When an NFL team decides that a number needs to be retired, the player in question pretty much owns it for that franchise. When they’re quite possibly the greatest NFL player of all time at their position, there’s absolutely no room for debate.
Such is the case with Alan Page, who is not only one of the greatest Minnesota Vikings of all time. . .the greatest, according to the highly scientific study we did a few years ago. . .but is on the short list of the greatest defensive linemen in the history of the National Football League.
A man who, literally, helped to build the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his teenage years in Canton, Ohio, Page would join the Vikings in 1967. He would go on to play 218 consecutive games for the purple, with 215 of those coming as a member of the starting lineup. Since sacks weren’t officially kept as a statistic until after Page retired, he has been “unofficially” credited with 108.5 sacks as a member of the Vikings.
Page was named the National Football League’s Most Valuable Player in 1971 by the Associated Press, becoming the first defensive player to win that accolade and one of only two defensive players ever to receive it (the other is Lawrence Taylor, who won the award in 1986). His full list of accomplishments as a member of the Vikings is incredibly impressive.
- Four-time NFC Champion (1969, 1973, 1974, 1976)
- Nine-time Pro Bowl selection (1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977)
- Six-time first-team All-Pro selection (1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975)
- Three-time second-team All-Pro selection (1968, 1972, 1976)
- Ten-time first-team All-Conference selection (1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977)
- 1970 NFC Defensive Player of the Year
- 1971 NFL MVP
- 1971 AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year
- 1971 UPI NFC Player of the Year
- 1971 NFC Defensive Player of the Year
- 1973 NEA NFL Defensive Player of the Year
- Minnesota Vikings Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Team
- Minnesota Vikings Fortieth Anniversary Team
- One of the Fifty Greatest Vikings of All Time
- Minnesota Vikings #88 Retired
- Member of the Minnesota Vikings Ring of Honor
- Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1988
And this doesn’t even get into what he accomplished off the field as a member of the Minnesota Supreme Court and other philanthropic endeavors.
Nobody will wear the #88 for the Minnesota Vikings ever again, and with good reason.
Vikings that have worn the number 88:
Fred Murphy (1961)
Charley Ferguson (1962)
Bob Lacey (1964)
Alan Page (1967 - 1978)
Mardye McDole (1981 - 1983)
Don Hasselbeck (1984)
Buster Rhymes (1985 - 1986)
Marc May (1987)
We’ll move on to #87 tomorrow, ladies and gentlemen.