The Minnesota Vikings and their fans are ready to start a new area in the “Twin Cities.” They’re ready to christen a brand new $1.061 billion stadium to house a team coming off their first NFC North division title since 2009, and looking to take the next step.
While the Vikes are ready to make new history, their past is very decorated. Since their first professional season in 1961, Minnesota has won 1 NFL Championship (1969, pre NFL-AFL Merger), 4 Conference Championships, 19 Division titles, while making the playoffs 28 times. Several iconic, and colorful players, who laid the groundwork for the way the game is played today wore the Purple and Gold. The following four are the ones I have chosen as the face of the VIkings Mount Rushmore.
- No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
- Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
- Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.
Fran Tarkenton (1961-1966, 1972-1978) held every major NFL passing record when he retired, and was the first true mobile QB in League history. He is the Vikings career leader in wins (91), passing yards (33,098), passing touchdowns (239), completions (2,635), and attempts (4,569). The 1975 NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year led Minnesota to 3 NFC Championship titles (1973, 1974, 1976). Tarkenton, also known as the “Mad Scrambler”, was a 9-time Pro Bowl and 2-time All-Pro selection. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986, and the team retired his number 10 jersey. Tarkenton is a member of the Vikings Ring of Honor, 25th and 40th Anniversary Teams, as well as was named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings in 2010.
Cris Carter (1990-2001) got off to a rough start in his professional career off the field when he was with the Philadelphia Eagles, but in Minneapolis he found his way. Carter is Minnesota’s all-time leader in receptions (1,004), receiving yards (12,383), and receiving touchdowns (110). The 8-time All-Pro and 3-time 1st-team All-Pro is the second player in NFL history to catch more than 1,000 passes in a career. When he retired in 2002, after a stint with the Miami Dolphins, Carter was second to Jerry Rice in the major career receiving records, and still holds 13 NFL records. He was selected to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team, the Vikings 40th Anniversary Team and 50 Greatest Vikings. He was inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor in 2003 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
Adrian Peterson (2007-Present) is already the Vikings all-time leader in rushing yards (11,675), rushing touchdowns (97) and carries (2,381) in only 9 seasons, even though he missed all but one game in 2014 due to suspension. The 2012 NFL MVP and NFL Offensive Player of the Year rushed for the coveted 2,000 yard mark the same season, and fell 9-yards short of taking the mark for most yards in a single season in NFL history (2,097). All this was coming off a season where he suffered a torn ACL in the final game of the Vikings previous season. “AP” is a 7-time Pro Bowl, 7-time All-Pro selection, a member of the benchmark 10,000 rushing yards club, and is 17th on the all-time rushing list and climbing. 3-times he has led the League in rushing (2008, 2012, 2015). In 2010, he was selected as a member of the 50 Greatest Vikings list.
Bud Grant (1967-1983, 1985) coached the Vikings to their only NFL Championship in 1969, and he is the first coach in League history to lead a team to four Super Bowls (IV, VIII, IX, XI). Grant’s 158 regular season wins are the most by any coach with Minnesota, and the team won 11 division titles with him at the helm. When he retired, his 161 combined regular season and playoff wins made him the eight most successful coach in NFL history. The 1976 NFL Coach of the Year was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994, and is a member of the Vikings Ring of Honor, 25th Anniversary Team, and 50 Greatest Vikings list.
Viking’s fans I want to hear from you. Agree or Disagree with this Mount Rushmore? Let me know what you think.