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Fred Zamberletti to be honored by Pro Football Hall of Fame this week

A well-deserved honor for the late trainer

Robert Smith talks with long time trainer Fred Zamberletti during Wednesday morning’s opening session of Vikings Training Camp. Smith spent most of his day with Zamberletti working of his injured leg.(Photo by RITA REED/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

There are few names more synonymous with Minnesota Vikings’ football than Fred Zamberletti. The first man to serve as the athletic trainer for the franchise, he joined the team in their first season in 1961 and served as the head athletic trainer until 1998. Following that, he was the team’s coordinator of medical services until 2002 and was a senior consultant and the team historian until his passing in 2018.

Fred Zamberletti was, literally, a part of every game in franchise history until he missed a game against Washington back in 2011, a streak of 1,079 games. That was the game where Adrian Peterson tore his ACL, if you’re scoring at home.

Athletic trainers are not always the first people recognized by the league or anyone else, but the Pro Football Hall of Fame is going to change that this week for Zamberletti and a number of others.

Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is reporting that Zamberletti will be one of 20 individuals to receive “Awards of Excellence” from the Hall of Fame this week, a program that was launched to recognize those that have made significant contributions to the game. There will be a reception in Canton on Wednesday night, with the awards ceremony to be held the next day.

According to Craig’s article, Zamberletti will be one of five athletic trainers that will receive this recognition. The award will also go to five assistant coaches, five equipment managers, and five public relations staff members. . .some of the other unsung members of NFL franchises.

Fred Zamberletti is a huge figure in the history of the Minnesota Vikings for a number of reasons, and it’s awesome to see that he’s going to be given such a recognition, even though he is no longer with us. Kudos to the Pro Football Hall of Fame for making Fred Zamberletti a part of this new category of recognition.