Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The best linebackers in Minnesota Vikings history

The best linebackers in Minnesota Vikings history


The Vikings have had some outstanding linebackers who played important roles in the team's dominant defenses through the years; here are the eleven best.

11) Mike Merriweather: Starting each of the 63 games he appeared in from 1989-92, Merriweather registered 10 sacks and intercepted 7 passes, returning two for touchdowns. He also recovered 7 fumbles, taking one back for a score. Remembered for blocking a punt in an overtime game against the Rams that bounced out of the end zone for a safety, winning the game for the Vikes.

10) Jack Del Rio: Selected to one Pro Bowl in four seasons, Del Rio started all 57 games he played in from 1992-95. He intercepted 10 passes, returning one for a touchdown; recorded 7.5 QB sacks; forced three fumbles, and recovered five.

9) Chad Greenway:
A two time Pro Bowl selection, Greenway played in 156 games, starting 144, in a ten year career with Minnesota from 2007-2016. He recorded 18 quarterback sacks, forced 8 fumbles and recovered 11, and intercepted 11 passes, returning two for touchdowns.

8) Lonnie Warwick: Warwick played in 92 games and started 75 from 1965-1972. The middle linebacker in a defense that dominated opponents, he intercepted 12 passes, recorded 7.5 sacks and recovered 6 fumbles in his eight year career with the Vikes.

7) Fred McNeil: Playing in 167 games and starting 122 at outside linebacker during his 12 years with the team from 1974-1985, McNeil recovered 16 fumbles, intercepted 7 passes, and recorded 13 quarterback sacks.

6) Ed McDaniel: The team leader in tackles for loss with 90.5, he ranks second among Viking linebackers with 20.5 sacks. McDaniel is also sixth on the team with 17 forced fumbles. He has 5 fumble recoveries, intercepted 4 passes and was named to the Pro Bowl once during his nine seasons and 125 games, 109 starts, from 1992-2001 with the Vikings.

5) Wally Hilgenberg: A tough outside linebacker on the Vikings' great defenses of the late 60's and throughout the 70's, Hilgenberg played in 158 games, starting 118, in 12 seasons from 1968-1979. He recovered 13 fumbles, recorded 8 sacks, picked off 8 passes and scored two touchdowns.

4) Roy Winston: In 15 seasons from 1962-1976 Winston played in 191 games, starting 158 at outside linebacker on dominant Viking defenses in the late '60's and early '70's. A playmaker, he had 16 sacks and 14 fumble recoveries, third and fourth among linebackers, and 12 interceptions, second among linebackers, and scored 3 touchdowns. He also is fifth all-time with 68 tackles-for-loss.

3) Scott Studwell: Fifth in team history with 201 games played, Studwell started 161 at middle linebacker and was selected to the Pro Bowl twice in his 14 year career from 1977-1990. He forced 12 fumbles, recovered 15, intercepted 11 passes, and had 9 QB sacks. He ranks ninth with 46 tackles-for-loss.

2) Jeff Siemon: A key player as the middle linebacker on the team's top defenses in the mid-1970's, Siemon played in 156 games, starting 123, and was selected to four Pro Bowls during his eleven year career with the Vikings from 1972-1982. He is ninth in team history with 14 forced fumbles; he recovered 11, had 6 QB sacks, and 11 interceptions.

1) Matt Blair: Selected to six Pro Bowls in his 12 seasons from 1974-1985, Blair played in 160 games, starting 130. He is first among Minnesota linebackers, and fourth and third in team history, with 19 forced fumbles and 20 fumble recoveries. He is also tenth on the team in tackles-for-loss with 44. His 23 sacks and 16 interceptions are first among Vikings linebackers. He also blocked 20 kicks in his career. Blair is the best linebacker in Minnesota's history.

The Best Defensive Ends in Minnesota Vikings history

The best defensive ends in Minnesota Vikings history

NFL defensive ends have varied responsibilities on the field; they have to contain runners with the ball to the inside - no one should get to their outside. They must be able to shed blockers to get to the ball and make tackles behind the line, as well as shut down screen passes. Most importantly they have to pressure quarterbacks on passing plays, either sacking them for a loss or hurrying them into throwing an incompletion or interception.

