Just a little while ago, former Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame by the Seniors Selection committee.
Tingelhoff, who played his entire 17 year career (1962-1978) with the Vikings, was signed as a free agent out of Nebraska in the Vikings second year of existence. He proceeded to start 240 straight games. SI's Peter King chroicled his career thusly in a 2005 article about him in Sports Illustrated:
Tingelhoff entered the NFL as a free-agent center from Nebraska in 1962. He was the starting center by the third week of training camp. He started the first preseason gme, the first regular-season game, and then every single pre-, regular- and post-season game in Vikings history for the next 17 years. He made more all-pro teams than any center of all time, including the two centers from his era, Jim Langer and Jim Otto, who are in the Hall.
It can be argued that Tingelhoff, with his longevity and durability, can be considered as the greatest center to ever play the game, now that he has been enshrined. Well, he could have before, but maybe he'll at least be in the discussion. He played through numerous injuries, to include multiple dislocated fingers, a separated shoulder, and a torn calf muscle. He played with a torn calf muscle and a separated shoulder...as an offensive lineman. Think about that for a second. He was also a five team first team All Pro (1964-1966, 1968-69), and went to six straight pro bowls from 1964-1969.
He anchored a line that blew holes open for a Vikings offense that punished you on the ground, with backs like Bill 'Boom Boom' Brown, Dave Osborn, and Chuck Foreman. He also pass blocked for Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton, who according to Tingelhoff's wife Phyllis, has been advocating for Tingelhoff for the Hall of Fame for years, and will probably give his induction speech.
With Tingelhoff's induction, that gives the Vikings 13 players who are in the Hall of Fame who played all or most of their careers with the team, tied for 11th all time among franchises.
Congratulations to Mick Tingelhoff, a true Viking whose long wait is finally over. Vikings Nation celebrates with you!