Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Greatest Viking

According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there are 5 Vikings in the Hall "who made the major part of their primary contribution for" the Vikings: Page, Eller, Tarkenton, Yary, and Krause. There are a lot of great Vikings not in the HOF right now--Mick Tinglehoff and Jim Marshall probably should be HOFers, Cris Carter will be, Randy Moss should be, and other players such as Chuck Foreman made significant contributions to the team but aren't really HOF material. And despite never winning a title, the Vikings have a very rich history, playing in 4 Super Bowls winning 16 division titles.

So who is the greatest Viking ever?

For my money, it's Alan Page. Page was the first defensive player to win NFL MVP in 1971. He was the anchor of the Purple People Eaters. He played in all four Super Bowls. His quickness allowed him to do a lot of things that we'll never see defensive tackles do anymore. He was consistently the best defensive player on a team that more often than not relied on defense to win games.
I rank him ahead of Tarkenton because he played in all four Super Bowls, and because he was a more dominant DT than Tarkenton was a QB.

Tarkenton is wonderful. He retired the all-time leader in completions, attempts, passing yards, and passing TDs, he was the second Viking to win MVP (1975, and unless I'm mistaken, we're still waiting for the third), and his style of play was unique. But the Vikings first achieved success with Page as their best player, not Tarkenton.

Alan Page is the signature player in the Vikings' history.

And until they win a Super Bowl, I won't rank any other player ahead of him.


  1. never saw tarkenton or page play, but if either of them were better at their position than moss or carter are at WR, that is pretty awesome.

    should superbowl appearances really be a factor in judging an individual player?

    where do you rank chris doleman and john randall?

  2. Super Bowl appearances matter in assessing how great/important an individual player was to his franchise.

    Carter is a sure HOFer, and Moss is probably still my favorite player of all-time (my favorite current Viking is Antoine Winfield). But neither did as much to represent the Vikings and lead them to success as Page.

    I didn't see Doleman, but the numbers tell me he was a dominating pass-rusher. Probably not a DL in the league of Page or Eller, though. Unfortunately, I'm too heavily influenced by memories of my dad on John Randle--he would always rage about how overrated Randle was because he would be invisible for so long in a game, then make one great play.