The National Football League has announced its list of 15 modern-day finalists for potential induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The voting will be held February 4, the day before the Super Bowl, in Indianapolis.
Once again, there are two Minnesota Vikings on the list of players, and they're the ones we all know. Cris Carter, one of the five greatest receivers in the history of the National Football League that has somehow managed to get passed over on three separate occasions already, is on the list. Carter retired with more receptions, receiving yardage, and touchdown catches than any wide receiver not named Jerry Rice, and despite not having played in the NFL since 2002 still ranks in the top ten in all three of those categories (fourth in receptions and receiving touchdowns and eighth in receiving yardage).
Chris Doleman, who was inducted into the Vikings' Ring of Honor this season, is also on the list of finalists. Doleman played fifteen NFL seasons for three different teams (Minnesota, Atlanta, and San Francisco). He finished his NFL career in fourth place on the all-time sacks list with 150.5, and until a week ago had held the Vikings' single-season record for sacks with 21.
This doesn't look like a particularly strong class, to be honest, and there's really no good excuse for at least one of these two former Vikings to not get the call to Canton in a few weeks. That doesn't mean that the voters won't find one, but whatever excuse they do find likely won't be a terribly good one.
Here is the entire list of finalists for the 2012 class.
Jerome Bettis, RB -- 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
Tim Brown, WR/KR -- 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jack Butler, CB -- (1951-59 Pittsburgh Steelers) (senior nominee)
Cris Carter, WR -- 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins
Dermontti Dawson, C -- 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Owner -- 1979-2000 San Francisco 49ers
Chris Doleman, DE/LB -- 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers
Kevin Greene, LB/DE -- 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers
Charles Haley, DE/LB -- 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
Cortez Kennedy, DT -- 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks
Curtis Martin, RB -- 1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets
Bill Parcells, Coach -- 1983-1990 New York Giants, 1993-96 New England Patriots, 1997-99 New York Jets, 2003-06 Dallas Cowboys
Andre Reed, WR -- 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
Willie Roaf, T -- 1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs
Will Shields, G -- 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs
Dick Stanfel, G -- (1952-55 Detroit Lions, 1956-58 Washington Redskins) (senior nominee)
Aeneas Williams, CB/S -- 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams