FanPost

Vikings "Any-Era" Team: A Fan's Selection

We've had well over a dozen Hall of Fame players on our team over the years, and although we’ve never won a Super Bowl (yet!) I found myself wondering what our team would look like if we picked the best of the best in Vikings history to create an "Any-Era" Team. During my research, I discovered a similar effort here at DN back in 2008, but couldn’t find any conclusion to that initial post in the archives. There have been a couple attempts at an "All-Time Vikings Team" at other websites (here and here). Vikings.com even put out The 50 Greatest Vikings as voted on by the fans for the 50th anniversary in 2010, but I felt compelled to try my hand at putting together an Any-Era Team. What else is there to do during the off-season? So, check it out after the jump.

Where to start? Well, looking at just the list of Hall of Famers presented the first obvious question: what happens if we’ve got TWO HoF at the same position? For example, Fran Tarkenton and Warren Moon both played for the Vikings and both were selected to the Hall of Fame, and were obviously tremendous players with great careers, but who makes the cut? For my selections, I used the following criteria. First, the player had to spend the majority of their career on the Vikings. Second, because it is difficult to compare stats between eras with a different amount of games per season (not to mention different rules), "accolades" will have greater importance (Hall of Fame inclusion, Ring of Honor inclusion, Pro Bowl appearances, etc). Vikings All-Time record holders will take precedence over any other stats. So, with all that in mind, I present to you my picks for the Vikings ‘Any-Era’ Team. Due to the bio information I’ve included for the 24 players listed below, this is quite long (fair warning!). Think my selections are off? Then be sure to let me know in the comments section.

Offense

Defense

QB

Fran Tarkenton

DE1

Carl Eller

RB1

Adrian Peterson

DT1

Alan Page

FB/RB2

Chuck Foreman

DT2

John Randle

TE

Steve Jordan

DE2

Chris Doleman

WR1

Cris Carter

LB1

Scott Studwell

WR2

Randy Moss

LB2

Matt Blair

LT

Gary Zimmerman

LB3

Jeff Sieman

LG

Randall McDaniel

CB1

Bobby Bryant

C

Mick Tingelhoff

CB2

Carl Lee

RG

Steve Hutchinson

S1

Paul Krause

RT

Ron Yary

S2

Joey Browner

Kicker

Fred Cox

Punter

Greg Coleman

Quarterback: Fran Tarkenton (1961-1966, 1972-1978)
As the only Hall of Fame QB that has spent the majority of his career as a Viking, "The Mad Scrambler" was the easy and obvious choice. Not only that, Fran still holds the career Vikings records in passing yards, touchdowns and rushing yards by a QB. He was a 9 time Pro-Bowl selection, and was NFL MVP in 1975. Say what you will about Fran, but he was the man back in the day.

Running-back: Adrian Peterson (2007 - ?)
This may end up being a controversial pick, but it shouldn’t be. "All Day" holds the single game NFL rushing record. He also holds the Vikings career rushing TD record already, and currently sits a measly 57 yards behind the Vikings career rushing leader, Robert Smith. Peterson is a 4-time Pro Bowl selection, and was the AP, Diet Pepsi and PFWA Rookie of the Year in 2007. He has already had a tremendous career in just 5 short years, and is poised to break all of the Vikings rushing records by the time his career is done. He is easily the best running back the Vikings have ever had, and is arguably the best running back currently playing in the NFL. Let’s just hope his ACL tear doesn’t slow him down too much.

Fullback/Running-back 2: Chuck Foreman (1973-1979)
The "Spin Doctor" was one of the most accomplished Running-backs of his era. He was Rookie of the Year in 1973, and was a 5-time Pro Bowl selection. Currently, Foreman ranks 3rd among Vikings in rushing yards and 2nd in touchdowns (with 52). But, he’s also 9th all-time in career receptions and 13th in receiving yards among Vikings, as a running back. He was the go-to guy on offense for the Vikings both on the ground and through the air. A case could be made here to include Robert Smith, as he is the current Vikings record holder for most total rushing yards. However, Smith was also only a 2-time Pro Bowl selection, and had only 32 TDs. From a pure stats perspective, he would probably get the nod, but Foreman has all the accolades, including three Super Bowl appearances. So, from an "era" perspective, Foreman is the easy choice. Foreman is also a member of the Vikings Ring of Honor.

Tight End: Steve Jordan (1982-1994)
Jordan was a 6-time Pro Bowler, and currently sits 3rd all-time among all Vikings in receptions (behind only Cris Carter and Randy Moss), 6th in receiving yards, and 7th in TDs. More recently we show a lot of love to Jim Kleinsasser here at DN (especially now that he’s retired), but the fact is, there hasn’t been a better Vikings tight end than Steve Jordan.

