Once again, we've been asked a question by Marshall Faulk as part of our season-long series, and this week's question might be the most interesting one we've had thus far.
Being GMC Professional Grade is about recognizing those who changed the game. Go back in history and select one former great—just one. Now add him to your team’s roster right now. Who would it be—and why? And how far does your team go this year, with that one player?
Well, this is a really good one for a team like the Vikings, as they've had a lot of players at nearly every position that would qualify for the purposes of this questions. Guys like Cris Carter, Randy Moss, Alan Page, Joey Browner. . .we could go on for quite a while.
However, for this particular Minnesota Vikings' team, if we're going to bring back a legend, we should bring back someone that can fix this team's biggest weakness. . .and, as we've bemoaned on more than one occasion this season, that weakness is the offensive line. And, in my opinion, this selection would have a ripple effect across the offensive line and, in turn, across the entire offense.
So, if I could bring back one Minnesota Vikings legend, the guy that I would bring back is left tackle Gary Zimmerman.
Zimmerman actually started his career in the United States Football League with the Los Angeles Express. When the league folded, he found himself with the Minnesota Vikings, where he put together an outstanding career. He played for the Vikings from 1986 to 1992, and during that time was a first-team All-Pro at offensive tackle four times (1987, 1988, 1989, and 1992) and a second-team All-Pro in 1986. He then moved on to the Denver Broncos, where he garnered three more All-Pro nods (first team in 1996, and second team in 1993 and 1995). He was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2008. I'd say that qualifies him as a "legend."
As much as we're all holding out hope for Matt Kalil at this point, Zimmerman would be an obvious and immediate upgrade to the Vikings' offensive line. You could put Zimmerman on the proverbial "island" against just about anybody, and be worry-free for most of the afternoon. He would make things easier for the entire offensive line, and because the team wouldn't have to use any blockers out there to assist him, the team could send more players out into pass patterns or whatever else Norv Turner might want to do. Not to mention the level of comfort that someone of Zimmerman's caliber would provide to a young quarterback like Teddy Bridgewater. . .who, let's face it, could probably use a little bit of assurance with the way a couple of his first few NFL starts have gone.
Of all the Minnesota Vikings' legends that could potentially come back to the team to give them a hand, I think that Gary Zimmerman would have the most immediate impact on the team in their push for the second half of the season.