We're down to our final Sweet 16 match-up in our Greatest Viking Of All Time Tournament, ladies and gentlemen! In this match-up, two incredible defensive linemen will square off for the right to go head-to-head against coach Bud Grant in the Elite 8.
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
How He Got Here: Defeated Henry Thomas 195-6 in Round 1; Defeated Bobby Bryant 158-16 in Round 2
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.
Alma Mater: University of Minnesota
Acquired by Vikings: Round 1, 1964 NFL Draft
Seasons in Minnesota: 15 (1964-1978)
Position: Defensive end
How He Got Here: Defeated Jake Reed 146-9 in Round 1; Defeated Joey Browner 152-18 in Round 2
Carl Eller is credited with being the all-time sack leader for the Minnesota Vikings with a tally of 130.5 over his fifteen years in purple, although the sack was an unofficial stat during Eller's career. He had a career-high of 15 in 1969, a number he matched again in 1977. Eller was a five-time All-Pro, and a six-time Pro Bowler. He is one of ten Vikings to have played in all four of their Super Bowl appearances, and was the 1971 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. A member of the Vikings' Ring of Honor, Eller was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.
Most of Eller's videos on YouTube have to do with stuff that's happened since he's retired, so I'll direct you here for a very cool video about the Purple People Eaters instead.
If you need a primer on how the voting for our contest works, we have one for you at this link here. Remember, rec the comments to register your vote. Putting "Vote - Name" in the subject line of a post does not count.
If you want to vote for John Randle, rec the comment that says "Vote - John Randle"
If you want to vote for Carl Eller, rec the comment that says "Vote - Carl Eller"
Voting is open for 24 hours, just like always, folks. Have at it!