Today’s game in Pittsburgh is an historic day for the Vikings – it’s the franchise’s 1,000th game (including preseason, regular season and postseason). It’s also historic because one Vikings employee has been with the team for every game in franchise history and he, too, is about to begin his 1,000th career game.
Fred Zamberletti, the Vikings 1st ever trainer, has been with the franchise since Day 1 and he still serves with the club as a consultant and team historian. “Freddy” as he’s affectionately known by all of us, is a wise voice within the organization and truly personifies what it means to be a Viking.
In 43 seasons (1961-2003) as the club’s trainer, Zamberletti also never missed a day of work. He won numerous awards in his field, including being named the Professional Athletic Trainer of the Year in 1986. In 1996 the Vikings staff was honored as the NFL Athletic Training Staff of the Year.
Because of his invaluable and continuing contribution to the franchise, Zamberletti, a Melchior, Iowa, native, was inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor on December 20, 1998.
He’s been a great friend of mine during my time with the Vikings, helping me out with various stories for the website, game programs, the yearbook and many other publications. He’s often the man I go to when I’m in need of some perspective, whether it’s historical perspective or just some advice on life in general.
But I’m certainly not the only individual whom Freddy has influenced. Many Vikings employees would share similar sentiments about Freddy if they had this medium at their disposal. Well, I do have this medium at my disposal. But unfortunately not even I could conjure up the right words to appropriately express the influence Freddy has had on me and certainly on the franchise over his career here.
So, congratulations, Freddy, on your 1,000th game! Even though you don’t want to make a big deal of it and you are the last person who yearns for attention, today is an historic day for the franchise and for you, and it’s more than deserving of plenty of attention.
Tags: Fred Zamberletti
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