Once again, two all-time Viking greats have cleared the first hurdle towards enshrinement in Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Wide receiver Cris Carter and defensive end Chris Doleman have both made the cut down to 26 candidates, and will be looking to make the cut to the final 15 when the NFL's Hall of Fame Selection Committee on Saturday, February 4 in Indianapolis, which is the day before this year's Super Bowl.
There are two first-timers on the list this time around, those being former coaching legend Bill Parcells and former Kansas City Chiefs guard Will Shields. Parcells isn't technically a first-timer, as he was on the ballot twice before he returned to coaching, but after he completely retired from coaching after the 2006 season, he's back on the ballot again. Four other players that were eligible last year but did not make it through the first cutdown are also on the list. Those players are former Broncos defensive back Steve Atwater, former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman , former Broncos linebacker Karl Mecklenburg, and former Green Bay Packers' executive Ron Wolf.
This doesn't look like a terribly strong field overall, particularly at the wide receiver spot. That being said, it will be interesting to see if the committee can come up with a new and creative way to hose Cris Carter out of a spot in the Hall of Fame this year, too. The fact that Carter wasn't a first-ballot Hall of Famer is still ridiculous, and every year that passes without him getting the gold blazer just adds to the ridiculousness.
The full list of semi-finalists is after the jump.
Steve Atwater, S - 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets
Jerome Bettis, RB - 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
Tim Brown, WR/KR - 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cris Carter, WR - 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins
Don Coryell, Coach - 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers
Roger Craig, RB - 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings
Terrell Davis, RB - 1995-2001 Denver Broncos
Dermontti Dawson, C - 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Owner - 1979-2000 San Francisco 49ers
Chris Doleman, DE/LB - 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers
Kevin Greene, LB/DE - 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers
Charles Haley, DE/LB - 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
Cortez Kennedy, DT - 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks
Curtis Martin, RB - 1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets
Clay Matthews, LB - 1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons
Karl Mecklenburg, LB - 1983-1994 Denver Broncos
Bill Parcells, Coach - 1983-1990 New York Giants, 1993-96 New England Patriots, 1997-99 New York Jets, 2003-06 Dallas Cowboys
Andre Reed, WR - 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
Willie Roaf, T - 1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs
Donnie Shell, S - 1974-1987 Pittsburgh Steelers
Will Shields, G - 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs
Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner - 1989-2006 National Football League
Steve Tasker, ST/WR - 1985-86 Houston Oilers, 1986-1997 Buffalo Bills
Aeneas Williams, CB/S - 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams
Ron Wolf, Contributor - 1963-1974, 1978-1990 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, 1975-77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1990 New York Jets, 1991 -2001 Green Bay Packers
George Young, Contributor - 1968-1974 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins, 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League