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Who is the best defensive player in Minnesota Vikings history?

The obvious follow-up to yesterday’s question

Minnesota Vikings Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Given that we asked everyone yesterday for their opinions on who the greatest offensive player in the history of the Minnesota Vikings was, it seems right that we take a look at the other side of the football today.

Throughout the majority of their history, the Vikings have been known for their defense, largely because of the defenses the team put together in the earlier part of their history. Sure, they’ve had some high-flying offenses over the years, but for much of the Bud Grant era the defense was the team’s calling card. So, we want to know today who you think was the greatest defensive player in the history of the Minnesota Vikings.

There are plenty of choices to be had here for any number of eras throughout the team’s history. However, unlike yesterday when yours truly took a slightly unconventional name in Randall McDaniel, I’m going with a guy that I think might put me in the majority.

The following is a list of defensive players in National Football League history that have ever been named the league’s Most Valuable Player:

  • Alan Page
  • Lawrence Taylor

That’s it. . .that’s everybody.

Alan Page, who was part of a construction crew that literally built the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he was growing up in Canton, Ohio, was one of league’s most dominant defenders. A first-round pick of the Vikings in the 1967 NFL Draft, Page was a nine-time Pro Bowler, a five-time First-Team All-Pro, a two-time Second-Team All-Pro, and a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1971, 1973) to go along with his league MVP award from that 1971 season.

Page remains one of just two Vikings to ever be named NFL Defensive Player of the Year (the other being Keith Millard) and was inducted into the building that he helped build as part of the Class of 1988. I don’t even need to get into his off-field accomplishments, as impressive as they are, in order to declare him the greatest defensive player in Vikings history. He gets the nod entirely due to what he did on the field.

So that’s my opinion on the subject. Who do you folks think is the greatest defensive player the Minnesota Vikings have ever had?