Much like the numbers in the 60 range were covered by offensive linemen, the 50s in our Minnesota Vikings By The Numbers series will be the domain of the linebackers, for the most part. As we move on to the number 58, we move on to a trio of linebackers that were both fairly underrated for their time.
The first #58 in Vikings history was linebacker Rip Hawkins, who was part of the Vikings’ first draft class in 1961. Hawkins started 66 of the first 70 games in Vikings’ history at linebacker, and collected 12 interceptions over that time, converting three of them into touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1963.
The most prominent #58 in Vikings history was probably linebacker Wally Hilgenberg, who came to the Vikings in 1968. Hilgenberg actually started his career with the Detroit Lions in 1964, playing three seasons with them before coming to Minnesota. He finally assumed a full-time starting job in 1969, and missed just three starts over the course of eight seasons. He reverted to more of a backup role starting in 1977, and remained with the team in that role until he retired from the National Football League after the 1979 season. While he may have been overshadowed by more prominent members of the Vikings’ defense at the time, nobody doubted how important Hilgenberg was to those great Vikings’ defenses of the glory years. In addition to being an outstanding tackler, Hilgenberg also intercepted at least one pass in six consecutive seasons.
In more recent years, the number was worn by another underrated part of some great Minnesota defenses in middle linebacker “Easy” Ed McDaniel. A fifth-round pick of the Vikings out of Clemson in 1992, McDaniel worked his way into the starting lineup in his third season in the NFL and remained the primary starter at middle linebacker for the Vikings from 1994 to 2001. He started every game through the end of the 1999 season, and missed just three starts overall before finishing his career after the 2001 season. McDaniel made the Pro Bowl in 1998, but like Hilgenberg did not receive a lot of individual accolades over the years, at least not in terms of awards.
Those are the three big names to wear the number 58 in the history of the Minnesota Vikings. All linebackers, and all probably underrated during their prime years.
Vikings that have worn the number 58:
- Rip Hawkins (1961 - 1965)
- Wally Hilgenberg (1968 - 1979)
- Jim Langer (1980 - 1981)
- Walker Lee Ashley (1983 - 1988)
- Jimmy Williams (1990 - 1991)
- Ed McDaniel (1992 - 2001)
- Nick Rogers (2002 - 2003)
- Rod Davis (2004)
- Napoleon Harris (2005 - 2006)
- David Herron (2007 - 2008)
- Tyrone McKenzie (2012)
- Brandon Watts (2014 - 2016)
On to the number 57 tomorrow, folks!
Who is the greatest Viking to wear the number 58?
This poll is closed
Rip Hawkins (1961 - 1965)
Wally Hilgenberg (1968 - 1979)
Ed McDaniel (1992 - 2001)