We’re getting our Minnesota Vikings By The Numbers series started with the highest number that any NFL player can wear. Yes, we are 99 days away from the start of the 2017 NFL regular season, and today we’re going to determine the best member of the purple and gold to ever wear that number.
As much as I love Danielle Hunter (and I used his picture for this because, hey, he’s a Viking that’s wearing #99 and we only have access to so many pictures), I don’t think he’s already the best Viking to wear that number. But, I’m going to include him in our poll at the end anyway, because hey, maybe some folks think he is.
In my opinion, based on all the players that Pro Football Reference lists as having worn #99 for the purple, this one pretty much comes down to two players, both of whom are defensive linemen that spent five years with the Vikings.
The first one is Chris Hovan, who manned the middle of the defensive line for the Vikings from 2000 to 2004. A first-round selection (#25 overall) out of Boston College, he was named to the NFL’s All-Rookie team in 2000. His best seasons for the Vikings were probably 2001 and 2002, when he collected a combined 11.5 sacks. However, Hovan never really had the sort of career that you would hope for a first-round selection. He left the Vikings in 2004 and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Surprisingly. . .and I didn’t realize this until I looked it up. . .he played just as many seasons in Tampa as he did in Minnesota, sticking with the Bucs for five years.
The other primary candidate, in my view, is a name that some our “older” fans will remember, and that’s Al Noga. Noga, a third-round pick (#71 overall) for the Vikings in 1988 out of Hawai’i, he played just nine games with one start as a rookie. However, he exploded onto the scene in 1989, picking up 11.5 sacks from the left defensive end spot. A often overlooked man on a defensive line that featured Chris Doleman (21 sacks in 1989), Keith Millard (18 sacks), and Henry Thomas (9 sacks), Noga was a force to be reckoned with in that 1989 season for a Vikings team that racked up a total of 71 sacks. Noga collected 29.5 sacks in his five seasons with Minnesota. After that, he moved on to the Washington Redskins and the Indianapolis Colts before winding up in the Arena Football League.
Other Vikings to wear the #99:
- David Howard (1985-1986)
- James Harris (1993-1995)
- Stalin Colinet (1997-1999)
- Erasmus James (2005-2007)
- Napoleon Harris (2008)
- Christian Ballard (2011-2012)
- Corey Wootton (2014)
So, who do you feel is the best player in Minnesota Vikings’ history to wear #99? I’m going to go ahead and throw Hunter into the poll here anyway, though as I said in the opener, I’m not sure if he’s done enough to earn the mantle yet.
Who is the best Minnesota Viking to wear the #99?
This poll is closed
Chris Hovan (2000-2004)
Danielle Hunter (2015-present)
Al Noga (1988-1992)