Some of the Vikings' defensive ends have been the best in NFL history. Here are the top ten:

 


10) Neil Elshire: From 1981-1986 Elshire appeared in 63 games, starting 27, and registered 19 QB sacks in six seasons, with a high of 9.5 in 1983.

9) Ray Edwards: In five seasons from 2006-2010 Edwards played in 72 games, starting 58, and recorded 29.5 sacks, with 8.5 coming in 2009.

8) Al Noga: Scoring two touchdowns on one interception and three fumble recoveries, Noga had 29.5 QB sacks in five years from 1988-1992, with 11.5 in 1989. He played in 73 games, starting 56.

7) Brian Robison: In eleven seasons from 2007-2017 Robison has played in 173 games, starting 103. He has registered 60 QB sacks, forced 13 fumbles, and recovered 8.

6) Everson Griffen: Named to three Pro Bowls in eight seasons from 2010-2017, Griffen has played in 121 games, starting 63. He has 61 sacks, forced 9 fumbles and recovered 6, returning one for a TD, and also intercepted one pass, running it in for a score.

5) Doug Martin: A former first round pick, Martin started and ended his career with the team on controversial notes, but was a pretty good player on the field in ten seasons from 1980-1989. He played in 126 games, starting 94, and recorded 60.5 sacks and 7 fumble recoveries.

4) Jared Allen:
Named to the Pro Bowl four times in his six years with the team from 2008-2013, Allen's 88.5 sacks place him sixth in team history. He also intercepted 4 passes, forced 16 fumbles, recovered 9, and registered 4 safeties while starting all 96 games he appeared in at right end.

3) Chris Doleman: A six time Pro Bowl selection, Doleman played in 154 games, starting 142, in 10 seasons with the Vikings from 1985-1993 and 1999. He leads the team with 33 forced fumbles, is fifth in sacks with 96.5, sixth in fumble recoveries with 16, and seventh in tackles-for-loss with 60. He also intercepted five passes, scored two touchdowns, and recorded two safeties.

2) Jim Marshall: Starting all 270 games in which he played as a Viking at right defensive end from 1961-1979, Marshall is second in team history with 127 QB sacks, first with 29 fumble recoveries, and fourth in tackle-for-loss with 74. A two time Pro Bowl selection, he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

1) Carl Eller: The team's all-time leader in QB sacks with 130, Eller was selected to six Pro Bowls. He ranks second in tackles-for-loss with 87, second in fumble recoveries with 23, and seventh in forced fumbles with 15. He also blocked 15 kicks. Eller played in 209 games, fourth in team history, and started 201 from 1964-1978. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2004, an honor that was long overdue. Eller is the best defensive end in Vikings' history as well as one of the NFL's all-time bests.

 


 




The best defensive tackles in Minnesota Vikings history

The best defensive tackles in Minnesota Vikings history

A defensive tackle in pro football may be called upon to fill several different roles, including holding the point of attack and stopping the run, or penetrating a certain gap between offensive linemen to break up a play in the opponent's backfield. A defensive tackle is an important pass rusher as well, since inside pressure may help to free the defensive ends or blitzing linebackers in their pass rush.

The Vikings have had a number of outstanding tackles during their seasons when they fielded dominant defenses. Here are the top ten at the position in franchise history:

10) Paul Dickson: In ten years with the Vikings from 1961-1970 Dickson played in 129 games, starting 81. He registered 29 QB sacks and recovered three fumbles.

9) Pat Williams: Named to three Pro Bowls in six years with Minnesota from 2005-2010, Williams started all 93 games he played in, forcing five fumbles, recovering four, with 7.5 sacks.

8) Linval Joseph: Starting all 60 games he has played in during four seasons, Joseph has recorded 11 sacks, forced four fumbles and recovered one, and has been named to one Pro Bowl.

7) Doug Sutherland: Sutherland played in 138 games during his 10 years with the Vikings, starting 90. He plugged the middle of the defensive line at left tackle during the mid 1970's when the team had highly rated defenses.

