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Fellow Hall Of Famers, Peers Respond To Carter’s HOF Induction

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 2, 2013 – 5:16 pm

Professional athletes will tell you there’s no greater honor than to earn the respect of your peers. Vikings legend Cris Carter officially became an NFL legend on Saturday when he was named a part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013, and it’s apparent based on the reaction of his fellow Hall of Famers that Carter did indeed earn the respect of his peers.

Here’s a sampling of what some of Carter’s fellow Hall of Famers and other peers have stated in reaction to Carter being inducted as part of the Class of 2013.

“Scouts can’t measure instinct. All the great players have great instinct, and Cris Carter had as great of receiver instincts as any to ever play the game. He was an exceptional football player that knew how to adjust to the ball from the instant the ball left the quarterback’s hand. Cris had some of the greatest hands in the history of the NFL, and I personally never remember him dropping a ball.” — Bud Grant, Pro Football Hall of Fame 1994

“I played with a lot of prominent receivers but Cris Carter was by far the most talented and competitive. Having Cris was like having another quarterback on the field. He was such a great student of the game and knew defenses and routes better than anyone I played with. He was able to take advantage of opponents because of how much work he put in during the week. He wanted the ball in clutch situations and made big plays when they counted most.” — Warren Moon, Pro Football Hall of Fame 2006

“Cris Carter was as productive as any receiver in the mid-90s and his numbers prove that. He played the slot position as well as anyone. In terms of purely catching the football, I haven’t seen anybody in my time better than Cris Carter.” — Tony Dungy, former Tampa Bay and Indianapolis Head Coach and Vikings Defensive Coordinator

“When you needed a clutch catch to keep the drive alive, there was no one better than Cris Carter. And when the game was on the line, you wanted the play called to #80. As they said, all he did was catch touchdowns.” — Randall McDaniel, Pro Football Hall of Fame 2009

“Cris is one of the best receivers to ever play our game. His hands, route running and big play ability separated him from others at his position. It was always a challenge physically and mentally to play against him.” — Deion Sanders, Pro Football Hall of Fame 2011

“I’ve been around the NFL a long time, and know an elite receiver when I see one. Cris certainly fits that mold and deserves a place in Canton.” — Dan Marino, Pro Football Hall of Fame 2005


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Golfing For Charity

Posted by Mike Wobschall on June 13, 2012 – 10:18 am

Any reason to find your way onto a golf course is a good reason, as far as I’m concerned. But the Vikings organization actually has a legitimate reason to hit the links on Wednesday.

The Minnesota Vikings 2012 Golf Tournament, presented by Miller Lite, will be held on Wednesday at Rush Creek Golf Club in Maple Grove, MN. The sold-out tournament is not open to the public and will feature over 30 Vikings players, including QB Christian Ponder, RB Toby Gerhart and TE Kyle Rudolph. Also, several Vikings Alumni will be on-hand, including Randall McDaniel and Scott Studwell. Joining the action will be the entire 2012 Vikings coaching staff, Vikings executives, Viktor the Viking and the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders.

Proceeds of the event will benefit the Vikings Children’s Fund.

“Good chance for us to go out and do something in the community and raise some funds for some kids and people who are less fortunate than we are,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said.

The tournament is scheduled for an early afternoon shotgun start and will be followed by an awards ceremony with comments from Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and Frazier. KFAN Radio will broadcast from the tournament from noon to 6:30 p.m.

Since its inception in 1978, the Vikings Children’s Fund has raised nearly $10 million, with over $5 million supporting research at the University of Minnesota Department of Pediatrics.


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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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Packed House Tonight

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 5, 2009 – 6:54 pm

It goes without saying that tonight’s Vikings-Packers game is sold out, but the stadium isn’t filled with only Vikings fans tonight. Several dignitaries have found their way to Mall of America Field at the HHH Metrodome.

Governor Tim Pawlenty will reportedly be in attendance; Senator Amy Klobuchar and Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak are also here.

Legendary Cowboys RB Tony Dorsett is on the sidelines chatting with people, as are Twins outfielders Denard Span and Delmon Young. Span and Young will take this very field tomorrow night as the Twins and Tigers compete in a 1-game playoff for the AL Central crown and a chance to play the New York Yankees in the American League Division  Series.

Randall McDaniel is in the house serving as the Vikings honorary captain and Gjallarhorn sounder; he’ll also be presented with his Pro Football Hall of Fame Ring at halftime of tonight’s game.

Well-known player representative Drew Rosenhaus is also at the game tonight; he represents several players on both the Vikings and Packers roster.


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Emptying Out the Notebook From Canton

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 10, 2009 – 10:08 pm

What a great time in Canton at the Pro Football Hall of Fame this past weekend. Granted it was a very short trip for me – arrived in Cleveland at 9:30 Saturday morning and departed Cleveland at 7:25 Sunday morning – but the impression it left on me will last forever. It was my 1st trip to the hallowed grounds of football immortality, but I can assure you it won’t be my last. I can’t wait to go back, and I hope we’re back next year with Cris Carter and/or John Randle.

