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Zygi Wilf, John Randle React To Doleman’s Election To Pro Football HOF

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 5, 2012 – 9:11 am

It was announced on Saturday that former Vikings DE Chris Doleman was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and two prominent members of the Vikings family have weighed in to give their reaction.

“Having watched Chris enter the Vikings Ring of Honor this past season, we’re very excited that he has now been chosen as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012,” Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf said. “Chris was a very important part of the organization’s success for ten years and his accomplishments on the field speak for themselves. He has earned this honor and we look forward to celebrating his enshrinement in Canton in August.”

A fellow Vikings Ring of Honor inductee and now a fellow Hall of Famer, John Randle has a special appreciation for Doleman because the two were both defensive linemen, were both outstanding pass rushers, and were teammates with the Vikings in the 1990s.

“I’m so, so happy for big Dole,” Randle said. “I never thought I would have a guy who was like a big brother on the football field, but Chris was that guy for me. I looked up to him and studied the way he worked. I’m so happy that he will be up on that stage in Canton this summer where he belongs. It’s really a testament to that defensive line we had with the Vikings during those days and the work of some great coaches. Chris deserves this so much and I’m probably more excited for him than he is for himself.”


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Vikings Legends Reflect On Doleman’s Career

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 28, 2011 – 6:37 am

It was announced earlier this morning that Chris Doleman will become the 19th player in franchise history to join the Vikings Ring of Honor. Doleman, a Vikings DE for 10 seasons (1985-93, 99), will be inducted into the Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony on Sunday, October 23, when the Vikings host the Green Bay Packers.

Doleman’s place in Vikings history is significant, as he registered 96.5 sacks as a Viking (he had 150.5 career sacks), 31 forced fumbles and 16 fumble recoveries, making him one of the best defensive linemen in the history of a franchise with several Hall of Fame linemen. Confirming Doleman’s significant status among Vikings greats is the way in which fellow Vikings speak of him.

Here’s what fellow Vikings Ring of Honor members John Randle and Scott Studwell, as well as Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Vikings QB Warren Moon, had to say about Doleman.

“Chris Doleman had the ability to deliver the big play when you needed it. Teams had to keep an eye on him because they knew it was coming, be it in the beginning, middle or end of the game. He was capable of making that big play. As a young guy learning the NFL game from him, he did so much for me. He taught me how to be a pro on and off the field. He was quiet on the field, a leader without speaking. It was his presence that influenced games. The way he studied the game and showed his teammates the way to prepare and be a mature player made a big impact on me.” — Randle

“Chris was a phenomenal player and a guy who could have excelled in any decade. His size, speed, balance and skill level were ahead of their time. He changed how teams could play against us. Chris was a good friend and teammate and earned the respect of the locker room.” — Studwell

“Doleman is one of those rare guys, maybe one of four or five that I played against during my career right there with Reggie White, Bruce Smith, Derrick Thomas, that you had to know where they were and set your protection accordingly. You had to know if you were going to help the tackle out with a tight end or running back to chip on those guys. Doleman was someone you always had to worry about because you knew he could get to the quarterback. The amount of time and attention that went to preparing for Chris Doleman benefitted the others guys on those defensive lines. He was one of
those guys that you had to make sure could be blocked in one way or another.” — Moon


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Vikings Alumni To Bowl For Charity Monday Night

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 13, 2010 – 2:40 pm

One of the many consequences of the Vikings-Giants game being moved from Sunday afternoon to Monday night is that a scheduled charity event to be hosted by the Vikings has been changed. But, the event still have some great appeal to it for Vikings fans who will be looking to have a good time while watching the game on Monday night.

Vikings alumni will be filling in for Vikings DT Pat Williams and teammates for this Monday night’s bowling event at PINZ Entertainment Center in Oakdale, Minnesota to benefit the Vikings Children’s Fund. Williams and several of his teammates were originally scheduled to attend the event, but are now unable to attend due to the Vikings-Giants game being moved.

Scheduled to attend the event are Hall of Famer John Randle, Rufus Bess, Ted Brown, Bob Lurtsema, John Turner, Stu Voigt and others. Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders will also join Vikings alumni at the event.

