Canton Calling: Who’s Next For Vikings?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 6, 2013 – 7:23 am

Cris Carter will get plenty of attention in this space over the next several months as he prepares to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2013. In the meantime, Carter’s election into the Hall of Fame leads to this question: Who’s next for the Vikings?

The Hall of Fame and the selection committee should be commended for their stewardship of football immortality. But any time they elect or enshrine a class, an opportunity occurs to reflect on those who are not yet in the Hall of Fame but who have the credentials that could one day place them among the game’s immortals.

I think the Vikings have 2 such players. Here’s a look at each of them…

C Mick Tingelhoff
Tingelhoff came to the Vikings as a rookie free agent in 1962 and stepped into the starting lineup by the team’s second preseason game. He didn’t turn over the job until his retirement after the 1978 season, never missing a game over a 17-season span that included an incredible 240 consecutive regular season starts.

“Mick was a catalyst for our team and one of the most respected players on those teams,” legendary Vikings Head Coach and Hall of Famer Bud Grant said. “Mick’s intangibles were the thing that made him so great. He was a captain the whole time I coached him and guys looked at him as an example of how to do things.”

Over Tingelhoff’s 17-year career, he started in all four Vikings Super Bowl appearances, snapped to Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton, blocked for 4 RBs who earned 13 trips to the Pro Bowl, was named to 7 consecutive All-Pro teams, paved the way for a 100-yard rusher 40 times and played in 19 postseason contests. In Tingelhoff’s final 11 seasons, the Vikings did not have a losing record and they won a division title in 10 of those campaigns. The Vikings posted a regular season record of 112-42-2 and won 10+ games 7 times in that 11-year span.

The Vikings offense thrived during Tingelhoff’s career, ranking in the top 10 of the NFL in rushing offense 10 times and in the top 10 in total offense 8 times. Tingelhoff is 1 of 6 Vikings that have had their jersey number retired, and he was inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor in 2001.

DE Jim Marshall
There are few Minnesota sports identities more revered than the Purple People Eaters. Marshall, a Vikings defensive end for 19 years (1961-79), was an integral part of the group and would be a fitting addition to the group of immortal NFL players in Canton, Ohio. He and fellow linemen Carl Eller, Gary Larsen, Alan Page and Doug Sutherland formed the vaunted group and led the team to a period of dominance that included 10 division titles and 4 appearances in the Super Bowl.

Originally a 4th-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 1960, Marshall held the NFL record for consecutive games played with 282 (270 with the Vikings) until Brett Favre broke the mark. He ranks 2nd in Vikings lore with 127.0 sacks and led or tied for the team lead in sacks in each of the Vikings first 6 seasons. Marshall also ranks 9th in franchise history with 988 career tackles, behind only fellow Purple People Eater Page among defensive linemen.

Aside from accumulating sacks and tackles during his career, Marshall also recovered 29 fumbles, a team and NFL record. Marshall started at defensive end in 4 Super Bowls and was a 2-time Pro Bowler.

Marshall was inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor on November 28, 1999.

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Former Vikings DL Paul Dickson Passes

Posted by Mike Wobschall on June 10, 2011 – 9:53 am

Paul Dickson, an original member of the Minnesota Vikings with an important tie to the Purple People Eaters, passed away on Tuesday. He was 74.

A 13-year NFL veteran and Texas native, Dickson spent 10 seasons (1961-70) with the Vikings after being drafted 9th overall by the Rams in 1959. It took a couple of trades, but Dickson eventually found his way onto the inaugural Vikings team after he came to Minnesota via trade from Cleveland with legendary DT Jim Marshall.

“He was a great person and an excellent player,” Jim Marshall said to Phil Miller of the Star Tribune in this piece summarizing Dickson’s life.

Miller writes that Dickson started alongside Marshall for 6 seasons in the Vikings early years, with Marshall playing right end and Dickson playing right tackle. Dickson and Marshall were close friends largely because they shared similar interests off the field and a similar style of play on the field.

“He would play like he was angry, but he really wasn’t. It scared the rookies,” Marshall said. “But he was a great guy, a practical joker. A good teammate.”

Dickson, who earned the nickname “The Growler,” was drafted as an offensive lineman in ’59 but the Vikings moved him to DT in ’61. Eventually the Vikings had Marshall, Carl Eller, Gary Larsen and Alan Page as starters along the defensive line, a unit known as the Purple People Eaters. But Dickson remained a valuable part of the defense and of the defensive line as a backup. In his piece for the Star Tribune, Miller also spoke with legendary Vikings Head Coach Bud Grant about his former player.

