I - like many - watched the Hall of Fame induction of Cris Carter last weekend, an event which led me to wonder:
What are the chances members of the 2013 Minnesota Vikings will make the Hall of Fame one day?
Keeping in mind that the media comprise the voters (which is one of many reasons it shall be interesting when Randy Moss is up for vote; In my opinion, he should be a unanimous first ballot HoF'er) and they seem to vote based on stats, rings (which is odd because teams win rings), and cultural impact...it's time to assess the likelihood for any of the 2013 Minnesota Vikings.
I once wrote a long and exhaustive case that Jerome Bettis does not belong in the Hall of Fame. In that article, one of the main cases was that he - in spite of being 6th all time in rushing yards - he was only amongst the Top 8 rushers in yardage in 3 different seasons. Adrian Peterson has been in the Top 6 five of his first six seasons. Bettis never led the NFL in rushing. Peterson's done it twice already. DOMINANCE.
Bettis DID make it to the Top 5 in rushing TDs...in his 12th season (he was 4th in 2004, his sole appearance in the Top 5). In six seasons, Peterson has been ranked below 4 just once. Bettis may have a ring and Adrian Peterson does not, but that should not matter whatsoever.
Peterson's already had a better receiivng year than Jerome EVER had (436 yards in 2009 vs. 293 in 1994 for Jerome). Peterson has 4 receiving TDs, one more than Bettis had in his career.
Comparing Adrian to others who ARE in the Hall of Fame, Adrian has the 5th and 31st best rushing YPG seasons in NFL history, and is 3rd all-time in YPG.
Adrian Peterson - despite T-Jack, Ponder, Childress, etc. - has averaged 99.4 YPG lifetime. That's better than Emmitt Smith (81.2), Tony Dorsett (73.4), Franco Harris (70.1), and Marshall Faulk (69.7). Ultimately, you can't tell the story of the NFL without LaDainian Tomlinson and you can't tell it without mentioning Adrian Peterson.
Hall of Fame chances: Slam dunk, first ballot.
An excellent comparison for Allen is Michael Strahan. Neither are simply one-trick ponies, both are as known for their personalities and leadership as their gaudy sack numbers (Strahan had 145.5, Allen has 117), and - while both are premier pass rushers of their generation - if Allen retired after this season, he too would likely have to wait as Strahan had to this past voting period.
Like CC, Jared has a story of overcoming alcohol abuse (more than likely just partying, not alcoholism), but - unlike Carter - you aren't going to hear teammates or opponents say anything negative about Jared. As for the question of "Can you tell the story of the NFL without him?", the answer would be a resounding "no", as his mullet, hunting, calf-rope celebration, and flirtation with history are all embedded in 21st-century football lore.
Hall of Fame chances: Slam-dunk, he's in.
There's really a parade of WRs drafted between 2003 and 2009 that may make it difficult for Jennings (6537 yards, 53 TD) to get in. The lame "advantage" of having a ring actually gets canceled because three of the receivers he'll likely be jousting with to get in have rings as well (Anquan Boldin (10,165 yards, 58 TD), Marques Colston (7394 yards, 58 TD), Hakeem Nicks (3726 yards, 27 TD) who all likely need more work). Also, most voters will consider Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon Marshall and Calvin Johnson if they are on the ballot over Jennings. There will be logjam at the position.
He also didn't pick a team in free agency capable of padding his stats over the next three seasons (even after a QB change, Peterson will still be much of the offense).
Hall of Fame chances: Slim at this point, but - since speed isn't his game - 50/50 if he plays another 100 games (that would be 6.5 seasons if he stays healthy) and/or gets another two rings.
The biggest comparison - no pun intended - for Williams is Class of 2013 DT Warren Sapp. Sapp's sack numbers are pretty incredible for a DT (96.5), but it's hard for me to say his prime was far superior to Kevin Williams' (Williams has 56.5 in 3 fewer seasons, was a key cog of the Williams Wall when the Vikings run defense).
From a run-defense standpoint, Minnesota was 27th in yards-per-attempt his first full season as a starter, between 11th and 18th the five seasons afterwards. In five of the six (2005-2010) seasons with Kevin and Pat Williams, the Vikings' run defense was ranked in the top 10 in the NFL, and from 2006 to 2008 they had the #1 rushing defense, yielding an average of 70.9 yards per game.
Vikings defenses that have featured Williams have never ranked higher than 10th in points allowed (the sole #10 ranking was in 2009; It's sad that the two highest-ranked defenses of the past 20 years were in 1998 and 2009). Now, I guarantee they will be top 10 in 2013. In fact, I can guarantee top 5 even. However, as great as Williams has played, he'll be judged ignorantly with the defenses he was on (top 8 in yards allowed four times, never above 6th ranking).
Hall of fame chances: Scant, but my love for players and coaches is not dependent on what writers or anyone else feel about their careers. I don't take the Hall that seriously, and it's enough for me that I LOVE a player, and I don't lose sleep if peers or writers don't appreciate him.
It's also worth mentioning that Blair Walsh is off to a historic start to his career, and that if Kyle Rudolph continues to block well, he may earn enough respect as his fantasy numbers start soaring (after a QB switch) that he eventually ends up in the Hall as well.
Vikings fans all hope they have a squad full of future Hall of Fame players (Harrison Smith? Chad Greenway?), but - moreover - would like to see the team win a Championship.
Obviously, you're mostly focused on the Vikings winning 2013's NFC North title, but what Vikings players do you think we'll see in the Hall of Fame?