No matter who you are or what you do for a living, there are few things better than knowing you have teammates that you can rely on. Over the course of their history, the Minnesota Vikings have had many, many outstanding duos that have called each other teammates, and even an amazing quartet.
In this piece, we will be taking a look back at some of the greatest teammates in the history of the purple.
The Purple People Eaters (1967 - 1978)
When the Minnesota Vikings drafted the great Alan Page in 1967, it marked the final piece of the group that came to define the team during the late 1960s and much of the 1970s. Eller joined a defensive line that boasted defensive ends Jim Marshall and Carl Eller, along with defensive tackle Gary Larsen. Together, they became known as the Purple People Eaters, and they would terrorize opposing offenses for over a decade.
During that 12-season stretch, the Purple People Eaters were instrumental in the Vikings reaching four Super Bowls. Page was such a big part of the group that in 1971 he became the first defensive player in NFL history to be named the league’s Most Valuable Player, and to this day remains just one of two defensive players to win that award. He went into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988, and was joined by Eller in 2006.
Jim Marshall, who spent his entire career with the Vikings and is the only player in team history to wear No. 70, once held the record for most consecutive starts with 270. Larsen, who was always very underrated, was replaced by Doug Sutherland in 1975. The quartet stayed together until 1978, and to this day their moniker is synonymous with the success of the Vikings teams of the Bud Grant era.
Cris Carter and Randy Moss (1998 - 2001)
The Vikings didn’t need to draft a wide receiver in 1998. After all, they had the tandem of Cris Carter and Jake Reed, who had just become the first pair of receivers in NFL history to put up four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons each. But, when Moss fell into Dennis Green’s lap in the 1998 NFL Draft, he was too good to pass up. Moss had some troubles off the field during his college days, but pairing him with Carter allowed the Vikings to put together one of the greatest offenses in NFL history.
Moss won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1998, a season that saw him catch 17 touchdown passes to rack up over 1,300 receiving yards. Not to be outdone, Carter caught 12 scores of his own, helping the Vikings’ offense to what was, at the time, the highest-scoring offense in the history of the National Football League. They wound up playing just four seasons together before Carter moved on. However, much like Page and Eller, they were reunited in Canton, with Carter reaching the Hall of Fame in 2013 (after being passed over a ridiculous five times), while Moss went in as a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2018.
Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor (2007 - 2010)
The Vikings also didn’t need to draft a running back in 2007. (Yes, there’s a mini-theme.) They had Taylor, who rushed for over 1,200 yards as the lone bright spot in a dismal Vikings’ offense in 2006, and had several needs when they selected Peterson with the No. 7 pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. However, for an offense that needed weapons, Peterson was too good to pass up, and together the pair formed a formidable 1-2 punch in the Vikings’ backfield.
Peterson had one of the great rookie seasons in Vikings’ history en route to being named the 2007 Offensive Rookie of the Year. Included in that was the game against the San Diego Chargers that saw him set the single-game rushing record with 296. While he was not known as much of a pass catcher early in his career, Taylor more than made up for that as a third down and change of pace back who was more than capable of filling in for Peterson when he was injured. Peterson is destined for Canton one day, and while Taylor might not get there, he was still a valuable teammate for Peterson early in his career.
Pat and Kevin Williams (2005 - 2010)
Every good defense starts up front, and no duo since the end of the Purple People Eater era made that more clear than Pat and Kevin Williams. Together, the “Williams Wall” proved to be impenetrable for opposing offenses, particularly against the run, where the pair established the Vikings as the No. 1 rushing defense in the NFL for three consecutive years.
Kevin Williams, who the Vikings got with their “missed pick” in 2003, quickly established himself as one of the NFL’s premier defensive tackles early in his career. When Pat Williams left the Buffalo Bills and signed with the Vikings as a free agent in 2005, the pair solidified the middle of the Minnesota defense, allowing the rest of their teammates the ability to get after ball carriers. The Vikings have had some good individual players at defensive tackle since the Williams Wall was broken up, but a tandem like that is definitely difficult to replace.