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Minnesota Vikings By The Numbers: #46

One of the least popular numbers to wear in team history

Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With as long as the Minnesota Vikings have been around, you would think that most of the numbers would have been worn by a lot of players over that stretch of time. Such is not the case with the number 46, which has only been worn by five players in franchise history. Still, there were a couple of solid players mixed in among that group.

The earliest Viking to wear the number 46 was cornerback Earsell Mackbee. Mackbee, who was an Air Force enlisted man before going to college, was an undrafted free agent and signed with the Vikings before the 1965 season. He played sparingly as a rookie, but then started all 56 of the Vikings’ games over the next four seasons. He was quite the ballhawk, as he collected 15 interceptions in those four seasons for the Vikings. He was injured in the Vikings’ loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl IV, and retired from the NFL after that season, having played just five years in the NFL. Mackbee was before my time as a fan, but it certainly seems like the injury derailed what was turning into a pretty promising career for him.

The number then stayed on the shelf until 1984, when it was taken by running back Alfred Anderson. A third-round pick of the Vikings in the 1984 NFL Draft, Anderson had a very strong rookie season for the very, very bad 1984 Vikings, rushing for 773 yards and being named to the NFL’s All-Rookie Team. However, he never really replicated that success, as he wouldn’t rush for more than 347 yards in any of his other seasons with the team. In his eight-year Vikings career, he ran for 2,374 yards and 22 touchdowns while adding another 1,042 yards and five touchdowns as a receiver.

Have to give a mention for this one to long-time long snapper Cullen Loeffler, who took over the role in 2004 and held onto it for eleven seasons, firing the ball back on kicks and punts in 171 of the Vikings’ 176 games during that time. I don’t remember a whole lot of bad snaps during Loeffler’s time with the team, and isn’t that pretty much the best thing you can say about a long snapper?

Vikings that have worn the number 46:

  • Earsell Mackbee (1965 - 1969)
  • Alfred Anderson (1984 - 1991)
  • Derek Tennell (1992 - 1993)
  • John Gerak (1994 - 1995)
  • Cullen Loeffler (2004 - 2014)

On to the number 45 tomorrow, folks, which means we’re about six and a half weeks away from the start of the 2017 NFL regular season as we count down the Vikings’ numerical history.


Who is the greatest Viking to wear the number 46?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Alfred Anderson (1984 - 1991)
    (128 votes)
  • 50%
    Cullen Loeffler (2004 - 2014)
    (356 votes)
  • 30%
    Earsell Mackbee (1965 - 1969)
    (215 votes)
699 votes total Vote Now