This week, the Minnesota Vikings lost a pretty significant piece of their history.
Bob Schnelker, the Vikings' offensive coordinator under head coach Jerry Burns, passed away on Monday at the age of 88.
A lot of Vikings fans, particularly the younger ones, probably know the name of Bob Schnelker from Jerry Burns' defense of him following a 23-21 game against the Los Angeles Rams at the Metrodome. The hometown fans booed the offense extensively following a performance that saw the Vikings get seven field goals from Rich Karlis. In a press conference we've posted several times here, Burns took to the podium and swore that it wasn't Bob Schnelker's fault that the offense didn't get the ball into the end zone. Burns' language in Schnelker's defense was. . .colorful. Yeah, let's go with colorful.
Prior to becoming an NFL coach, Schnelker made a pretty solid career for himself as a player. He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 29th(!?) round of the 1950 NFL Draft, but didn't make his NFL debut until 1953 with the Philadelphia Eagles. After that, he played seven seasons with the New York Giants from 1954 to 1960, being named to the Pro Bowl twice and winning a championship with the Giants in 1956.
Schnelker then found his way to Minnesota for the Vikings' inaugural season in 1961. He scored the first touchdown in Minnesota Vikings' history, a 14-yard touchdown reception from rookie quarterback Fran Tarkenton in Minnesota's 37-13 win over the Chicago Bears in the first game in franchise history. He played the first six games of the 1961 season for Minnesota and the final eight for the Pittsburgh Steelers in what turned out to be his last season as a player.
His coaching career got underway in 1963, as he served as the wide receiver and tight end coach for the Los Angeles Rams. In 1966, he was an assistant under Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers. He also served as a coach for the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, and Detroit Lions, as well as a second stint with the Packers before joining Jerry Burns' staff in 1986.
Schnelker is survived by his daughter, three grandchildren, and a brother.
We send our condolences to the Schnelker family on Bob's passing.