Over at NFL.com, they've been doing a series of lists, and the latest one might be the one with the most Vikings on it yet. They've come up with NFL players that had all time seasons as freshmen in college, and Minnesota finds themselves with four current or former players on that all time team. They're all on offense, and it includes two running backs, a wide receiver, and an offensive lineman.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma: Peterson had a monster freshman season down at Norman for Bob Stoops and the Sooners, setting a freshman rushing record of over 1,900 yards. At the time (2004), he finished second in the Heisman trophy voting behind USC's Matt Leinart, which was the highest vote total for a freshman ever until Johnny Manziel won it as a freshman in 2012. He had to deal with injuries in his sophomore and junior seasons, and a lot of people thought he was kind of frail as draft day approached. HAHAHAHAHAHA Here's the NFL.com write up:
He ran for an FBS freshman-record 1,925 yards and added 15 rushing TDs, and was a consensus All-American as a freshman; he finished second in the Heisman voting, the highest-ever finish for a freshman at that time. He had 11 100-yard games and three 200-yard outings that fall.
Herschel Walker, RB, Georgia: there are two college running backs that literally took my breath away as a freshman--Walker and Maurice Clarett. When he was at Georgia, he ran with the power of Earl Campbell and the speed of Walter Payton, and every time I saw him play I just shook my head in amazement. His career really veered off by going to the USFL first, and he became He Who Shall Not Be Named while he was in purple, but that was a combination of The Trade and the Vikings subsequent inability to properly utilize him. Here's what NFL.com had to say:
The best freshman season in college football history? This guy's. The stats were impressive enough: 1,616 yards, 15 TDs, four 200-yard games for an offense as conservative as they come. But his impact on the national landscape was even bigger: Georgia won the national title because of Walker (starting QB Buck Belue completed just 77 passes that season). Walker's first college TD came on a 16-yard run in an early-season game against Tennessee in which he broke four tackles and simply ran over Tennessee strong safety Bill Bates, leaving legendary Georgia radio play-by-play man Larry Munson awestruck. Walker was named a first-team Associated Press All-American, just the second freshman (following Tony Dorsett) to be so honored.
And if you've never had the pleasure of listening to Larry Munson call a Georgia game on the radio, you missed it. Listen to this clip of the above described play right here. He makes Paul Allen look disinterested.
Randy Moss, WR, Marshall: The guys that made this list readily admit they cheated, as Moss had troubles at both Notre Dame and Florida State before landing at then 1-AA Marshall for his freshman year. But can you overlook 1,700+ yards receiving, 78 receptions in 12 games, and a ridiculous 28 TD's? No, no you cannot. You could argue that Moss helped make his quarterback, Chad Pennington, a first round pick, and we know the rest of the story with Moss and his draft day slide to the Vikings. When he was on, and in his prime, well, there will never be another Super Freak. Here's NFL.com:
We're cheating a bit here, as Marshall was a Division I-AA school that season. But Moss -- who first signed with Notre Dame, then Florida State before ending up at Marshall because of off-field trouble -- certainly was a big-time talent. He had 78 receptions for 1,709 yards (21.9 yards per catch) and an astounding 28 TD catches as the Herd won the Division I-AA title in its last season at that level; Marshall moved up to the MAC the next season (when Moss had 26 TD catches).
Steve Hutchinson, G, That Team Up North: Hutch came to the Vikes before the 2006 season. The Seahawks put the transition tag on him, as opposed to the franchise tag, and the Vikings, in an awesomely devious maneuver, inserted a 'poison pill' clause in Hutchinson's contract that precluded the Seahawks from being able to match the offer. Over The Cap has a great rundown of that whole scenario, if your memory is foggy on the details:
Hutchinson's entire salary over the life of the contract would be guaranteed if he was not the highest paid offensive lineman on the team. In a normal scenario, this likely wouldn't be a tough issue for a team to handle when the player is one of Steve Hutchinson's caliber. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, this was not a normal scenario. In the previous offseason, Seattle had resigned Walter Jones, one of the greatest left tackles of all-time, to a contract that would pay him more than what the Vikings offered Hutchinson. Thus, if the Seahawks had matched the Vikings' offer sheet, the poison pill would have automatically kicked in from the very beginning and Hutchinson's entire seven-year deal would be guaranteed. This would have given Seattle incredible salary cap issues as two extremely high-paid offensive lineman would be on the roster, one of which would have every dollar guaranteed.
So Hutchinson was off to Minnesota, and he helped form what became a very good offensive line for the Vikings, and made it to the NFC Championship in 2009. He was also one of the guys that flew down to Hattiesburg, MS, during training camp in 2010 to kidnap Brett Favre and bring him back for one more year. And because of that poison pill legacy, Seattle has been on a mission to sign every former Vikings player since. They also inserted their own poison pill to lure Nate Burleson away. And when the new CBA was signed, the possibility of inserting a poison pill clause was eliminated. Oh, and Steve Hutchinson's Twitter handle? You guessed it: @PoisonPill76
I'd list his career accomplishments at That School Up North, but they all occurred during the John Cooper years at Ohio State. I've taken electro-shock therapy to remove that era from my mind. He was pretty good, I guess.