Let's keep the action rolling in the first round of our Greatest Viking Of All Time Tournament, shall we? This first round match-up pits the guy who, at one time, might have been the greatest running back in Minnesota Vikings history against the guy that might be considered the forgotten man on one of the best defensive lines in NFL history.
Alma Mater: The. . .dramatic pause. . .Ohio State University
Acquired by Vikings: Round 1, 1993 NFL Draft
Seasons in Minnesota: 8 (1993-2000)
Position: Running back
Though Robert Smith retired as the Vikings' all-time leading rusher, one can only wonder what things could have been like had he been able to stay healthy during the early part of his tenure in Minnesota. He was plagued by numerous injuries during his first four seasons, but really came on at the end, rushing for more than 1,000 yards in each of his last four seasons. He was second in the NFL in rushing in 2000, after which he suddenly announced his retirement. His 6,818 career yards on the ground stood as the team benchmark until Adrian Peterson came along.
Yep, even with one shoe, he was pretty darn good.
Alma Mater: Concordia College (Go Cobbers!)
Acquired by Vikings: Part of a trade with the Los Angeles Rams prior to the 1965 season.
Seasons in Minnesota: 10 (1965-1974)
Position: Defensive tackle
Larsen took the long way around to the NFL, as he played at Concordia as a freshman, went to join the Marines, and came back and finished at Concordia. He was a throw-in player in a trade that sent receiver Jack Snow to the (then) Los Angeles Rams and brought receiver Jimmy Phillips to Minnesota. Larsen, as already stated, was sort of the forgotten man of the Purple People Eaters, providing great run stopping support at defensive tackle while Alan Page, Carl Eller, and Jim Marshall went after quarterbacks. Larsen racked up 38.5 sacks (unofficially) in his career, and was a two-time Pro Bowler.
Here's a review of how the voting process works, folks.
-If you want to vote for Robert Smith, rec the comment that says, "Vote - Robert Smith"
-If you want to vote for Gary Larsen, rec the comment that says, "Vote - Gary Larsen"
Don't rec both comments. . .we're on the honor system here, folks. Although I don't know why you'd rec both anyway. . .you'd end up just canceling yourself out.
Please do not reply to either of the top two comments. . .if you want to debate or make your case or what have you, feel free to do so underneath those top two comments. Remember. . .only recs count, so make sure that's how you register your vote.
The voting will remain open until 8 AM Central time tomorrow, at which point the next two match-ups will be posted.
Have at it, everybody!