When it comes to the number 22 for the Minnesota Vikings, we all know that the man that’s currently wearing it is pretty damn good. In fact, Harrison Smith might be the best safety in the National Football League today. In team history, however, he still has some work to do before he catches the top guy.
Being in the Hall of Fame will give a guy that sort of qualification.
Paul Krause did not start his career with the Minnesota Vikings. He was selected in the second round of the 1964 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. Despite having a great run with Washington, including a rookie season that saw him intercept 12 passes, he was traded to the Vikings for linebacker Marlin McKeever and a seventh-round pick before the start of the 1968 NFL season.
Krause spent 12 seasons with the Vikings, and missed only four games during that stretch. He is the Vikings’ all-time interception leader with 53 picks, a good portion of what makes him the NFL’s all-time interception leader with 81. He broke the NFL record for interceptions as a member of the Vikings in 1979. He started in all four of the Vikings’ Super Bowl appearances, collecting an interception in Super Bowl IV and a fumble recovery in Super Bowl IX.
Krause was named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings of All Time, and is a member of the Vikings’ Ring of Honor, having been one of the six Vikings to be placed there in its first year of existence in 1998. 1998 is also the year that Krause was enshrined in Canton as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Outside of Harrison Smith, the only other prominent number 22 for the Vikings was return specialist David Palmer, who played for the team from 1994 to 2000. Palmer is one of the great return men in team history, and is one of just a handful of players with multiple kick and/or punt returns for touchdowns in team history.
Vikings that have worn the number 22:
- Dick Pesonen (1961)
- Bill Butler (1962 - 1964)
- Jeff Jordan (1965 - 1967)
- Paul Krause (1968 - 1979)
- Jarvis Redwine (1981 - 1983)
- Steve Freeman (1987)
- Ken Johnson (1989 - 1990)
- David Palmer (1994 - 2000)
- Tyrone Carter (2001 - 2002)
- Ken Irvin (2003 - 2005)
- Artose Pinner (2006)
- Benny Sapp (2008 - 2011)
- Harrison Smith (2012 - present)
We’ll reach the number 21 tomorrow, which means we’re officially just three weeks away from the start of the 2017 NFL regular season!