The Minnesota Vikings have had an impressive run of Hall of Fame inductees in recent years, as Randall McDaniel, Gary Zimmerman, John Randle, and Cris Carter have all seen their careers immortalized in Canton.
Tonight, the NFL will announce the next group of men to be inducted. The 15 finalists are:
Jerome Bettis 4
Tim Brown 5
Edward DeBartolo, Jr. 3
Kevin Greene 3
*Ray Guy 8
Charles Haley 5
*Claude Humphrey 5
Andre Reed 8
Will Shields 3
Michael Strahan 2
Aeneas Williams 3
The number next to the person's name indicates how many times they've been a finalist. Ray Guy and Claude Humpreys are nominees from the Senior committee.
The only Vikings connections this year are Tony Dungy and Morten Andersen. Dungy. Dungy, a former University of Minnesota quarterback, was the Vikings former defensive coordinator from 1992-1995 under head coach Dennis Green. As the Vikings defensive coordinator, Minnesota had one of the top defenses in the NFL, coaching future Hall of Famers Chris Doleman and John Randle, and Vikings Ring of Honor inductee Joey Browner. in 1996, he became the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, and turned around the historically moribund franchise.
But Dungy became a victim of his own success in Tampa, and was fired after the 2001 season for not bringing a Super Bowl to Tampa. He was hired by the Indianapolis Colts, and the Colts won Super Bowl XLI, beating the Chicago Bears 29-17.
Andersen is one of the best kickers in NFL history. Although he's most closely identified as a member of the New Orleans Saints, his remarkable 25 year career spans three decades and five teams. He played for the Vikings in 2004, making 18 of his 22 field goal attempts, and also kicked a field goal in Minnesota's stunning playoff upset win of Green Bay at Lambeau Field.
But that's not why most Vikings fans will remember Morten Andersen. Sigh...