We’re now halfway through the 50s in our numerical journey through the history of the Minnesota Vikings, as we’re now at the number 55. There have been a few very good linebackers that have worn this number for the Vikings, but it’s pretty clear that one stands about above all of the rest.
Scott Studwell was drafted by the Vikings in the ninth round of the 1977 NFL Draft. He has been a part of the Vikings’ organization in some way, shape, or form ever since. He has, quite literally, been a member of the organization for as long as I’ve been alive. And, during his time on the field, he was a bad, bad man.
Studwell didn’t officially take over the starting job at middle linebacker until the 1980 season, but he held onto that job until he retired in 1990. He is still the all-time leading tackler in franchise history with 1,981. He also holds the team record for tackles in a season (230 of them in 1981) and tackles in one game (24 in a 1985 contest against the Detroit Lions). He was a two-time Pro Bowler and a three-time First-Team All-Pro. How good was he? His first time being named an All-Pro came in 1984, the season that might have been the worst in the history of the franchise. Despite all the turmoil around the team that season, Studwell performed well enough to be touted as the best middle linebacker in football. That’s pretty impressive.
Studwell is a member of the team’s Ring of Honor, and was named to the 25th and 40th Anniversary teams, as well as being named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings of All Time. After his retirement, he joined the Vikings’ front office in 1991, and in 2002 was named the team’s Director of College Scouting, a position he held for 12 years. When it comes to the number 55, the first name that should come to mind for Vikings fans is that of Scott Studwell.
There have been a couple other solid players that have worn the number. Jack Del Rio had the unenviable task of following Studwell as the team’s middle linebacker, joining the Vikings in 1992. Del Rio played his final four NFL seasons for Minnesota, making the Pro Bowl in 1994. He suffered a knee injury in 1995 that limited him to nine games and, ultimately, caused him to retire at the age of 32. As we know, he’s gone on to a couple of different head coaching stops since retiring as a player.
The current wearer of the number 55 is linebacker Anthony Barr. Barr was outstanding in his first couple of seasons in purple, but experienced a serious drop-off this past season. He’s shown that he has the potential to eventually be thought of as highly as Studwell in Vikings’ history, but really needs to get back into form in 2017 if he wants to continue along that path.
Vikings that have worn the number 55:
- Cliff Livingston (1962)
- John Campbell (1963 - 1964)
- Don Hansen (1966 - 1967)
- Mike McGill (1968 - 1970)
- Amos Martin (1972 - 1976)
- Scott Studwell (1977 - 1990)
- Jack Del Rio (1992 - 1995)
- Darryl Talley (1996)
- Ron George (1997)
- Bobby Houston (1998)
- Corey Miller (1999)
- Olrick Johnson (1999)
- Lemanski Hall (2000 - 2002)
- Chris Claiborne (2003 - 2004)
- Sam Cowart (2005)
- Jason Glenn (2006)
- Dontarrious Thomas (2008)
- Kenny Onatolu (2009 - 2011)
- Marvin Mitchell (2012 - 2013)
- Anthony Barr (2014 - present)
We’ll head on to the #54 tomorrow, folks.