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Who’s on Minnesota’s Mount Rushmore?

Minnesota's Mount Rushmore

Looking towards a new season, it is always fun to try and predict who will dominate and who may be struggle. Each season offers a new opportunity to make history and further solidify one’s legacy and with enough under a belt, players and coaches may go down as all-time greats in Vikings history. The idea of a “Mount Rushmore” of a franchise has long been a topic of conversation in sports and looking back through time, there are many who could claim a spot on the famous landmark, but who would be on Minnesota’s Mount Rushmore if we hashed it out? Let’s find out picking the four most Viking Vikings of all-time!

Head Coach Bud Grant
  • No list of Minnesota’s Mount Rushmore is correct (unless it’s only players) without the legend Bud Grant. Serving as Minnesota’s greatest head coach all time, Grant holds almost every record you’d hope for in a head coach. Most games coached, most games won, highest winning percentage (minimum 30 games), most division titles, most conference titles, most NFL Championships, and he’s the only head coach to win NFL Coach of the Year. Grant was so great, that his total wins is almost greater than the Dennis Green’s total games coached. Truly, Bud Grant has been Minnesota’s best coach all-time and his dominance over the span of 18 seasons and his legacy he left off the field makes him the first head to go up onto this all-time top four.
QB Fran Tarkenton
  • As statistically Minnesota’s best all-time quarterback, of course Tarkenton is on this list. He helped lead Minnesota to three of their four Super Bowl appearances and holds almost every major passing record in franchise history. On top of this, Tarkenton holds a league MVP on top of numerous other accolades and is one of just six players to have his number retired by Minnesota. He was great and his play on the field speaks for itself, however he also was part of two of Minnesota’s greatest trades ever. First, sending him to New York to acquire the #1 overall pick in 1968 and secondly, bringing him back for the stretch of greatness that Minnesota had in the 70s. 
DT Alan Page
  • Maybe a surprise to newer Vikings fans, but any diehard knows Alan Page and the dominance he instilled on the Vikings defensive front and the gridiron. Drafted in 1967, Page was a member of the famous Purple People Eaters and helped anchor the Vikings defense in all four franchise Super Bowl appearances (also being one of 11 players to be on all four Lombardi campaigns). Page was a force and his play alone could met him a spot on Minnesota’s Mount Rushmore. However, Page holds a title that only two players across the length of the league can claim: NFL MVP earned by a defensive player. Yes, Page was the first defensive player ever to win the MVP and that feat would only be accomplished once more by the legendary Lawrence Taylor in ‘86 (though I’d make the case JJ Watt should have won in 2014…). A 9x Pro Bowler, 6x First team All-Pro, 2x Defensive Player of the Year on top of a host of other accolades (and a share of the most safeties in a season by a single player) and Page has firmly established himself on this list as on of Minnesota’s four best all-time.
WR Cris Carter
  • One more spot left and deciding between Randy Moss and Adrian Peterson (and slightly Mick Tingelhoff), so who do you pick? Neither, instead going with Cris Carter. Both Peterson and Moss in their own rights were dominant and vital parts of the franchise, but Carter was iconic for a reason. As one of just 22 players in Minnesota’s Ring of Honor and one of just six players to have their number retired by Minnesota, Carter embodied what it was to be a Minnesota Viking. After overcoming adversity and his own personal demons, Carter became one of the most dominant receivers to play the game and during his era, he was a superstar. Leading the league in receiving touchdowns three times and in receptions once, Carter play on the field was rewarded with three All-Pro selections and eight straight Pro Bowls as well as a Hall-of-Fame enshrinement. Throw in a Walter Payton Man of the Year award and his role in helping develop Randy Moss and Carter snags the final spot on Minnesota’s Mount Rushmore. 

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