The Minnesota Vikings have a rich history filled with players and coaches that have changed the franchise forever.
When people think of Minnesota’s history, people’s minds go to certain people. There are many players like Carl Eller, Jim Marshall, Mick Tingelhoff, and Adrian Peterson who made big contributions, but they don’t quite make the list.
Let’s take a look at the five biggest legends in Vikings history.
5. Korey Stringer
Not many people might agree with putting Korey Stringer on the list, but he deserves a spot. Stringer was drafted 24th overall in the 1995 NFL Draft by the Vikings. He was a standout offensive lineman who was named to the Pro Bowl in his last season in the NFL.
On August 1st, 2001, Stringer passed away after suffering a heatstroke during a practice the day before. The heat index at the end of that practice was 99 degrees. Because of his death, the NFL created a heat illness prevention program. More teams also now practice in light color jerseys, and a team doctor is now at every practice.
His number 77 jersey was retired in November of 2001.
4. Alan Page
Alan Page was selected 15th overall by Minnesota Vikings in the 1967 NFL/AFL Draft. He was a member of the “Purple People Eaters” that was problem for opposing offensive lines.
Page played in a unique three-point stance placing his left hand on the ground rather than his right hand. He played in 218 consecutive games including 215 straight starts. Page also earned All-Pro honors six times and another three times he was named to the second team. In addition, he had 148.5 sacks and 22 fumbles during his career.
After retiring from the NFL, Page started a legal career, moving all the way up to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
3. Randy Moss
Some might argue that Randy Moss should be higher on this list, and maybe he would have been if he would have spent more of his career with the Vikings.
Moss was selected 21st overall by Minnesota after he slipped a bit because of character concerns. As a rookie, he burst onto the scene and although there were a few off the field dust-ups, he changed the Vikings franchise forever. His best season was in 2003 when he caught 111 passes for 1,632 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Moss has been named to the Vikings Ring of Honor and the Hall of Fame. The only honor that is missing now is to have his number 84 jersey retired forever.
2. Bud Grant
The Vikings’ first great coach and best coach in team history, Bud Grant, was in charge of the team from 1967-83 and for one more season in 1985.
Grant instilled some discipline in his players, something that helped the team finally have some success. During the 1969 season, Grant led the Vikings to the NFL Championship, and even though they lost in the Super Bowl, that is still one of the most successful seasons in team history.
After retiring from coaching he stayed around the team, and to this day, he still has an office in the Vikings’ facility.
1. Fran Tarkenton
The Vikings have had problems finding a franchise quarterback at times, but early in their history, they had that in Fran Tarkenton.
In 1961, Tarkenton was selected in the third round by the Vikings. His first stint with the team was from 1961-66, and there were some struggles during that time in turn of winning games. Tarkenton was traded to the New York Giants in 1967 where he was until 1972 when he was traded back to the Vikings.
Tarkenton’s second stint with the franchise was filled with a lot more success. He never led the Vikings to a Super Bowl, but he did win six playoff games.