The event will be held for the 16th consecutive year and is sold-out. No spectator tickets will be available.

Event Schedule
6:35 p.m. – Alumni and Cheerleader introductions
6:45 p.m. – First round of Bowling
7:45 p.m. – Second round of Bowling
9:00 p.m. – Closing remarks and thank you

 


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Vikings Will Honor John Randle, Fred Zamberletti Today

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 21, 2010 – 11:02 am

Today marks the 100th meeting between the Vikings and Packers in what is truly a storied rivalry. It’s appropriate that a pair of true Vikings legends will be honored as part of the day’s festivities.

John Randle, who was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this past August, will receive his Hall of Fame Ring during a halftime ceremony. He’ll also be the Vikings honorary captain and will join Vikings captains for the pre-game coin toss.

Fred Zamberletti, who has not missed a Vikings game in team history, is this game’s Honorary Viking and will sound the Gjallarhorn prior to the game.


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John Randle To Be Honored At Halftime On Sunday

Posted by Mike Wobschall on November 17, 2010 – 2:57 pm

You’d be hard-pressed to find a guy who enjoyed playing against the Green Bay Packers more than former Vikings DT John Randle. It’s appropriate, then, with the Packers in town this weekend, that Randle will receive his Hall of Fame Ring at halftime of this weekend’s Vikings-Packers game.

Randle was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this past August and on Sunday Tom Schervis, Vice Chairman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Trustees, will present #93 with his Hall of Fame Ring. A cool part of the halftime ceremony will be the placement of Randle’s Hall of Fame bust at midfield during the presentation.

The bust is currently at Winter Park and we snapped a photo of it for vikings.com readers to see. Check it out…

A 7-time Pro Bowler and 6-time All-Pro selection, Randle finished his career with 137.5 sacks, the most by a DT in NFL history and tied with Richard Dent for 5th all-time. He started 150 of the 176 games he played in Minnesota, recorded 114.0 sacks as a Viking (3rd in franchise history) and was named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. He was a fixture in the Vikings organization for 11 seasons (1990-2000).

Aside from outstanding production, Randle also was known for his leadership and fiery passion for the game. From players who lined up against him to teammates who lined up with him, Randle was a popular player known for his boisterous and outgoing personality. He was an NFL Films favorite, often captured on camera for his bizarre dialogue during and after plays as well as his mask of eye black.

Randle was inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor on November 30, 2008 and was also elected into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.

Here are some more links from vikings.com that relate to Randle:

Photo Gallery  ::  Randle Enters The Hall of Fame

Video  ::  Randle Game Highlights

Video  ::  Randle’s Vikings Ring Of Honor Highlights

Video  ::  Randle’s Press Conference After He Was Elected To The HOF

Video  ::  Randle Enshrined Into The HOF

Video  ::  Randle’s HOF Speech

Article  ::  NFLPlayers.com: Catching Up With John Randle

Article  ::  Randle’s HOF Speech Transcript

Article  ::  Relentless Randle Ready To Enter Hall Of Fame


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Back From Football Immortality

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 9, 2010 – 7:58 am

I’ve returned to Vikings training camp in Mankato, MN after another great Pro Football Hall of Fame Weekend in Canton, Ohio, which has now become one of my favorite weekends of the year after attending last year’s enshrinement ceremony of Randall McDaniel and then this year’s enshrinement of John Randle.

I won’t give a step-by-step account of my trip – check out the Vikings official Twitter account (@VikingsFootball) for that – but I will tell you that it was a tremendous weekend. Randle was a fan-favorite for his entire career in Minnesota and his path to the Hall of Fame is one that not many take. He is from a town of 150 people in rural Texas, wasn’t recruited by major college football programs, went undrafted and was considered too small to ever play in the NFL.

Ultimately, though, Randle became the face of the Vikings defense for nearly a decade and now he’s a Hall of Famer. Although this is said about a lot of people, I truly believe it about John – it couldn’t have happened to a better person. Randle has always been great to me and the Vikings and his wife, Candace, has been a great support to Randle and also to the organization.

