off of a lateral that went 49 yards. It set the stage for maybe the finest year of his career, which happened during the 1980 season.
He was named to his only First Team All-Pro team that year, and was named the Most Valuable Linebacker of the NFC. Blair was also being recognized for all of the work he did away from the gridiron.
Working in several charities that included the Children's Miracle Network, Multiple Sclerosis Society, March of Dimes, American Cancer Society, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Lupus Foundation of Minnesota, Special Olympics, and the United Way, he was named the 1981 NFL Man of the Year. He also was the Top 10 Outstanding Young Men of America by the Jaycees in 1983. His work with the homeless and hungry has raised millions of dollars as well.
He missed the first games of his career in 1983 after becoming injured enough to miss five games. The Vikings drafted Chris Doleman in the first round before the 1985 season, and Hall Of Fame head coach Bud Grant had Blair teach him how to play linebacker and rush the quarterback from the edge. After appearing in a career low six games because of injury that year, Blair decided to retire.
The Vikings have never had a linebacker better than Blair. His 1,452 career tackles still ranks second in team history. No other Vikings linebacker has intercepted more passes than him either.
Though sacks were not a recorded statistic until the 1982 season, he was known for his ability to come hard off the edge and create havoc on opposing teams. But he was more than just an excellent player who supported the run and rushed the passer.
Minnesota liked to keep him on the field as much as possible, because he was so excellent defending the pass and creating turnovers on special teams as well.
His athleticism was on display in the 1975 season. The Vikings could not find a consistent punt returner that year, and used six different players that year. One of them was Blair, who took two punt returns that year. He may be the last linebacker ever in NFL history to be asked to field a punt.
His ability to block kicks was amazing. It didn't matter if it was a field goal, extra point, or punt, because he was a force each time the ball was snapped. His 20.5 blocked kicks in the regular season is a Vikings record, and this stat becomes even more spectacular when you factor in the fact Page blocked 16 more as well. In all, counting post season, he blocked 23.5 kicks. It is the second most in NFL history.
His 20 career fumble recoveries is tied as the 11th most by any defender in NFL history. What makes this statistic more impressive is the fact his teammates(Marshall, Page, and Eller) all had more in their careers.
It is a testament to the Vikings defense being able to create multiple turnovers, and Blair's abilities around so many teammates who shared his proclivity to jump on loose footballs.
How the voters of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame can induct a one dimensional linebacker like Andre Tippett, while ignoring better players like Blair, shows a process full of politics where the actual play on the field is disregarded.
Tippett just rushed the passer and went to the Pro Bowl a measly four times, while Blair did everything and more a linebacker could be asked to do and had more accolades.
Some may point to his six Pro Bowls and question if it is enough, especially when nine-time Pro Bowl linebacker like Maxie Baughn still await their call to the hall. What puts Blair over the top for induction over many other outside linebacker legends is his ability to play all over the field in every aspect of the game on defense and special teams.
He is a member of both the Vikings Silver and the 40th year anniversary teams, and soon will be inducted into the teams Ring of Honor. If one looks at the fact he continued his greatness long after all of the other "Purple People Eaters" had left the team, it should become quite apparent that Matt Blair deserves to be inducted into Canton.
Middle Linebacker : Jeff Siemon
Siemon was the Vikings first round draft pick in 1972. He ended up starting eight games as a rookie and picked off a pair of passes.
He earned the starting job full-time next year and held it until 1979, not missing a game over that time. He made the Pro Bowl in 1973. Siemon was an every down player capable of being effective against the run or pass.
Minnesota had one of the most dominating defenses in NFL history during the 1970's. The "Purple People Eaters" were a stifling unit that did not allow other teams to do much offensively.
Siemon went to the Pro Bowl three straight years starting in 1975. The Vikings went to the Super Bowl in 1976 but lost. The team started to age by then, but he maintained a steady presence in the middle of the defense.
Scott Studwell started in 1980, relegating Siemon to the bench mostly. Minnesota switched to the 3-4 defense the following year so Siemon and Studwell could both start. He retired after the 1982 season.
No middle linebacker in Vikings history has been to the Pro Bowl more than Seimon's four appearances. There was little he couldn't do on the field and he was known for his quickness, speed, and cerebral approach to the game.
There is no question that Jeff Siemon is the best middle linebacker in Vikings history. He is is one of the 50 Greatest Minnesota Vikings as well as being a member of both their 25th and 40th Anniversary Teams.
Scott Studwell, Rip Hawkins, Ed McDaniel, and Jack Del Rio deserve mention.
Outside Linebacker : Wally Hilgenberg
Hilgenberg was drafted in the fourth round of the 1964 draft by the Detroit Lions. He spent three years with the Lions mostly as a reserve, then was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers after the 1966 season. Pittsburgh cut him in training camp.
