The end of the 30s in our Minnesota Vikings By The Numbers series highlights yet another of the many great running backs the Vikings have produced. This time, we’re going back to the early days of the team to talk about one of the greats in Minnesota history.
Bill Brown didn’t start his NFL career with Minnesota. When the Vikings played their first game in 1961, the rookie Brown was actually on the opposing sideline as a member of the Chicago Bears. He came to Minnesota before the 1962 season, and would be a part of the team for 13 seasons. He was named to four Pro Bowls in five years (1964, 1965, 1967, and 1968). In the year that he didn’t make the Pro Bowl, he led the NFL in rushing attempts with 251. He was no slouch as a receiver, either, as he snagged 284 receptions for 3,177 yards and 23 more touchdowns in his time in purple.
By the time he retired following the 1974 season, Brown held every meaningful rushing record in team history. His 5,757 rushing yards with the Vikings still places him fourth in team history behind Adrian Peterson, Robert Smith, and Chuck Foreman. He also scored 52 rushing touchdowns, which was a team record that was eventually tied by Foreman and surpassed by Peterson. He was named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings of All Time, and was made a part of the team’s Ring of Honor in 2004. He’s easily the best player in team history to ever make the #30 his own.
There are a couple of Honorable Mentions that we should acknowledge here. The first is cornerback Issiac Holt, who burst onto the scene with eight interceptions in 1986, his second year in the league. He was a solid corner for the team, but was eventually part of that trade with the Dallas Cowboys.
Running back Mewelde Moore was a decent player for his four years in Minnesota as well. He was primarily a change-of-pace option at running back, and also had some impact in the return game, too. In fact, he’s one of only five Vikings with multiple kick and/or punt returns for touchdowns in his career (with Marcus Sherels, Percy Harvin, Cordarrelle Patterson, and David Palmer being the others).
But this number belongs to Bill Brown, and that will bring us to the end of the 30s in our series. We’ll get the 20s underway tomorrow!
Vikings that have worn the number 30:
- Bill Brown (1962 - 1974)
- Issiac Holt (1985 - 1989)
- Cedric Smith (1990)
- Keith Henderson (1992)
- Bobby Phillips (1995)
- Antonio Banks (1998 - 2000)
- Travis Prentice (2001)
- Mewelde Moore (2004 - 2007)
- Mistral Raymond (2011)
- Terence Newman (2015)
- C.J. Ham (2016 - present)