When most fans of the Minnesota Vikings think of the number 44, there’s really only one player that they think of. (Unfortunately, we didn’t have access to a picture of him, so he’s not shown above or anything.)
With the 12th overall pick in the 1973 NFL Draft, the Vikings selected running back Chuck Foreman. Foreman immediately came in and made a big impact, winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 1973, and just continued to climb from there. He was a four-time All-Pro, garnering that honor every year from 1974 to 1977. He also rushed for over 1,000 yards in three straight years from 1975 to 1977. In 1975, he found the end zone 22 times (13 rushing touchdowns, 9 receiving touchdowns) and had both a receiving and rushing touchdown in five different games. He also led the National Football League in receptions that year with 73 catches.
Foreman is still third in Vikings’ history in rushing yardage, behind only Adrian Peterson and Robert Smith. His 52 rushing touchdowns are second only to Peterson in that category, and he also added 23 receiving touchdowns in his career. His career with the Vikings came to an end in 1979, and he went on to play one season for the New England Patriots before hanging it up. Foreman is also a member of the Vikings’ Ring of Honor and was one of the 50 Greatest Vikings of All Time.
A few honorable mentions for this one:
- Defensive back John Harris came to the Vikings at the tail end of his career after a very good career with the Seattle Seahawks. He intercepted three passes in each of his three seasons for the Vikings before retiring after the 1988 season.
- Have to give an honorable mention to Leroy Hoard, if for no other reason than him giving us one of our favorite Vikings quotes. “If you need one yard, I’ll get you three. . .if you need five yards, I’ll get you three” is still gold. Scoring 27 touchdowns in 3+ years in purple is nice, too.
- We gave Matt Asiata a lot of flak over the few years he was here, primarily because he wasn’t all that suited to be a #1 back. But he did manage to find the end zone 19 times in his Vikings career, so it wasn’t all bad or anything.
But this number pretty clearly belongs to Chuck Foreman, the master of the spin move and one of the best backs ever to wear the purple.
Vikings that have worn the number 44:
- Billy Gault (1961)
- George Rose (1964 - 1966)
- Leo Hayden (1971)
- Chuck Foreman (1973 - 1979)
- Walt Williams (1981 - 1982)
- Dave Casper (1983)
- John Harris (1986 - 1988)
- Michael Brim (1989 - 1990)
- Leroy Hoard (1996 - 1999)
- Matt Snider (2001)
- James Wofford (2002)
- Sean Berton (2004)
- Thomas Tapeh (2008)
- Ryan D’Imperio (2011)
- Matt Asiata (2013 - 2016)
We’ll move on to the number 43 tomorrow, everybody.