When only four people in the history of the Minnesota Vikings have ever worn a particular number (in a regular season game, anyway), it certainly narrows down the field. When one of those players is in the discussion of best non-Tarkenton quarterback this franchise has had, it makes it even easier.
With Tarkenton in the twilight of his career, the Vikings used a first-round pick on a quarterback for the first time in team history in the 1977 NFL Draft, selecting Tommy Kramer. After starting just one game in his first two NFL seasons, Kramer took over as the full-time starter in 1979 following Tarkenton’s retirement. During his 12 years in Minnesota, Kramer became one of the most prolific quarterbacks in franchise history.
“Two-Minute Tommy” engineered many comeback victories in his career, perhaps none more famous than the Miracle at the Met, where the Vikings marched 80 yards in two plays with just 14 seconds remaining against the Cleveland Browns, with Kramer finding Ahmad Rashad with time running out to give the Vikings a victory. Unfortunately, Kramer was plagued by injuries throughout his career. In the 11 years after he took over for Tarkenton at quarterback, he only started ten or more games in five of those seasons (although one of those seasons was shortened by a strike). One has to wonder exactly how much more prolific Kramer could have been had he been able to stay on the field.
As it is, Kramer is still second to Tarkenton in Vikings’ history in both passing yardage (24,779) and passing touchdowns (159). He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1986, a season that saw him lead the National Football League in quarterback rating and win the Comeback Player of the Year Award, as he led the NFL in interceptions the year before. He was the first person in franchise history to wear the number 9, and to this day is still the best.
We need to give a brief Honorable Mention to Jim McMahon, who did the “division rival quarterback joining the Vikings” thing before Brett Favre made it cool.
Vikings that have worn the number 9:
- Tommy Kramer (1977 - 1989)
- Jim McMahon (1993)
- Scott Sisson (1996)
- Brooks Bollinger (2006 - 2007)
That does it for the number 9, everybody. We continue our charge forward to the number 8 tomorrow!