Chris Doleman Looks For Another Big Break

Jason Miller

Do you like the Minnesota Vikings? Do you like golf? Well, if you do, Golf Channel has something pretty sweet coming up that you're going to want to keep an eye on.

Starting on Tuesday, October 8, Golf Channel will be bringing you the latest season of their Big Break program, and this season is going to feature former National Football League stars. One of those stars is going to be Minnesota Vikings' Hall of Fame defensive end Chris Doleman. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the show, here's a description of the program from Golf Channel's website:

BIG BREAK NFL from Puerto Rico will feature an all-star cast comprised of several of the series' most captivating and polarizing personalities returning for a second chance at kick starting their professional golf careers. Two past BIG BREAK competitors - one male and one female, will join one NFL legend to form three-person teams. The series will feature a new format twist to BIG BREAK - teams will win or lose as teams. On the line will be $50,000 to the winning NFL legend's designated charity, along with 2014 PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour tournament exemptions, cash and other prizes for the BIG BREAK competitors.

The other competitors, along with Doleman, will be former NFL wide receivers Jerry Rice and Tim Brown, former quarterbacks Marc Bulger and Mark Rypien, and former kicker Al Del Greco. Doleman is the oldest competitor in the competition (along with Del Greco, who is also 51) and the only defensive player in the field. But he might not be in a position to get this "big break" if he hadn't gotten another one earlier in his career.

Here's a video that highlights Doleman and a little bit more of what Big Break is all about.


When the Vikings drafted Doleman with the fourth overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft, he had been playing as an outside linebacker and pass rusher in a 3-4 defense at the University of Pittsburgh. In the Vikings' 4-3 alignment, however, he was kept at an outside linebacker position, and was asked to drop into pass coverage a lot more frequently than he was used to or comfortable with. Doleman really struggled for most of his first two seasons at the outside linebacker position, and it looked as though he was going to have a rough go of it in the National Football League.

Then, during the 1986 season, starting defensive end Mark Mullaney got injured, and the team decided to move Doleman up to the defensive end position on the front line from his linebacker position. It was a move that the really gave Doleman the opportunity to succeed, and that's exactly what he did. After spending the remainder of the 1986 season getting used to his new position, Doleman was installed as the starting right defensive end in 1987, and responded with 11 sacks in his first season of playing the position full-time. Two years after that, in 1989, he racked up an incredible 21 sacks (while helping the Vikings as a team to accumulate 71 total quarterback takedowns).

In his ten seasons with Minnesota, he amassed 96.5 career sacks, including eight of them in 1999 at the ripe old age of 39, his final season in the National Football League.

But had Doleman not gotten the opportunity to move from outside linebacker to defensive end, he might not have gotten an opportunity to flourish the way that he did. . .or, at the very least, he would not have done so with Minnesota.

Doleman parlayed his first big break into a long and successful National Football League career. Can he do the same thing on the golf course? In about a week and a half, we're going to get the chance to find out.

Big Break NFL Puerto Rico debuts on Tuesday, 8 October at 8:00 PM Central time on Golf Channel.

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