Most of the first round match-ups in our Greatest Viking Of All Time Tournament have been between guys that really don't have much of a connection to each other. That certainly isn't the case in this match-up, as this one pits two guys against each other that played side-by-side for a number of years for the Minnesota Vikings.
Alma Mater: Texas A&M-Kingsville (then known as Texas A&I)
Acquired by Vikings: Signed as an undrafted free agent following the 1990 NFL Draft
Seasons in Minnesota: 11 (1990-2000)
Position: Defensive tackle
A guy who is on the short list of the greatest undrafted players in the history of the NFL, John Randle was a terror to opposing quarterbacks for much of the 1990s for the Vikings. (Seriously, the guy went undrafted when the draft was still twelve rounds long.) In all eleven seasons he spent in Minnesota, he played in all sixteen games, and registered double-digit sacks seven times in a row. He led the NFL in sacks from the defensive tackle position in 1997 with 15.5, and is the team's all-time leading sack artist with 114 in purple, 17.5 more than second place Chris Doleman. Randle was a seven-time Pro Bowler, a six-time All-Pro, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
That commercial got Randle in trouble with PETA, apparently. That just makes me enjoy it more.
Alma Mater: Louisiana State University
Acquired by Vikings: Round 3, 1987 NFL Draft
Seasons in Minnesota: 8 (1987-1994)
Position: Defensive tackle
Overshadowed by Randle for much of the time he was a Viking, Henry Thomas acquired the name "Hardware Hank" during his tenure in Minnesota because the guy did the hard work inside. He's currently fifth on the Vikings' all-time sack list with 56, but that number alone doesn't really measure the impact that he had in the middle of Minnesota's 4-3 defense. He was a big part of some very formidable Minnesota defenses during his tenure, including the defense that put up 71 sacks in 1989, the second-highest total in a season in NFL history. Thomas contributed nine of those sacks.
Unfortunately, a search for "Henry Thomas" on YouTube brings up a bunch of videos of the kid that played Elliot in E.T., and since I can't embed it, here's a link to a Henry Thomas highlight video courtesy of Vikings.com.
Here's a review of how the voting process works, folks.
-If you want to vote for John Randle, rec the comment that says, "Vote - John Randle"
-If you want to vote for Henry Thomas, rec the comment that says, "Vote - Henry Thomas"
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!