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The Minnesota Vikings and Presidents Day: What's In A Name?

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When a team wins a championship in American sports, they get themselves a trip to the White House to meet whoever is sitting in the Oval Office at that time. Sadly, the Minnesota Vikings have not gotten an opportunity to do that over the course of their history, but that time will almost certainly be coming sooner rather than later.

However, there have been numerous members of the Minnesota Vikings over the years that have shared names with the men that have held the highest office in the land. So, on this Presidents Day, let's take a look at who some of those players are.

(Big thanks to the Minnesota Vikings' alumni guide for being invaluable in putting this together.)

Starting at the very beginning, there have been four Washingtons that have suited up for the Minnesota Vikings over the years. The most notable of them was probably wide receiver Gene Washington, who the Vikings took with the eighth overall pick in the 1967 NFL Draft (seven selections before they took some guy from Notre Dame named Alan Page). Gene Washington played for the Vikings from 1967 to 1972. There was also cornerback Dewayne Washington, who the Vikings took in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft. Wide receiver Harry Washington (1978) and defensive end Keith Washington (1995) each had brief stops in Minnesota.

There have been three Vikings with the last name of Adams, none of them really being household names. Guard Scott Adams played for the Vikings from 1991 to 1993, and wide receiver Tom Adams (1962) had a short stop in Minnesota, while quarterback Tony Adams was one of the team's replacement players during the strike season of 1987.

The Vikings don't quite have enough in their history for a Jackson Five, but there have been four players named Jackson in team history. The most accomplished among them is Tarvaris Jackson, who started for the Vikings for a couple of seasons at quarterback (when he could stay healthy long enough to play). There was also cornerback Alfred Jackson (1995-1996), wide receiver Harold Jackson (1982) and defensive tackle Joe "No, Not That Joe Jackson" Jackson (1977).

There have been a couple of Harrisons in team history, with defensive end Martin Harrison pulling a Grover Cleveland and playing for the Vikings on two non-consecutive occasions (1994-1996 and 1999), and tight end Todd Harrison (1993). And, of course, there's Harrison Smith.

Moving down the list of presidential names, we have three Taylors in Vikings history. The most notable of those is running back Chester Taylor, who was a 1,000-yard rusher for the Vikings in 2006 and a solid complement to Adrian Peterson for three seasons after that. Wide receiver Travis Taylor (2005-2006) spent some time with the Vikings, as did defensive end Eric Taylor (2005). Surprisingly, there hasn't been a Lincoln in Minnesota Vikings' history.

As you'd probably expect, no presidential name is more prevalent in Vikings' history than the last name of Johnson. Over the course of the team's history, 21 players with that name have suited up for the Vikings. The most successful one in Vikings' history would probably have to be quarterback Brad Johnson. He played for the team from 1992 to 1998, and then came back in 2005 and 2006. Here is the full list of Vikings' players with the last name of Johnson.

WR Bethel Johnson (2006)
QB Brad Johnson (1992-1998, 2005-2006)
WR Charles Johnson (2014)
DT Charlie Johnson (1982-1984)
OL Charlie Johnson (2011-2014)
OT Chase Johnson (2007)
S Chris Johnson (1996)
LB Dennis Johnson (1980-1985)
P Eddie Johnson (2003)
S Gene Johnson (1961)
DE George Johnson (2012-2013)
LB Henry Johnson (1980-1983)
WR Jaymar Johnson (2009-2010)
WR Joe Johnson (1992)
S Ken Johnson (1989-1990)
P Lee Johnson (2001)
OL Marcus Johnson (2005-2008)
LB Olrick Johnson (1999)
RB Sammy Johnson (1976-1978)
DT Spencer Johnson (2004-2007)
S Tyrell Johnson (2008-2011)

There haven't been any players in Vikings' history named Grant, but there was a coach by that name that was pretty successful for this franchise.

Only one Hayes in Vikings history, as running back Ray Hayes was on the squad in the Vikings' inaugural season of 1961. And the team has had a McKinnie, but never a McKinley. There have, however, been five Wilsons in Vikings' history, most notably quarterback Wade Wilson, who was on the team from 1981 to 1991. Of the other four Wilsons in team history, none of them. . .running backs Brett (1987), Tom (1963) and Wayne (1986), and safety David (1992). . .lasted longer than a season in Minnesota.

There has never been a Viking with the last name of Roosevelt or Nixon, though defensive tackle Roosevelt Nix played for the team in 1994. And there has only been one Kennedy, that being defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy, who was a key reserve for the Vikings from 2008 to 2010. And, of course, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention tight end Chase Ford.

The presidential last name that the Vikings have had the most success with would probably have to be Carter. Of course, there's wide receivers Cris Carter and Anthony Carter, two of the (arguably) top three receivers in team history. Then there was safety Tyrone Carter, who came over from the University of Minnesota for the 2000 and 2001 seasons. Cornerback Dale Carter (2001) and wide receiver Jason Carter (2006) also suited up for Minnesota. The Vikings currently employ offensive tackle Carter Bykowski, who played his high school ball for Bud Grant's son, Mike, at Eden Prairie.

And, to finish it off, there has never been a Bush or a Clinton in Minnesota, with the exception of running back Clinton Jones, who played for the Vikings from 1967 to 1972.

So, on this Presidents Day, there's your full listing of Minnesota players with presidential names. Yeah, it's not earth-shattering news or anything, but I hope you found it entertaining anyway. (Oh, and keep the comments section non-political.)