Minnesota picked Hilgenberg up in 1968 and he started half of the season. He then would start the next eight years, missing just two games due to injury. He was tough and dependable.
Though he never made the Pro Bowl, he was an important member of the "Purple People Eaters". He was always around the ball, able to defend against the pass and especially stout versus the run.
He scored a touchdown off a fumble recovery in 1973 and recorded a safety the next year. Hilgenberg played in all four of the Vikings Super Bowl appearances.
He became a reserve in 1977 because Fred McNeill, the Vikings first-round draft choice in 1974, was ready to start. Hilgenberg stayed with the Vikings until 1979 before retiring. He played in 158 games in his 12 years with the team and is one of the 50 Greatest Minnesota Vikings.
He was reliable, tough, durable, and smart. Hilgenberg was also a noted prankster who kept the team loose. He is easily one of the greatest linebackers in Vikings history.
Fred McNeill and Roy Winston deserve mention.
Strong Safety : Joey Browner
Browner was the first-round draft pick of the Vikings in the 1983 draft. He comes from a family deeply ingrained into the NFL fabric. Three of his brothers and a nephew have played in the NFL, a record for one family.
Minnesota brought him along slowly in his first two seasons, starting nine games total and even seeing time at cornerback. He was able to score off a fumble recovery over that time. Browner was named the full-time starter in 1985, immediately becoming a star.
That season began a string of six consecutive Pro Bowl appearances. Not only was he a punishing hitter, but Browner was always where the ball ended up. He also came up with the big play often, returning three interceptions for touchdowns.
Browner was considered the best strong safety in the NFC for a number of seasons. He was named First Team All-Pro three times and recovered 17 fumbles in his first six seasons as a player. He also set a Pro Bowl record by returning three fumbles for scores.
The 1990 season may have been his best. He had a career best seven interceptions for 103 yards and three sacks. Besides scoring the last time in his career, Browner also made his Final Pro Bowl. Though he picked off five passes the next year, but he missed the first two games of his career.
Minnesota released him after that 1991 season, so Browner signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played seven games in 1992 then decided to retire. Though tackles were not an official statistic in his era, historians say Browner piled up at least 1,100 in his career.
The 37 interceptions Browner had with Minnesota is the fourth most in team history and the most ever by a Vikings strong safety. His 17 fumble recoveries are the seventh most in team history.
Though the NFL does not recognize his 18 forced fumbles as an official statistic, it shows the force of impact he brought when tackling. He has been on the Pro Football Hall of Fame ballot five times so far, and could one day find himself inducted.
He is one of the 50 Greatest Minnesota Vikings as well as being a member of their 40th Anniversary Team. The Vikings strong safety position has had many great players, and Joey Browner may be the best in franchise history.
Robert Griffith, Todd Scott, Corey Chavous, Jeff Wright, and Karl Kassulke deserve mention.
Free Safety : Orlando Thomas
Thomas was drafted in the second round by the Vikings. He earned a starting job immediately and may have had the finest season of his career in his rookie year.
Though he started just 11 of 16 games as a rookie, Thomas led the NFL with nine interceptions. He recovered a career best four fumbles and also scored a touchdown off both an interception and fumble recovery.
Despite having superior numbers to Merton Hanks, Thomas was passed over for the Pro Bowl in favor of Hanks. The next season saw him pile up a career high 83 tackles while intercepting five more passes.
After scoring the last touchdown of his career in 1997, Thomas got hurt and missed the first game of his career. He rebounded in 1998 to help the Vikings have maybe the best season in franchise history.
Minnesota won 15 games that year, sending 10 players to the Pro Bowl. They were first in offense and sixth in defense in the NFL that year. Thomas teamed with Robert Griffith as a pair of hard hitting safeties who excelled in run support. The Vikings reached the NFC Championship Game that year before losing in overtime.
His last three seasons with the Vikings were frequently met by injury. Thomas missed 13 games over this time. This caused him to retire at the end of the 2001 season. His 22 interceptions with the Vikings is the seventh most in franchise history and his two touchdowns off fumble recoveries is tied with nine others as the most in team history.
When you talk free safety for the Minnesota Vikings, the first name to come up will always be Hall of Famer Paul Krause. Yet Orlando Thomas was an excellent player himself with the Vikings for many years.
Darren Sharper, John Harris, and John Turner deserve mention.
Cornerback : Bobby Bryant
Bryant was drafted in the seventh round in 1968 by Minnesota. He was a reserve as a rookie, though he did score a touchdown off two interceptions. Minnesota had his return a career high 19 kickoffs and ten punts that season.
Though the Vikings asked him to return just three more kickoffs the rest of his career, they did have him return 59 more punts. The Vikings preferred keeping him mainly on the defensive unit, where he excelled.
At barely 170 lbs, Bryant was called "Bones" by teammates and fans. He threw his slight frame around at reckless abandon, often causing nagging injuries. In his 13 years with the team, Bryant would have just four seasons where he played every game.
