Making our way through the numbers in the history of the Minnesota Vikings, we now come to the #87. There have been a few mildly productive players that have donned the number in Vikings’ history, but nobody that you’d really consider to be a superstar or anything like that. Of course, that means there might actually be a debate to be had, which is okay.
The longest-tenured #87 in Vikings history is a guy that a lot of older fans will probably remember, wide receiver Leo Lewis. I had to do a double take when I looked it up, but Lewis spent the better part of eleven seasons with the Vikings. He briefly played for Cleveland in his final year, but then came back to the purple. Lewis’ best season as a receiver was 1984, when he had 830 receiving yards, but the majority of his work was done as a punt and kick returner.
A couple of former Chicago Bears enjoyed some decent seasons in Minnesota wearing the #87 as well. Marcus Robinson played three seasons for the Vikings, but managed to find the end zone 17 times in that stretch, including eight scores in 2004. He was followed by Bernard Berrian, who approached the 1,000-yard mark in his first season as a Viking (and was part of the longest play from scrimmage in Vikings’ history with his 99-yard touchdown reception from Gus Frerotte), but sort of fell off towards the end of his Vikings career.
The number 87 has also given us a couple of productive tight ends as well. Gordie Smith was a part of the Vikings’ first squad, and over five seasons averaged over 22 yards/catch from the tight end spot. (Granted, he didn’t get a lot of catches, but that’s still a fairly impressive figure.) John Beasley was a part of a couple of Super Bowl seasons for the Vikings at the start of the Bud Grant era, and scored 12 touchdowns for the purple over his career. Byron Chamberlain had a couple of decent seasons as well. The purple #87 was even worn by Mike Tice, who played for the Vikings for two seasons and would later go on to become the team’s head coach.
Vikings that have worn the number 87:
- Gordie Smith (1961 - 1965)
- John Beasley (1967 - 1973)
- Clint Haslerig (1975)
- Kevin Miller (1978 - 1980)
- Leo Lewis (1981 - 1991)
- Clifton Eley (1987)
- Mike Tice (1992 - 1993)
- Adrian Cooper (1994 - 1995)
- Hunter Goodwin (1996 - 1998)
- Carlester Crumpler (1999)
- Johnny McWilliams (2000)
- Byron Chamberlain (2001 - 2002)
- Marcus Robinson (2004 - 2006)
- Bernard Berrian (2008 - 2011)
- MarQueis Gray (2014)
- Brian Leonhardt (2016)
Again, some solid players, but nobody you’d really label as a superstar or anything. If you want to see all the stats for these players for comparison purposes, you can check out the list from Pro Football Reference.
Who is the best Viking to wear #87?
This poll is closed
John Beasley (1967 - 1973)
Bernard Berrian (2008 - 2011)
Byron Chamberlain (2001 - 2002)
Leo Lewis (1981 - 1991)
Marcus Robinson (2004 - 2006)
Gordie Smith (1961 - 1965)