While we already know that at least one former member of the Minnesota Vikings is going into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, three players with ties to the franchise are now on the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame.
Of the three players, the one with the strongest ties to the Vikings is linebacker E.J. Henderson. Drafted by the Vikings out of the University of Maryland in 2003, Henderson spent all nine of his seasons in the NFL in Minnesota. With the Terrapins, he was a two-time Consensus All-American, two-time All-ACC, and two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year (he accomplished those in the 2001 and 2002 seasons). Henderson was outstanding for the Vikings at linebacker as well, even coming back from a devastating injury in 2009 to continue his career. He still holds a position with the team today.
Another Vikings’ great that is on the ballot is guard Steve Hutchinson. Hutchinson didn’t start his career with the Vikings, as he came over from the Seattle Seahawks after the whole “poison pill” battle the two teams engaged in during the 2006 offseason. He played his college ball at the University of Michigan, and during his time there was a part of the 1997 team that won a National Championship, along with being named a Consensus All-American in 2000.
The third player with Vikings’ ties on this year’s ballot is wide receiver Bernard Berrian. During his college days at Fresno State, Berrian was named an All-American as a kick returner in 2001. While he might not have the same strength of ties to the Vikings that Henderson and Hutchinson do, he does have a permanent place in the team’s record books, as he’s a part of the longest play from scrimmage in team history.
That 99-yard reception from Gus Frerotte can only be tied, never broken. . .well, unless the NFL ever decides to adapt a CFL-length field. I don’t see that happening any time soon.
Best of luck to Bernard Berrian, E.J. Henderson, and Steve Hutchinson in their quests to become a part of the College Football Hall of Fame!