Although Carter clearly deserves to be there and will be there some day, I wonder if he will be denied for just 1 more year because Jerry Rice is a sure-fire selection for next year. Will they vote in both Rice and Carter (a pair of receivers who played simultaneously)? I don’t know. But maybe Randle will make it next year. After all, he was a finalist this past year.

Back to this weekend in Canton. As someone who appreciates the history of the game, the sights and experiences of enshrinement weekend are totally unforgettable. As a member of the Vikings organization, I had front-row seats during the enshrinement ceremony, placing me immediately behind Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Colts President Bill Polian. Jones and the Cowboys were there to see “bullet” Bob Hayes go into the Hall and Polian was there to watch Bills owner Ralph Wilson, Jr. and Bruce Smith go in. Polian was GM in Buffalo from 1986-1993.

Speaking of the Bills, Chris Berman, who presented Wilson, Jr., said it best when he commented that it felt like a home game for the Bills in Fawcett Stadium. Seriously, and without exaggerating, I bet that 6 out of 10 fans in that stadium on Saturday night were Bills fans, maybe more. The other team that was well-represented was the Steelers, who were proud to see Rod Woodson be enshrined. I know that Bills and especially Steelers fans had a shorter distance to travel (plus the Bills played in the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday night), but still, the showing that those 2 franchises’ fans gave was very impressive.

It was nice to see a smattering of Vikings jerseys, though. And it was touching to meet Conrad, a 6th grader, and his father, travel from Minnesota to Canton to watch Randall McDaniel go in. Conrad was a student of Randall’s last year.

Out of everything I saw, experienced and felt this past weekend, the most impressionable moment was at the beginning of the enshrinement ceremony, when Rich Eisen of NFL Network gracefully introduced every member of the Hall who was present that night. Again, as someone with a great respect for the history of this great sport, that moment was the ultimate. George Blanda was there for Heaven’s sakes! Jim Kelly, Marv Levy, Marcus Allen, Dan Fouts, Kellen Winslow, Sr., the list goes on. Some great names, and a great experience.

The next most impressionable moment for me was Randall’s speech. I am fortunate enough to know Randall personally, and in fact I chatted with him for quite a while about 2 weeks before his enshrinement. And I can tell you that he seemed legitimately nervous about his speech, and about the weekend in general. Not a bad nervous, just an anxious nervous. He’s said all along that he can’t believe it’s happening. And I believed he was experiencing both of those emotions. At the same time, I wasn’t surprised when Randall went out on that stage and delivered a beautiful speech. During his career, Randall was the ultimate performer and competitor. As all great players do, Randall stepped up and always performed. And Saturday evening was no different. He stepped up and performed, and gave a great speech, even comparing playing along the offensive line to teaching.

After the enshrinement, each new Hall of Famer celebrated at a personal after-party with family and friends. The Wilf family threw a great party for Randall, complete with southwestern cuisine (Randall is from Arizona), live music, plenty of Vikings alumni and even Viktor the Viking. Great job by Kimberly Fields and Deb Jones in organizing the party, and a great job by the Wilfs in being behind and supporting the operation.

All in all, it was a great weekend and one I’ll never forget. I hope to be back soon, and I can’t recommend any more that each and every one of you try to make it to Canton at some point in your time here on Earth.


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Update from Enshrinement Dinner

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 7, 2009 – 8:41 pm

The HOF just introduced all HOFers that are in attendance including Vikings alumni Gary Zimmerman, Paul Krause, Ron Yary and Carl Eller. Others include Bart Starr, Troy Aikman, Jim Kelly, Tony Dorsett, John Madden, Ted Hendricks, Ozzie Newsome, George Blanda… Obviously great players way too many to mention. Its amazing to see this group together, the mutual respect, the fact that each is a fan of every member.

This years class is simply outstanding with McDaniel, Bruce Smith, Ralph Wilson, Bullet Bob Hayes, Rod Woodson and Derrick Thomas.

The collective group of people in this auditorium right now is phenomenal. Jacket presentations coming soon. Check back for more.


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Big Weekend For Randall McDaniel

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 7, 2009 – 11:52 am

Former Vikings OL Randall McDaniel will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend as a member of the class of 2009. Joining him as members of the ’09 class are Bob Hayes, Bruce Smith, Derrick Thomas, Ralph Wilson, Jr. and Rod Woodson.

I will be in Canton on Saturday for the festivities and will be sure to keep you updated. I’m not sure what kind of work setup I’m going to have, so remember to follow the Vikings official Twitter account – @VikingsFootball. If I can’t be at my computer to blog, I’ll be tweeting constantly throughout Saturday to keep you updated.

The Vikings finished up their morning practice, which was moved inside because of inclement weather. The team is scheduled to practice tonight at 7:00 under the lights at Blakeslee Field, with a fireworks show to follow, but the weather is threatening that event. Stay tuned to vikings.com for up-to-date information.


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Randall McDaniel Live Chat on NFL.com

Posted by Mike Wobschall on July 23, 2009 – 11:08 am

Former Vikings OL Randall McDaniel will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August and I will be there to share the experience with all of you.

NFL.com has been conducting live chats with this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame class, and it was McDaniel’s turn yesterday. You can read the chat by clicking here.


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