I'll be honest, folks. . .I was attempting to put this first round match-up in our Greatest Viking Of All Time Tournament off for as long as possible. But, it can no longer be avoided, so here we go. This one features a man that should have been in the Hall of Fame a long time ago taking on the guy that may have put on the best rookie season for a kicker in NFL history.
Alma Mater: THE. . .dramatic pause. . .Ohio State University
Acquired by Vikings: Acquired via trade with Cleveland Browns before 1961 NFL Draft
Seasons in Minnesota: 19 (1961-1979)
Position: Defensive end
The NFL's original iron man, Jim Marshall played in a record 282 consecutive games, including 270 consecutive starts. All of the starts came in Minnesota. His streak overcame such things as injury, being stranded during an off-season snowmobile trip (during which Marshall, literally, burned his money to survive), and a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Yes, the man shot himself in the side while cleaning his gun during the week and played for the Vikings that Sunday. He is unofficially the Vikings' second-leading sack artist with 127, holds the NFL record for fumble recoveries with 30, and his #70 is one of just six numbers that have officially be retired by the Minnesota Vikings. He also holds the record for the NFL's shortest play at negative-66 yards for that one play that we've all seen a million damn times (and is, unfortunately, in the video below). The fact that Jim Marshall is not in the Hall of Fame is a travesty, to say the least.
By the way, the game that featured that wrong-way run? The Vikings won that game, 27-22, thanks to a Carl Eller fumble return for a touchdown on a sack by. . .Jim Marshall.
Alma Mater: University of Georgia
Acquired by Vikings: Round 6, 2012 NFL Draft
Seasons in Minnesota: 1 (2012)
A lot of people thought the Vikings were crazy to spend their sixth-round pick on a kicker in 2012. That talk quickly went away after Blair Walsh's first game as a Viking, a game that saw him boot four field goals (including a 55-yarder at the gun in regulation to tie the game) in the Vikings' 26-23 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. All in all, Walsh tied a Vikings' team record with 35 made field goals in a season, and set an NFL record with a ridiculous ten field goals of 50 yards or more.
Here's a review of how the voting process works, folks.
-If you want to vote for Jim Marshall, rec the comment that says, "Vote - Jim Marshall"
-If you want to vote for Blair Walsh, rec the comment that says, "Vote - Blair Walsh"
Don't rec both comments. . .we're on the honor system here, folks. Although I don't know why you'd rec both anyway. . .you'd end up just canceling yourself out.
Please do not reply to either of the top two comments. . .if you want to debate or make your case or what have you, feel free to do so underneath those top two comments. Remember. . .only recs count, so make sure that's how you register your vote.
The voting will remain open until 8 AM Central time tomorrow, at which point the next two match-ups will be posted.
Have at it, everybody!