Wide Receiver 1: Cris Carter (1990-2001)
Carter is the Vikings leader in yards, receptions and TDs. He is in the top 10 in most every receiving category in the NFL, and was an 8-time Pro Bowler. The Vikings have retired his jersey and he was included in the Vikings Ring of Honor, but he has yet to find his way into the Hall of Fame (it’s inevitable). After some off-the-field issues got him cut by the Eagles (and because all he did was "catch touchdown passes"), the Vikings took a chance on him and boy did that ever pan out right.

Wide Receiver 2: Randy Moss (1998-2005, 2010)
Moss burst onto the scene his rookie year, earning the AP and PFWA Rookie of the Year awards. As a Viking he was a 5-time Pro Bowler, and has been a 7-time Pro Bowler for his career. He sits 2nd behind Carter on the Vikings all-time list in yards, receptions and TDs, and it’s incredible to think that he and Cris Carter actually shared the field together. Randy Moss may end up being known more for his antics, than his natural ability, but he’s likely a future Hall of Famer non-the-less.

Left Tackle: Gary Zimmerman (1986-1992)
Zimmerman makes the cut, just barely, having spent the first 7 years of his career on the Vikings (and the remaining 6 on the Broncos). During his time on the Vikings, he was selected to 4 Pro Bowls, and started 108 consecutive games. For his entire career he made 7 Pro Bowls, won a super bowl with Denver in 1997, and was ultimately selected to the Hall of Fame. He was easily the best Left Tackle to ever play for the Vikings.

Left Guard: Randall McDaniel (1988-1999)
McDaniel is perhaps the greatest offensive lineman in the history of the Vikings. He started 202 consecutive games (190 with the Vikings), was an 11-time Pro Bowler (most in Vikings history) and was selected to the NFL’s Hall of Fame. He also blocked for five 1,000 yard rushers in his career.

Center: Mick Tingelhoff (1962-1978)
A member of the Vikings Ring of Honor, Tingelhoff started 240 consecutive games and appeared in 6 Pro Bowls. He played in all four of the Vikings Super Bowl appearances, and was honored as the NFL’s "Top Blocker" in 1969. We’ve had many strong Centers over the years from Jeff Christy to Matt Birk, but Tingelhoff was one of the first and still the best.

Right Guard: Steve Hutchinson (2006-2011)
Filling the other guard spot opposite McDaniel was truly a tough call. David Dixon had a great career as a Viking, although didn’t earn much in the way of accolades, and Ed White had a very successful career earning 4 Pro Bowl appearances and playing in all four of the Vikings Super Bowls. While Hutchinson is more of a left guard, he is included here at right guard, because of his 7 Pro Bowl appearances and his 2x NFL Alumni Offensive Lineman of the Year awards. He barely makes the cut as his first 5 seasons in the league were with Seattle, and his last 6 were on the Vikings. Even so, he’s got a very good shot at making the Hall of Fame one day as he has been as dominant a lineman as the Vikings has ever had.

Right Tackle: Ron Yary (1968-1981)
Another easy pick, Ron Yary is an NFL Hall of Famer, 7-time Pro Bowler and played in all 4 of the Vikings Super Bowls. Yary was the first ever offensive lineman drafted #1 overall and had an incredible career, missing only 2 games in 14 seasons.

Place Kicker: Fred Cox (1963-1977)
The Vikings All-Time leading scorer by a landslide, Fred Cox played in all four Vikings Super Bowls. While other kickers have him beat in other categories (accuracy, longest kicks, etc), his point total is more than double the next best kicker Ryan Longwell, and that counts for a lot. Gary Anderson is worth a mention, although his brief time in a Vikings uniform disqualifies him for this All-Era team.

Defensive End 1: Carl Eller (1964-1978)
The Vikings have a long and rich history of having elite defense ends, and Carl Eller was one of the first, and still the best. Eller was a 6-time Pro Bowler, and is unofficially the Vikings current sack leader among Defensive Ends with 130. He is a Hall of Famer, and is the only Viking to have 15+ sacks in a season multiple times (as a Viking). He was a key member of the famed Purple People Eaters D-Line.

Defensive Tackle 1: Alan Page (1967-1978)
Alan Page is regarded by many as the best player in Viking’s history. He was a first round draft pick in 1967, 9-time Pro Bowler, and was the first defensive player selected as the NFL’s MVP in 1971. Page is a Hall of Famer who unofficially recorded 23 fumble recoveries, 28 blocked kicks and 148.5 sacks during his time on the Purple People Eaters D-Line. He also played in all four of the Vikings Super Bowl appearances and played in 236 consecutive games.

Defensive Tackle 2: John Randle (1990-2000)
Randle was the quintessential playmaker, and redefined the role of a pass rusher from the DT position. An enigmatic player, Randle went undrafted, but that didn’t stop him from making 6 straight Pro Bowls, racking up 114 sacks and earning a spot in the Hall of Fame. He had 10+ sacks in 8 straight seasons.

Defensive End 2: Chris Doleman (1985-1993, 1999)
This was an incredibly difficult choice. There are many worthy selections here, like Jim Marshall or even Jared Allen. But, Doleman has the most valuable accolade of all: a place in the Hall of Fame. While Doleman was drafted as a LB with the #4 pick in the 1985 draft, he made the transition to Defensive End and dominated the position. He’s fifth in sacks in Viking’s history, and after Jared Allen’s record 22 sack season in 2011, Doleman’s 21 sacks during the 1989 season puts him in second place among Vikings players. He was an 8-time Pro Bowler, and was such a gifted athlete, that he came out of a 2-year retirement in 1999 to play for the Vikings for one more year.

Linebacker 1: Scott Studwell (1977-1990)
Studwell is the Vikings all-time leading tackler with 1,981 and is a member of the Viking’s Ring of Honor. A 2-time Pro Bowler, he also holds the Vikings record for single season tackles and single game tackles. He played in 200 games, and spent his entire career in a Vikings uniform, holding the NFL record for most tackles with a single NFL organization. He has been with the Vikings organization for over 30 consecutive years as he currently remains with the front office as a college scout.

Linebacker 2: Matt Blair (1974-1982)
Blair was a 6-time Pro Bowler, played in 2 Super Bowls and was named Most Valuable Linebacker in 1981. Blair is second all-time in Vikings history with 1,452 tackles. He also holds the Vikings record for blocked kicks in a career with 20.

Linebacker 3: Jeff Sieman (1972-1982)
This was a tough call, as Roy Winston and Ed McDaniel were solid players with great careers as Vikings. Ultimately though, Sieman’s 4 Pro Bowl appearances trump Winston and McDaniel’s collective 1. Sieman played in 3 Super Bowls and ranks 3rd all time in team tackles. He holds the Vikings record for solo combined tackles (130) in a season.

Cornerback 1: Bobby Bryant (1968-1980)
Bryant had a tremendous career as a Viking and is generally regarded as the best CB in Vikings history. He is #2 among Vikings with 51 interceptions. He was a playmaker, recording 14 fumble recoveries, 13 forced fumbles and 4 TDs in his career. He was a 2-time Pro Bowler who appeared in all 4 of the Viking’s Super Bowls.

Cornerback 2: Carl Lee (1983-1993)
The second CB spot was a tough selection. Ed Sharockman had a stellar career with some really incredible stats, but unfortunately didn’t garner many accolades during his era. Antoine Winfield is a solid, all-around CB and is worthy of the 2nd spot as well. However, Carl Lee gets the benefit of the doubt, having played longer in a Vikings uniform and being selected to three Pro Bowls. He is 5th among Vikings with 29 career interceptions, and "officially" leads the team with 771 solo tackles by a CB (stats during the Viking’s first 20 years were "unofficial"). Never-the-less, Lee was a dependable corner, and ranks 4th all-time for most games played by a Viking.

Safety 1: Paul Krause (1968-1979)
The easy pick for best safety, Krause spent his first 3 seasons as a Redskin, and led the NFL with 12 interceptions as a rookie. He intercepted passes in 6 consecutive games in his first season as a Viking, and is the current team leader in interceptions with 53, and is the all-time NFL leader with 81. A Hall of Famer, Krause was an 8-time Pro Bowler, played in all four Vikings Super Bowls and is a member of the Vikings Ring of Honor.

Safety 2: Joey Browner (1983-1991)
Browner was a hard-hitting safety who recorded 1,110 total tackles during his career. He was selected to 6 consecutive Pro Bowls, and ranks 4th on the team in interceptions with 37. He was an intimidating playmaker who recorded 17 fumble recoveries, and 4TDs.

Punter: Greg Coleman (1978-1987)
Coleman perfected the "Coffin Kick", pining opponents deep in their own territory. He holds the Vikings record for most punts, and most punts inside the 20. Chris Kluwe is worth a mention though, as his 44.4 yard/punt average is currently best all-time among Vikings punters. With a few more seasons, Kluwe has a good shot to go down in history as the Viking’s best punter, but he’s not quite there yet.

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.

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