When you’re on the short list of the greatest players at your position that the National Football League has ever seen and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and are the reason that the team retired your number, you get put on the list of the greatest Minnesota Vikings ever to wear your number. That’s precisely the case with today’s honoree, wide receiver Cris Carter.
We all know the story about how Carter came to be a Viking. He started out with the Philadelphia Eagles and was eventually waived because of substance abuse issues. The Vikings spent the best $100 in team history to put in a waiver claim for Carter and the rest, as they say, is history.
Carter didn’t exactly light it up in his first few seasons with Minnesota, as it took him until his fourth season with the team to get over the 1,000-yard mark. However, from 1993 to 2000, he was a 1,000-yard receiver every season, teaming with Jake Reed and (later) Randy Moss to form a couple of incredible receiving combinations in Dennis Green’s offense. It literally didn’t matter who was throwing the ball Carter’s direction, he was catching it and making things happen.
In 1994, Carter set a then-NFL record with 122 receptions in a season, and repeated that number of catches the following year. From 1995 to 1999, he also scored double-digit touchdowns every season, including 17 in 1995.
His numbers for the 12 years he was a member of the Vikings are pretty staggering. He had 1,004 catches in purple, collecting 12,383 yards and 110 touchdowns. He’s easily the Vikings’ all-time leader in pretty much every meaningful receiving category, and I wouldn’t bet on anyone catching or surpassing any of his marks any time soon.
Vikings that have worn the number 80:
- Jim Boylan (1963)
- John Henderson (1968 - 1972)
- Sam McCullum (1974-1975)
- Leonard Willis (1976)
- Harry Washington (1978)
- Terry LeCount (1979 - 1987)
- Billy Waddy (1984)
- Jim Gustafson (1986 - 1989)
- Keith Kidd (1987)
- Cris Carter (1990 - 2001)
That finishes out the 80s, ladies and gentlemen. We’ll get into the 70s starting tomorrow.