When he was on the field, Bryant was a fan favorite who was the teams lock-down defender often making big plays. He was known to blow kisses to the Vikings fans after making a big play.
He started and played in just 10 games in 1969, but was able to snag a career best eight interceptions. Bryant was named Second Team All-NFL for his efforts, but his injuries prevented him from playing in the Super Bowl that year. He scored off of one of his three interceptions the next year despite missing three games.
Minnesota inserted Charlie West as a starter in 1971, forcing Bryant into a reserve role. He got his stating job back the following season and scored off a fumble recovery. Bryant grabbed seven picks in 1973, scoring the last regular season touchdown of his career off one of the interceptions.
The 1974 season would be the only year of his career he failed to intercept a pass because he suffered a season-ending injury in the first game. Bryant rebounded strong the next year, earning his first Pro Bowl nod after picking off six balls.
His 1976 season was his last Pro Bowl year. The Vikings would reach the Super Bowl that year before losing a fourth and final time in Bryant's career. He had helped them get there a few weeks earlier in the NFC Championship Game by taking a blocked field goal attempt 90 yards for a touchdown.
At an age where most cornerbacks retire, Bryant was still the Vikings top defender. He picked off seven pass at the age of 34-years old in 1978. He held his starting job until 1980, grabbing three interceptions and then retiring.
Bryant played in three different decades for Minnesota, as well as being a member of all four of their Super Bowl teams. He was a key member of the famous "Purple People Eaters" defense.
The 51 interceptions Bryant had rank as the second most in team history. His three touchdowns off interceptions is tied with seven others as the most in Vikings history, and his 749 yards off interceptions rank as the third most in franchise history.
He is one of the 50 Greatest Minnesota Vikings as well as being a member of both their 25th and 40th Anniversary Teams. Bobby Bryant may be the greatest cornerback in Vikings history.
Cornerback : Ed Sharockman
Sharockman was drafted in the fifth round of the 1961 draft by the Vikings, the fifth player ever drafted by Minnesota. He got hurt in his first NFL game and missed the rest of the season.
Vikings Hall of Fame head coach Norm Van Brocklin plugged Sharockman immediately into the starting lineup in 1962. The move was rewarded with six interceptions and two fumble recoveries. One fumble was returned 88 yards for a score, the longest in the NFL that year.
He was part of a Vikings defense that was opportunistic. The 1963 season saw them set a still-standing NFL record of 53 fumble recoveries. They caused opponents to fumble the ball an NFL record 50 times, since equaled by the 1978 San Francisco 49ers. Sharockman also scored a touchdown off his five interceptions that year.
Though Sharockman was never invited to the Pro Bowl in his career, he was continuously getting the ball back for the Vikings. He led the team in interceptions four times during his career. He had six or more interceptions four times.
The 1970 season may have been his best. Sharockman had a career best seven interceptions for 132 yards. One ball was taken 43 yards for the last touchdown of his career. He followed that up with six more interceptions in the 1971 season.
Bobby Bryant replaced him in the starting lineup in 1972, and Sharockman played just seven games. Other than his rookie season, it was the only year of his career that Sharockman failed to record an interception. He then retired.
His 113 yards off fumble recoveries is the second most in team history, as are his 804 yards off interceptions. The 40 interceptions he grabbed are third most ever by a Viking, and his three touchdowns off interceptions is tied with seven others as the most in team history.
He is one of the 50 Greatest Minnesota Vikings as well as being a member of their 25th Anniversary Team. Ed Sharockman is certainly one of the best cornerbacks in team history.
Carl Lee, Aundray McMillan, Nate Wright, John Turner, Willie Teal, Charlie West, and Earsell Mackbee deserve mention.
Kicker : Fred Cox
Cox was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1961, but he failed to make the team. Minnesota quickly picked him up, and used him as both a punter and kicker in his rookie season. He punted the ball the only 70 times of his career that season.
Now concentrating on just place kicking, Cox began to stand out. He led the NFL in field goal attempts and makes in 1965. Cox led the NFL in field goal percentage and field goal conversions in 1969, earning him a First Team All-Pro honor.
His 1970 season was his lone Pro Bowl year. Cox led the NFL in field goal attempts and makes while scoring a career best 125 points. Though he never scored over 100 points again, Cox scored 85 or more points five times.
He retired after 15 seasons in 1977, having played in 210 games for the Vikings. He is the Vikings leader in points scored for a career. Three of his seasons still rank in the top ten scoring seasons in team history.
Cox still ranks in the top-25 in NFL history in points scored, field goals and extra points attempted and made. Cox leads the Vikings in all of those categories as well. He is one of the 50 Greatest Minnesota Vikings as well as being a member of both their 25th and 40th Anniversary Teams.
