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Minnesota Vikings By The Numbers: #65

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A couple of prominent offensive linemen highlight this number

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

We’re about a third of the way through our list of the greatest Minnesota Vikings to wear each available number, and today we arrive at the number 65. There are two main featured players for this one, a pair of offensive linemen that both had their careers with the team cut off earlier than expected for different reasons.

The first of the two, chronologically, is offensive tackle Gary Zimmerman. Zimmerman started his career with the Los Angeles Express of the USFL, and was selected by the New York Giants in the Supplemental Draft of former USFL players after the league folded, but was traded to Minnesota. Zimmerman played in 108 games for the Vikings, starting every single one at the left tackle position. He was dominant as a member of the purple, garnering four First-Team All-Pro selections as a Viking (as well as one Second-Team selection). He left Minnesota for Denver in 1993, and spent five seasons protecting John Elway’s blind side (winning a Super Bowl in the process) before retiring after the 1997 season. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the 1980s and 1990s All-Decade teams, and one of the 50 Greatest Vikings of All Time.

The other is center John Sullivan, who the Vikings selected out of Notre Dame in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Taking over the starting position before the 2009 season, Sullivan was the starter for the Vikings at center until 2014, missing only three games during that time. Sullivan injured his back during the 2015 preseason, an injury that would cause him to miss the entire season. The team released him during the 2016 preseason, and he went on to sign with the Washington Redskins. While Sullivan never got any awards or Pro Bowl nods, he was generally regarded as one of the National Football League’s best centers during his time in purple.

Honorable mention for this one goes to guard Jerry Huth, who came to the Vikings from the Philadelphia Eagles prior to the start of the team’s first season, and was the starter at left guard for 39 of the first 42 games in team history.

Vikings that have worn the number 65:

  • Jerry Huth (1961 - 1963)
  • Steve Lawson (1973 - 1975)
  • Neil Elshire (1981)
  • Charlie Johnson (1982 - 1984)
  • Gary Zimmerman (1986 - 1992)
  • Calvin Collins (2001)
  • Nat Dorsey (2004)
  • Jason Whittle (2006)
  • John Sullivan (2008 - 2015)

Poll

Who is the greatest Viking to wear the number 65?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    John Sullivan (2008 - 2016)
    (120 votes)
  • 86%
    Gary Zimmerman (1986 - 1992)
    (794 votes)
914 votes total Vote Now

We’ll move on to the number 64 tomorrow, folks. . .and, yeah, that one’s gonna be an easy one.