On top of watching Randle go into the Hall of Fame, I also got to see the best RB and the best WR of all time (in my opinion) go into the Hall of Fame together. It was quite the site to see Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice go in together. The fanfare in Canton for those 2 players and those 2 teams was quite remarkable.

Other members of the Class of 2010 were:
Russ Grimm – one of Joe Gibbs’ “Hogs” along the offensive line who was a true leader for the Redskins during their glory years.
Ricky Jackson – an underrated LB for the New Orleans Saints.
Dick LeBeau – a great safety for the Detroit Lions and respected defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Floyd Little – a RB for the Denver Broncos who became the first Denver RB to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.

I’ll close this entry with 2 more thoughts:

1) One reason I love Hall of Fame weekend is because of the opportunity to learn. As much as I’ve followed the NFL in my life, there is still so much I don’t know. Attending Hall of Fame weekend is a true learning experience that opens my mind to other eras, players and teams that comprise the great history of the NFL and football in America.

2) The emotion is palpable in Canton. The players who are enshrined are the game’s greatest warriors, but they are humble and emotional during the enshrinement as they look back at their careers and thank those who helped them along the way. I think players fear the day that their careers end because there’s no going back and experiencing the good times, the times of teamwork and camaraderie and the blood, sweat and tears. They know that one day those days will die. But Hall of Famers don’t suffer that fate. When they’re enshrined, their careers become immortal. They’re part of an exclusive club of great players who will live forever in NFL history. And it’s at the enshrinement ceremony where they first realize this and experience the emotion that accompanies it. They are truly humbled at that point and truly thankful for the aide they’ve received along the way. I love watching those Hall of Famers experience that.


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Greetings From Canton and the Hall of Fame

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 7, 2010 – 4:31 pm

Greetings from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. I’ve arrived on the hallowed grounds of football immortality with fellow vikings.com staffer Jay Nelson after an early morning of travel and smooth transition from training camp to enshrinement ceremony.

Jay and I arrived at MSP airport by 5:00 a.m. for our 6:00 a.m. flight and arrived at the Akron/Canton airport by 9:30 a.m. Minnesota time (10:30 a.m. local time). Then we checked into our hotel, got a bite to eat at Chick-Fil-A, rested and got refreshed for a long day, evening and night at the enshrinement festivities.

We’re now inside a big tent that will house John Randle’s enshrinement celebration following the ceremony. Soon we’ll head out and see if we can talk to a few Vikings/John Randle fans out and about and then we’ll head into Fawcett Stadium for the enshrinement of the Pro Football HOF Class of 2010.

Dallas fans are everywhere, but we did walk in from the parking lot with 4 Randle fans with University of Texas A&I – Kingsville gear on. That was cool to see.

This is one of my favorite nights of the year and I look forward to updating you tonight and then recapping it tomorrow here on the vikings.com Blog. I’m excited for John and his family.

The rest of the 2010 class is: Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice, Russ Grimm, Rickey Jackson, Dick LeBeau and Floyd Little. I’ve heard Randle will be presented 3rd to last tonight, with Rice and Smith rto follow in some order.

That’s it for now, but be sure to stick around for more updates and also remember you can follow us on Twitter for constant updates; our account is @VikingsFootball.


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Busy Days Ahead For vikings.com

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 6, 2010 – 7:25 am

2010 Verizon Vikings Training Camp has provided us here at vikings.com with a busy schedule. We had move-in day last Thursday and then 12 practices, with press conferences and Favre central sprinkled in as well.

And now it’s going to get a bit busier. The Vikings will practice 2 times today and then 2 times again on Saturday. Today there’s a Punt, Pass and Kick competition and Saturday is Family Football Day at 2010 Verizon Vikings Training Camp. To top all of that off, former Vikings DT John Randle will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday afternoon, an important event for John and the Vikings franchise.

I am fortunate enough to be attending this weekend’s Hall of Fame festivities, something I was able to do last year as well when Randall McDaniel was enshrined. Last year’s event was one of the most memorable moments of 2009 for me and I’m anticipating a similar experience this weekend. I’ll be sure to provide you with updates via the vikings.com Blog and Twitter (follow @VikingsFootball) during the weekend’s events and then I’ll also have a weekend recap once I return from Canton, OH.