6) Keith Millard: Selected All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl twice, Millard was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1989 when he recorded 18 sacks. Millard was a key piece of the team's outstanding defenses in the late '80's, appearing in 75 games during his six years with the Vikes.

5) Henry Thomas: Selected to two Pro Bowls while appearing in 118 games and starting 117 in eight seasons, Thomas ranks sixth in tackles-for-loss with 62. He is eleventh with 56 sacks, forced 12 fumbles, and recovered 8, returning two for touchdowns. He also had two interceptions and notched a safety.

4) Kevin Williams:
A six time Pro Bowl selection, Williams started all 171 games he appeared in during 11 seasons with the Vikings. He ranks eighth with 60 QB sacks, knocked down 66 passes, forced 8 fumbles, and recovered 13, returning two for touchdowns. Williams also intercepted 5 passes, bring back two for scores.

3) Gary Larsen: A member of one of the best front fours in NFL history, Larsen was a crucial part of the team’s dominant defenses in the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s. He played in 135 games, starting 107, in 10 seasons for the Vikings. He recorded 37 sacks, recovered 10 fumbles, and was named to two Pro Bowls.

2) John Randle: A standout defensive tackle who played in 176 games and started 150, Randle was named to six Pro Bowls in his 11 seasons with the Vikings. He recovered 9 fumbles, ranks third in forced fumbles with 25, and is third in QB sacks with 114. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2010.

1) Alan Page: A defensive tackle who changed the game in the late 1960's and early 1970's, Page was named the NFL Most Valuable Player in 1971. Selected to the Pro Bowl nine times in his 12 years with the Vikings, he played in 160 games and started 157. He is fourth in team history with 108.5 sacks, fourth with 18 fumble recoveries, third with 77 tackles-for-loss, and second with 28 forced fumbles. Page was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1988.

Friday, January 12, 2018

The best offensive tackles in Minnesota Vikings history

The best offensive tackles in Minnesota Vikings history

The Vikings have had some pretty good blockers manning the offensive tackle position through the years. Here is a look at the top players in team history at the position:

5) Steve Riley - A first round pick in 1974, Riley started 121 games at left tackle during his 11 year career, protecting the blind side of quarterbacks Fran Tarkenton and Tommy Kramer.

4) Gary Zimmerman - Named to three Pro Bowls in his seven years with the Vikings Zimmerman held down left tackle for 108 consecutive games during the late '80's and early 90's.

3) Tim Irwin - During his 13 years with the team he played in 188 games, starting 181 at right tackle. Standing at 6-7, he also blocked a few extra points and field goals while on the special teams unit.

2) Grady Alderman - Holding down left tackle on offense for 13 years - 1961-1973 - Alderman played in 193 games, starting 174, and was selected to the Pro Bowl six times.

1) Ron Yary - Selected to the Pro Bowl seven times in his 14 years with the Vikings, Yary played in 199 games and started 180 at right offensive tackle. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.

The best Offensive Guards in Minnesota Vikings history

The best Offensive Guards in Minnesota Vikings history

Guards on NFL offensive lines are often overlooked but play key roles in a team's offense. They have to block quick defensive players trying to get to the quarterback on passing plays as well as move big defensive tackles out of the way on running plays. The Vikings have had some steady players at the position in franchise history.

10) Chris Liwienski: Played in 94 games and started 74 in seven seasons from 1998-2005.
9) Terry Tausch: In seven years from 1982-1988 played in 81 games, starting 68.

8) Jim Hough: Played in 111 games and started 75 from 1978-86. Bud Grant said Hough should have been selected to the Pro Bowl after the 1983 season.

7) Wes Hamilton: From 1976-84 Hamilton played in 116 games, starting 92. He blocked for QB's Fran Tarkenton and Tommy Kramer and led the way for RB's Chuck Foreman and Ted Brown.

6) Charles Goodrum: Playing in 95 games and starting 72 from 1973-79, Goodrum opened holes for Foreman and protected Tarkenton during the team's dominant seasons.

5) Steve Hutchinson: Named to four Pro Bowls during his six years with the team from 2006-11, Hutchinson started all 89 games that he played in during his tenure with the Vikings.

