Another day, another entry into the 30 Day Challenge series, ladies and gentlemen. We're sticking with the posts about different positions for today, and moving on to the next level of the defense.
Who is your favorite all-time Minnesota Vikings linebacker?
As big a fan as I am of E.J. Henderson and the perseverance he showed in coming back from a career-threatening injury, for me the discussion of Vikings linebackers begins and ends with Scott Studwell. (Again, I'll put the disclaimer out there that I wasn't a Vikings fan until the mid-80s, so I missed the crew from the Purple People Eaters.) Studwell, to me, was everything that a prototypical, old school middle linebacker was supposed to be. He was a tackling machine, as he holds virtually every Vikings' record in that category.
-He's the team's all-time leading tackler with 1,981
-He holds the team record for most tackles in a single season (230 in 1981)
-He holds the team record for most tackles in a single game (24 in a 1985 game against the Detroit Lions)
Most of the recognition that Studwell got from folks outside of the Vikings' faithful came towards the end of his career. He was a two-time Pro Bowler, making the team in 1987 and 1988, and a three-time All-Pro, garnering that honor in 1984 (for a truly disastrous Viking team, no less), 1988, and 1989.
Studwell was a member of the Vikings for a long time. How long? He is the only Vikings' defensive player that played with both Jim Marshall and John Randle. He was drafted in the ninth round of the 1979 NFL Draft (back when the draft was twelve rounds long), and spent his entire career with the Vikings until his retirement following the 1990 season. He was a member of the Vikings 25th Anniversary Team, as well as their 40th Anniversary Team, and was named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings in 2010. He's also a member of the team's Ring of Honor.
I should correct myself. . .Studwell's playing career with the Vikings ended in 1990. Starting in 1991, he has been part of the team's staff, working for the team in the following capacities:
-Assistant to the President/Player Relations (1991)
-Player Personnel Coordinator (1992-2001)
-Director of College Scouting (2002-2014)
That gave him 38 seasons as a member of the Vikings in some capacity. I might be missing my guess on this, but I believe that only Bud Grant and long-time trainer Fred Zamberletti have more years with the Minnesota Vikings than Scott Studwell. Studwell is still with the team in a smaller capacity, though I'm not totally sure what that capacity is.
Studwell was a great player on the field, and his loyalty to the team off the field is truly admirable. The combination of those two things are what make him my favorite Minnesota Vikings' linebacker.
Which direction are you folks going on this one?