“He accepted that role, and made sure he was a really valuable member of that team,” said Grant. “I don’t know if we could have found a better player behind those guys. He practiced so hard every day, and got some important minutes in. Good under pressure.”

For more on Dickson and the details of his funeral arrangements, check out Miller’s piece by clicking here.

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Marshall: Favre A Great Leader

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 6, 2009 – 5:59 pm

As we mentioned earlier here on the Blog, legendary DE Jim Marshall has traveled with the team to tonight’s game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The significance is that tonight QB Brett Favre will play in his 283rd consecutive game, breaking the record that is held by Marshall and was set some 30 years ago.

Marshall said that prior to the team departing Minneapolis for Arizona yesterday, he got a chance to visit with Favre at the team facility and he also had a conversation with Favre tonight at the stadium.

“I got a feel for how he felt about being here and got a chance to see some of his leadership qualities,” Marshall told reporters prior to tonight’s game. “He’s a great leader and I admire him so much.”

Marshall also talked about how the game has changed since he played and also pointed out that Favre’s new record is impressive given the size and strength of today’s defensive linemen.

Asked if he thinks Favre’s new record will be broken, Marshall said no one can see into the future but that he hopes Favre sets the mark high enough that it won’t be broken for another 30 years.”

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Marshall On-Hand To See Favre Establish New Record

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 6, 2009 – 1:56 pm

When QB Brett Favre trots onto the field to lead the Vikings on their 1st offensive possession tonight, he’ll break yet another NFL record.

Favre will play in his 283rd consecutive game, moving into sole possession of the most consecutive games played by a position player in NFL history. He is currently tied with Jim Marshall at 282.

Interestingly enough, Marshall made the trip to Arizona with the team this weekend, so he’ll see Favre break his record in person.

I’m sure the NBC cameras will be all over Marshall early in the game as he watches Favre take the field. Hopefully we can catch up to one of the former Purple People Eaters and get some reaction from him. If we do, we’ll have it right here on the Blog.

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Vikings To Honor Marshall Today

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 27, 2009 – 10:05 am

Vikings legendary DE Jim Marshall will be honored by the Vikings at today’s home opener. Marshall will serve as the team’s honorary captain and he’ll sound the Gjallarhorn just before kickoff.

Last week in Detroit, Vikings QB Brett Favre started his 271st consecutive, breaking the NFL record for consecutive starts that was set by Marshall. Following practice on Friday, Marshall and Favre met at the team’s practice facility. Marshall was also greeted by the entire Vikings defensive line and DL coach Karl Dunbar.

Marshall still holds the NFL record for consecutive games played at 282. A starter in 4 Super Bowls for the Vikings, Marshall teamed with fellow linemen Carl Eller, Gary Larsen and Alan Page to from the vaunted Purple People Eaters, one of the NFL’s top defensive units in that era. Marshall led or tied for the team lead in sacks in each of the Vikings first 6 seasons. He also ranks 9th in team history with 988 tackles 2nd with 127.0 sacks.

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Favre, Legendary Vikings DE Jim Marshall Meet

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 25, 2009 – 1:52 pm

Legendary Vikings DE and Purple People Eater Jim Marshall was at Winter Park on Friday to watch the Vikings practice and meet QB Brett Favre. Last week in Detroit, Favre started his 271st consecutive game and broke the NFL record for consecutive starts that was set by Marshall.

The Vikings will have their home opener on Sunday and Marshall will sound the Gjallarhorn as well as be an honorary Vikings team captain. He’ll join Vikings team captains at midfield for the pregame coin toss. Both Marshall and Favre will also be recognized for the consecutive starts record.

Still the record holder for consecutive games played (280), Marshall observed Favre and the Vikings from the sidelines as they practiced indoors due to the rainy weather.

“I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else to break it,” Marshall said. “I have a lot of respect for the way Brett has played the game and still plays the game. He is good for football.”

Marshall compared Favre to Johnny Unitas in terms of leadership qualities and the ability to drive an offense down the field at crucial points in the game. Marshall also noted Favre’s work ethic, saying it reminded him of his own work ethic that was instilled in him by his father when he was a young boy.

“I would’ve been proud to play with Brett if he had been around back in the days when I played,” Marshall said. “He has my kind of work ethic.”

While he was watching practice, the entire Vikings defensive line, including defensive line coach Karl Dunbar, came over to him and shook his hand. It was a unique scene, watching Marshall converse with the Vikings defensive line and also watching players such as Jared Allen and Kevin and Pat Williams listen intently to every word Marshall said.

“The Vikings have the best defense in football,” Marshall later told me. “I’m just so proud of our defense, I really am. It reminds me of our playing days.”

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