4) David Dixon: Dixon played in 152 games during eleven seasons for the Vikings. He started 134 of those games at right guard, clearing the way for runners such as Robert Smith, Leroy Hoard, and Michael Bennett.

3) Milt Sunde: A former 20th round pick, Sunde played in 147 games at left guard and right guard, starting 106, including the team's dominant season in 1969.

2) Ed White: Selected to three Pro Bowls in his eight years with the team, White played in 122 games and started 94 at guard during the team's dominant run in the early and mid-1970's.

1) Randall McDaniel: Selected to the Pro Bowl a record 12 times in his 12 years with the Vikings, he played in 190 games, starting 188 at left guard. McDaniel was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.

The best Centers in Minnesota Vikings history


The best Centers in Minnesota Vikings history

The importance of the Center in NFL offenses cannot be overlooked. They have to block quick defensive players trying to get to the quarterback on passing plays as well as move big defensive tackles out of the way on running plays. The Vikings have had some steady players at the position in franchise history.

5) Dennis Swilley: While skipping the 1984 season, Swilley was good enough to play in 139 and start 101 games at center during his ten years, 1977-1987, with the team.
4) Kirk Lowdermilk: Playing in 114 and starting 86 games in eight years from 1985-1992, Lowdermilk manned the position during some outstanding seasons for Vikings’ offenses.

3) Jeff Christy: A former practice squad player, Christy played in 101 started 92 games at center during seven seasons from 1993-1999, and was named to two Pro Bowls.

2) Matt Birk: In his ten year Viking career Birk played in 146 and started 123 games at the pivot from 1998-2008, earning six Pro Bowl nods while snapping the ball at center.

1) Mick Tingelhoff: A six time Pro Bowl selection, Tingelhoff started every Viking game at center from 1962 through 1977, 240 consecutive games in all. He anchored the Vikings offensive line during all of their championship seasons and was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 2015.

The best Tight Ends in Minnesota Vikings history


The best Tight Ends in Minnesota Vikings history

Because of the hybrid nature of the position, the tight end's role in any given offense depends on the tactical preferences and philosophy of the team's coaches. In some systems, the tight end will act as a sixth offensive lineman, rarely going out for passes. Other systems use the tight end primarily as a receiver, taking advantage of the tight end's size to create mismatches in the defensive secondary. The Vikings have had a number of tight ends who have contributed to their teams' success through the years; here are the seven best:

7) John Beasley: In his six years with the team from 1967-1973 Beasley played in 75 games, starting 48, and was the starting tight end on Minnesota’s 1969 championship team. He averaged 10.8 yards on 115 receptions, while scoring 12 touchdowns.

6) Joe Senser: A promising career cut short by a knee injury, Senser played in 49 games, starting 26, from 1980-1984, and was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 1981 season, when he caught 79 passes for 1,004 yards, a 12.7 average, and 8 touchdowns. His career totals are 165 receptions with an 11.0 average and 16 touchdowns.

5) Visanthe Shiancoe: In the five years from 2007-2011 Shiancoe played in 80 games, starting 66. He caught 208 passes for a 11.7 yard per reception average and 24 touchdowns.

4) Jim Kleinsasser: Doing the dirty work as a blocker at tight end, Kleinsasser played in 181 games, starting 130, during 13 seasons with the team. He caught 192 balls for 8.8 yards average and scored 6 touchdowns.

3) Kyle Rudolph: In seven years Rudolph has played in 96 games, starting 88, and was named to one Pro Bowl. He has caught 322 passes with a 9.8 yard average and 37 touchdowns.

2) Stu Voigt: Voigt was a steady tight end during his 11 years and 131 games, 80 starts, with the team. Contributing during the team's Super Bowl seasons in the mid-'70's, he caught 177 passes with a 10.8 average per catch and 17 touchdowns.

1) Steve Jordan: A six time Pro Bowl selection, Jordan was a consistent and durable tight end, appearing in 176 games and starting 149 in 13 seasons. He had 498 receptions, a 12.7 average yards per catch, and scored 28 touchdowns.