Today begins our trip through the 50s in our Minnesota Vikings By The Numbers series, which means we begin with the number 59. This number is highlighted by a couple of linebackers from the earlier years of Vikings football.
The first prominent #59 in Vikings history was linebacker Lonnie Warwick, who played for the team from 1965 to 1972. Warwick actually went undrafted and spent a year working for the Southern Pacific Railroad before getting back into football. He started about half the games the Vikings played in his first season, and then started every game at middle linebacker for the Vikings from 1966 through 1970. He had a nose for the ball, collecting 12 interceptions from his middle linebacker position, and also returned a blocked punt for a touchdown. He battled knee injuries in 1971 and 1972, and then left the Vikings to play for two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons before leaving the NFL. While he didn’t get a lot of awards for his play, Joe Kapp once called Warwick the “meanest man in football” when they were teammates.
After the number took a season off, it was picked up by linebacker Matt Blair starting in 1974. Blair grabbed onto a starting linebacker spot in 1976, and became one of the mainstays of the Minnesota defense in the post-Purple People Eaters era. He collected 16 interceptions for the Vikings in his career, and made just as large an impact on special teams, as he is currently third in NFL history with 20 blocked kicks. Blair was a six-time Pro Bowl player, having gotten that honor each year from 1977 to 1982, and was named a first-team All-Pro in 1980. He is also a member of the Vikings’ Ring of Honor, and was named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings of all time.
There are a couple of honorable mentions for this one for a couple of other linebackers. Dixon Edwards (pictured above) came to the Vikings in 1996 and provided solid play at the linebacker spot, starting 43 games in his three seasons with the team. More recently, linebacker Heath Farwell. . .who was far better known for his special teams prowess than he was for playing on defense. . .wore the #59 for the Vikings.
But, Warwick and Blair are the two players that really stand out for this one, I think.
Vikings that have worn the number 59:
- Jim Leo (1961)
- Lonnie Warwick (1965 - 1972)
- Matt Blair (1974 - 1985)
- Fabray Collins (1987)
- Mark Dusbabek (1989 - 1991)
- Ashley Sheppard (1993 - 1994)
- Dixon Edwards (1996 - 1998)
- Craig Sauer (2000)
- Fearon Wright (2001)
- Antonio Wilson (2002)
- Mike Nattiel (2003 - 2004)
- Heath Farwell (2005 - 2010)
- Tyrone McKenzie (2012)
- Desmond Bishop (2013)
- Emmanuel Lamur (2016 - present)
That’s a brief look at the number 59 in Minnesota Vikings’ history, ladies and gentlemen. Tomorrow we take a look at the number 58.
Who is the greatest Viking to wear the number 59?
This poll is closed
Matt Blair (1974 - 1985)
Lonnie Warwick (1965 - 1972)