Many people might recall Fred Cox as the person who invented the Nerf football, but hopefully they also remember that he is the greatest kicker in Minnesota Vikings history.
Fuad Reveiz and Gary Anderson deserve mention.
Punter : Mitch Berger
Berger was a sixth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1994. He lasted five games before being cut, then he sat out of the entire 1995 season.
He made the Vikings squad in 1996, having two punts blocked on a career high 88 attempts. Berger steadily improved over the next three years, increasing his average on yards per punting attempt each year.
He became the first, and so far only, Vikings punter to go to the Pro Bowl in 1999. He averaged a career best 45.4 yards per punt, was an excellent tackler in coverage, and provided booming kickoffs. One punt went for a career long 75 yards.
After solid play the next two years, he left for the Saint Louis Rams in 2002. He left after one year to play for the New Orleans Saints the next three years and made the Pro Bowl in 2004.
He sat out of the league in 2006, but joined the Arizona Cardinals for five games the next year. Berger joined the Pittsburgh Steelers for 13 games in 2008, earning a ring after the Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII. He then played with the Denver Broncos for 10 games in 2009 and hasn't played since.
Berger ranks third in Vikings history in punts, punt return yards, and yards per punt average. He certainly ranks as one of the best punters in team history.
Greg Coleman, Bobby Walden, and Harry Newsome deserve mention.
Kick Returner : Darrin Nelson
Nelson was the first draft pick, and the seventh overall, of the Vikings in the 1982 draft. Though the season was cut short by a players strike, Nelson was seldom used that year.
He spent the next two years where he was sporadically used, but he showed great skill as a receiver and return specialist. He set career highs in 1984 with 39 kickoff returns for 891 yards with 23 punt returns
Nelson returned 16 punts the next year, but was never asked by the Vikings to return punts again. He also set career high marks with 200 carried for 893 yards and five scores that season.
The 1986 season was his best as a pro. He toted the ball 191 times for 793 yards while setting career highs with 53 receptions for 593 yards and three touchdowns. He then began to frustrate the Vikings the next two seasons because he couldn't stay healthy.
Minnesota then created a blockbuster trade in 1989 known as the "Hershel Walker Trade", which also gets called the "Great Train Robbery". The Vikings received Walker and three draft picks from the Dallas Cowboys, as well as a draft pick from the San Diego Chargers. Minnesota used a pick on Jake Reed, while the rest of the picks did not work out.
Dallas got three first and second-round draft picks from the Vikings, as well as five veteran players that included Nelson. Minnesota used one of the Vikings draft picks to select Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith.
Nelson refused to join the Cowboys, so he was jettisoned to the San Diego Chargers. He did so little for the Chargers that they cut him after the 1990 season. Minnesota picked him up off waivers.
He lasted two years with the Vikings backing up Walker and returning kickoffs. Nelson retired after the 1992 season. He has the seventh most rushing yards in team history and has the fourth most receptions by a running back in team history.
Nelson is the Vikings all-time leader in kick returns and kick return yardage. He is a member of their 40th Anniversary Team as a kick returner, and was the best the Vikings ever had do it until Percy Harvin arrived on the scene recently.
Buster Rhymes, David Palmer, Eddie Payton, Brent McClanahan, Clint Jones, Hershel Walker, and Qadry Ismail deserve mention.
Punt Returner : David Palmer
Palmer was the Vikings second round draft pick in 1994. Despite winning the Paul Warfield Award as the top collegiate receiver, the diminutive Palmer never quite found his niche as an NFL receiver. He caught 73 balls and ran the ball 34 times in his career.
Where Palmer did excel was returning kicks and punts. He wasn't always healthy, but Palmer did have impact on special teams when he was able to play. He only returned punts as a rookie, being a rarely used player on offense.
Palmer led the NFL with a 13.2 average on 26 punt returns in 1995. One return went for a career long 74-yard score. He scored again the very next season on a punt return despite missing five games because of injury.
The 1997 season was the best of his career. Palmer averaged 13.1 yards on a career best 34 punt returns, while also returning 32 kicks and catching a career high 26 passes. One reception went for a touchdown, the only receiving touchdown of his career.
Palmer returned a career high 50 kickoffs in 1998, gaining 1,176 yards and scoring off an 88-yard return. He also returned 28 punts. After playing only 14 games the next two years because of injuries, Palmer retired at the end of the 2000 season.
Not only is his two career punt returns for touchdowns a Vikings record, he ranks second on punt returns and punt return yards. His 9.9 yards return average for a career is a Vikings record by anyone with 75 or more returns. He also holds the single-season punt return average with anyone who had 15 returns or more.
Minnesota has had several good punt returners for short amounts of time, but few have been special. David Palmer has probably done the best job at it in the history of the franchise.
Charlie West, Leo Lewis, Eddie Payton, and Mewelde Moore deserve mention.