So I’ll be watching this morning’s practice and then leaving Mankato to head to Canton for about 24 hours. The team has Sunday off and then we’ll all return to the practice fields on Monday. While I’m gone and the team is practicing, CJ will have you covered here on the vikings.com Blog.


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Childress Takes A Ride Back In Time

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 31, 2010 – 2:47 pm

Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress spent 2 hours on Saturday morning driving his team toward improvement on the practice fields as the upcoming season fast approaches. After practice, though, Childress wasn’t the one doing the driving. Instead, he took a joy ride with Vikings legend Alan Page in a 1906 Buick Model F.

Pictures say 1,000 words, so check out the photo gallery for yourself to get a better understanding of what actually took place in Mankato on Saturday morning.

I’ll put it this way: A Hall of Fame defensive lineman from the late 60s and 70s drove an NFL head coach from 2010 around town in a car that was made over 100 years ago. Now there’s something you don’t see every day.

The car was purchased in the 70s and restored by Page’s father-in-law. It’s in great shape and, as you can imagine, is much more difficult to drive than the cars we ride around in today.

Next week, Page will have the car shipped to Canton, OH, where he’ll drive it as part of the Hall of Fame’s annual parade just before the Class of 2010 is enshrined. Of course the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2010 includes another former Viking – DT John Randle. Page leads all DTs in franchise history with 9 Pro Bowls and Randle is 2nd in the category with 6.


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Undrafted Doesn’t Mean Unimportant

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 13, 2010 – 9:29 am

Later this month, former Vikings DT John Randle will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Any Hall of Fame career is remarkable, but it’s especially remarkable when a player – such as Randle – turns out to be a Hall of Famer after entering the NFL as an undrafted player.

For as much attention as the NFL draft receives annually, it’s easy to forget how important undrafted players are to every NFL team. With teams required to fill out 53-man rosters and also limited by the salary cap each season, there is only so much room for high-priced players with 1st-round pedigree. This is where the importance of finding productive undrafted players comes in.

With that in mind, Pro Football Weekly recently pointed out some of the league’s best undrafted players currently on NFL rosters. And 2 Vikings made the list – LB Heath Farwell and DT Pat Williams. If you click on the link above it’ll take you to a nfllabor.com page that lists PFW’s 2010 All-Undrafted Team.

Making the Vikings roster this season as an undrafted rookie is a tough task, largely because the Vikings return 22 starters from last year and also selected 8 players in this year’s draft. But let’s take a quick look at 3 undrafted players currently on the Vikings roster who might have a shot at coming out of training camp with a job.

OT Bill Noethlich – A 6-7, 308-pound OT, Noethlich will enter camp as 1 of 14 OL, but the Vikings will be looking for versatile players who can fulfill reserve rolls. If Noethlich can display an ability to play both LT and RT, perhaps he’ll carve a niche for himself on this roster. Noethlich’s story of making the roster would be a good one because he’s a native of Doland, SD and he played college football at Southwest Minnesota State.

S Terrell Skinner – College football fans may find this name familiar because Skinner played for the University of Maryland, beginning his career there as a redshirt freshman in 2005 and playing all the way through his senior season in 2009. I’m not familiar with his injury history and I haven’t spoken in-depth with any coaches or scouts regarding Skinner, but he strikes me as a player with a chance. He was converted from WR to DB at Maryland and stands at 6-2, 214 pounds. So his size is great and his ball skills should be solid. But if Skinner is going to make the Vikings coming out of training camp, his best bet might be to prove his worth as a special teams contributor first.

WR Ray Small – The Vikings have 3 solid starting WRs and because of the NFL’s graduation rule Small was unable to attend much of the Vikings offseason program. But even given all of that, Small should come to training camp with an ambitious mindset. Although the top 3 spots on the WR depth chart are locked up, there could be a couple more openings on the roster AND I believe Small will have a chance to win either the kick or punt return job.


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