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Minnesota Vikings By The Numbers: #16

There’s really only one choice to be had here

Rich Gannon

In the history of the Minnesota Vikings, only five players have worn the number 16. Of those five, there’s only one that made any sort of a real impact, even though he made his greatest impact a number of years after he left Minnesota.

In the 1987 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots selected a quarterback from the University of Delaware by the name of Rich Gannon. The Patriots wanted to make Gannon a running back, and he didn’t care much for that idea, so the Patriots wound up dealing him to the Vikings. Gannon initially served as Wade Wilson’s backup, and played sparingly for most of his early career in Minnesota. He didn’t get any starts until 1990, and wasn’t named the unquestioned starter at quarterback until 1992. In that 1992 season, the Vikings got off to an 8-3 start, after which Dennis Green proceeded to bench Gannon in favor of Sean Salisbury. (Dennis Green’s handling of quarterbacks was weird, to say the least.) The Vikings traded Gannon to the Washington Redskins before the start of the 1993 season, ending his time in purple.

After a stop in Kansas City, Gannon wound up with the Oakland Raiders, where a switch suddenly flipped and he became an NFL MVP at the ripe old age of 37. Gannon didn’t reach his full productivity until long after he left Minnesota, but he’s still the most consequential player in Vikings’ history to ever wear the number.

A couple of brief Honorable Mentions for this one:

  • Wide receiver Kelly Campbell had a nice run for the Vikings as an undrafted free agent. He had eight scoring catches and averaged over 18 yards per catch in his three seasons with the Vikings.
  • Matt Cassel served as the Vikings’ quarterback for a couple of seasons. His greatest accomplishment might have been fooling fans into thinking he was a competent signal caller based on their hatred for the other quarterbacks on the Minnesota roster at the time.

Vikings that have worn the number 16:

  • Norm Snead (1971)
  • Rich Gannon (1987 - 1992)
  • Kelly Campbell (2002 - 2004)
  • Emmanuel Arceneaux (2011)
  • Matt Cassel (2013 - 2014)

That pretty much does it for the number 16, folks. Tomorrow we reach the number 15, another one that really isn’t a great one in Vikings’ history.