Over at NFL.com, they've come up with a starting offense and defense of players who have had the best rookie season at their position, and came up with an All Time Rookie Team.
Three Vikings made the list, and they're not all that surprising. Well, two Vikings, and a guy that played a vast majority of his career with the Vikings. Who are they?
Randy Moss, WR: Moss was a no brainer, having one of the best rookie seasons for a WR the NFL has ever seen. He exploded onto the national scene in that memorable 1998 season, making an acrobatic touchdown catch in his debut, destroying Green Bay on national TV in what was his official coming out party, and then embarrassing Dallas on Thanksgiving, with three catches...for 163 yards...and three touchdowns. Here's NFL.com's rationale:
It seemed like Moss caught a deep ball every week in his incredible rookie campaign. The Vikings' offense set an NFL scoring record back in 1998, with the 21-year old Moss' 17 touchdowns playing a major role in the feat. In Dallas on Thanksgiving, the speedster out of Marshall caught three passes for 163 yards and three scores -- a spectacular display that thrilled the national audience.
Yeah, can't argue with any of that. Moss changed the wide receiver position in the NFL, and will be in Canton one day.
Randall McDaniel, G: McDaniel was always a quiet warrior for the Vikings, never missing a game, starting all but 3 of 222 career games, and playing at such a high level for such a long time, his work paid off and he ended up in the Hall of Fame. We've had the great fortune to interview McDaniel twice for DN, here and here. And for all his accolades on the field, he's a greater human being off the field. NFL.com says:
McDaniel was an effective interior player from the moment he stepped on an NFL field, starting 15 games as a rookie on the 11-5 Vikes. Although he missed the Pro Bowl in Year 1, McDaniel received the honor in the following 12 seasons.
Yeah, all that and more.
Paul Krause, S (selected as a member of the Washington Redskins): If you ask the average NFL fan 'who holds the NFL record for most career interceptions?', most people will throw out the name Ronnie Lott, maybe Deion Sanders,or if some old guy wants to try and impress you before he throws you off his lawn, a name like Dick 'Night Train' Lane or Willie Brown might get thrown out there.
They'd all be wrong. Still, after all these years, former Viking and Hall of Famer Paul Krause holds the record, with 81 picks. As a rookie with the Redskins in 1964, he picked off 12 passes. He lead the league in interceptions in three of his first four years in Washington...and was traded to the Vikins. Why? Well, when we also interviewed Paul Krause for DN (yeah, we're name dropping) he explained:
Otto Graham was the head coach, and we had a defensive backfield coach by the name of Ed Hughes, and although I had three great years, he just didn't like the way I played. I remember (Hall of Fame Linebacker and teammate) Sam Huff telling them "let me call the defense, let Krause play his game because nobody can beat us deep", but he just didn't like how I played, so they traded me. I wasn't going to change how I played, Hughes was a defensive back when he played, and he must've thought he knew how to play the game.
Pretty good trade for the Vikings, I would say.
No, Adrian Peterson didn't make it, which was mildly surprising, but neither did Jim Brown, Barry Sanders, OJ, or Emmitt Smith. Seriously, go read the running backs. It's probably the most controversial of picks, but I can kind of understand the rationale in who was selected.
Alan Page wasn't selected either, but Ndamukong Suh was. Go figure.
Anyhow, that's the list. With the Vikings well represented, I don't have much heartburn with this list. What do you guys think?