We’re moving on to number 8 in our Minnesota Vikings By The Numbers series, and this is also a number that has not been worn by a lot of different players in team history. Only five players have ever worn the number for the purple, and the two that stand out the most both appear to be specialists.
The first player in team history to wear the number 8 was punter Greg Coleman, who wore it from 1978 to 1987. Coleman actually spent a season with the Cleveland Browns before coming to Minnesota, but then spent ten seasons punting the ball away for the purple. He punted the ball more times than any player in Vikings’ history, putting his toe to the football 720 times in ten seasons. He averaged 40.8 yards/punt in his time with the Vikings, which puts him in the top ten in that category as well, but Coleman’s game wasn’t so much about distance as it was about direction, and he might be the best directional punter in team history.
On the other side, we have kicker Ryan Longwell. Longwell joined the Vikings before the 2006 season, and was a member of the Vikings for six seasons. After those six seasons, Longwell found himself as the third-leading scorer in Minnesota history with 633 points (that’s 37 points behind Cris Carter and 19 points ahead of Adrian Peterson). Longwell hit plenty of big kicks in his career with the team, including a big 50-yarder against the New York Giants that won the NFC North for the Vikings in 2008. He also currently stands at the most accurate field goal kicker in team history among players that have kicked for the team for a significant length of time. He connected on 84.5% of his field goals. (Kai Forbath and Donald Igwebuike have higher percentages, but they’ve played in 7 and 8 games, respectively, for the Vikings.)
I debated adding Sam Bradford to the list, even though he’s only been on the team for one season. Even though he did have a pretty solid year in 2016, I’m not sure if it’s enough to justify his inclusion here when you compare it with the extended time that Coleman and Longwell spent in Minnesota. Whether he’s on or off, someone’s going to be unhappy, so I’m leaving him off.
Vikings that have worn the number 8:
- Greg Coleman (1978 - 1987)
- Todd Bouman (2001 - 2002)
- Aaron Elling (2003 - 2004)
- Ryan Longwell (2006 - 2011)
- Sam Bradford (2016 - present)
That does it for the number 8, folks. We reach the number 7 tomorrow, which means that we are just one week away from the start of the 2017 NFL regular season.
Who is the greatest Viking to wear the number 8?
This poll is closed
Greg Coleman (1978 - 1987)
Ryan Longwell (2006 - 2011)