The first two installments of our Minnesota Vikings By The Numbers series have been a little lopsided, but now we’ve come to a number that might actually have a little bit of a debate involved. Today, we take a look at the #97 in the history of the Minnesota Vikings, and once again this one really comes down to two players.
The first one is the man that currently wears the number for the purple and gold, defensive end Everson Griffen. Griffen is getting ready to begin his eighth season as a member of the Vikings, having been drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Vikings out of USC. Griffen played sparingly in his first couple of seasons with the Vikings, but finally carved out a role in 2012, bursting on to the scene with three sacks of Aaron Rodgers in the season finale that helped propel the Vikings to the postseason. He became a full-time starter in 2014, and since then has established himself as one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers from his right defensive end position.
The other prominent #97 in Vikings history played on the inside, and had a very good run for some very good Minnesota defenses. That man is defensive tackle Henry Thomas, who paired with Keith Millard and John Randle to wreak havoc in the middle of Minnesota’s defensive line. A third-round pick of the Vikings out of LSU in 1987, Thomas started 116 of his 118 career games for Minnesota, and averaged seven sacks a season from the defensive tackle position. He was a two-time Pro Bowler for the Vikings, and was even a second-team All-Pro in 1993. He moved on to Detroit in 1994, where he played for two years before concluding his NFL career with a four-year run in New England.
Nobody else that’s worn the #97 in the history of the Vikings has really made that much of an impact, to be honest. Like I said in the opener, it’s really just these two.
#97s in Minnesota Vikings History:
- Tony Norman (1987, who I believe was one of the “scabs” that played during the ‘87 strike)
- Henry Thomas (1987 - 1994)
- Talance Sawyer (1999 - 2003)
- Spencer Johnson (2004 - 2007)
- Ellis Wyms (2008)
- Jayme Mitchell (2010. . .apparently)
- Everson Griffen (2010 - present)
So, who do you think is the best #97 in Vikings’ history, folks?
Who is the best Minnesota Viking to wear #97?
This poll is closed
Everson Griffen (2010 - present)
Henry Thomas (1987 - 1994)