The Pro Football Hall of Fame has reached their final stage of voting, having narrowed the original 25-man field down to 15. Out of the final 15, three men whose names are synomyous with the Beloved Purple have made the cut.
The first of the three. . .and the most likely to get in. . .is wide receiver Cris Carter. You might know him as the best receiver in NFL history not named Jerry Rice, largely because that's exactly what he is. The former Ohio State Buckeye, who should have gotten in last year, represents the best $100 that any franchise has ever spent, because that was the cost of the waiver claim it took for the Vikings to claim Carter after he was dumped by the Philadelphia Eagles because "all he did was catch touchdowns." (Again, Buddy Ryan is probably the only person in NFL history that would have seen this as a potential problem.)
Honestly, Carter not getting in last year was a joke, and if he doesn't get in this year it will be an even bigger joke. There are no other serious wide receiver candidates in this year's class to take away from his campaign, and so he should be able to find his way to Canton this coming August.
Randall McDaniel also made the cut again this season, which means he has another shot at getting into the Hall of Fame. McDaniel, who was one of the (if not THE) most dominant interior lineman of his generation, was a nine-time All-Pro and started in 188 of his 190 career games for the Vikings, including his last 160 regular season games. McDaniel has a pretty strong case for getting into the Hall. . .I can't think of an interior lineman from his era that deserves it more, to be certain. . .but there are a few other offensive linemen in this year's group that could cause him to get lost in the shuffle. They include former Steeler standout Dermontti Dawson and Russ Grimm of the Redskins, among others.
The third Viking that made it this year is John Randle, who made it in his first year of eligibility. One of the names on the short list of the discussion of the best undrafted free agents in league history, Randle racked up 137.5 sacks over the course of his career, the majority of them coming with Minnesota before he finished his career out in Seattle. His sack total still stands at fifth all-time, and still the most in league history for a defensive tackle. Randle's candidacy this year, however, will surely take a hit from the presence of Bruce Smith, who is one of the three mortal locks for this year's Hall of Fame class (along with Shannon Sharpe and Rod Woodson). He also has a couple of his own contemporaries to deal with in Cortez Kennedy (probably not a serious candidate) and the late Derrick Thomas. . .who, let's face it, should already be in by now.
DE Chris Doleman, unfortunately, did not make the final cutdown from 25 to 15, but this was his first year, so he's got plenty of years ahead to try to get to Canton.
Hopefully at least one of those three finalists will make the cut and be up on the big stage thanking everybody this summer sometime. Hey, we've got at least a 20% shot, right? And Cris Carter's presence should increase that percentage significantly.
That's it for tonight, folks. . .hopefully tomorrow we can breach the minefield that is the Vikings' current quarterback situation. Until then, enjoy your weekend, and we'll see you right back here!