Tingelhoff proving again that perseverance is a strength
You can almost hear the conversations in the crowd at Canton before Saturday's Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies. "I see the Vikings have a guy getting inducted, what's his name again?" "Tingelhoff." "Tingelwho?" "No, Tingelhoff." Mick Tingelhoff...
You can almost hear the conversations in the crowd at Canton before Saturday's Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies.
"I see the Vikings have a guy getting inducted, what's his name again?"
Mick Tingelhoff played so long ago that a lot of present day fans can be excused for not knowing who he was. He was well known to middle linebackers like Dick Butkus and Ray Nitschke, but as a member of the offensive line he did not get the same amount of attention as those defensive stars, both of whom were inducted into the Hall decades ago. Still, whenever you looked for Minnesota's starting lineup in the 60s and 70s there was Tingelhoff's funny name.
He played 240 consecutive games for the Vikings over 17 seasons. He was not a behemoth like today's offensive linemen must be, but he was big man at 6-2, 237 pounds and he enjoyed a great career. He was named to the Pro Bowl squad six years in a row and was one of 11 Minnesota players to appear in all four Super Bowls.
Tingelhoff played college football for the University of Nebraska but he was not drafted. He joined the Vikings as a free agent in 1962 after the fledgling team called him up and asked him to try out.
Tingelhoff will join fellow Viking linemen Ron Yary and Randall McDaniel as a Hall of Famer. Tingelhoff was an established leader when Yary was drafted as a tackle in the first round by the Vikings in 1968. He never played with McDaniel, another first-rounder, who was drafted as a guard in 1988, a decade after Tingelhoff retired.
The story on Tingelhoff is that he never missed a practice or a game until 1978 when a leg infection sidelined the 38-year-old.
It is good to see the National Football League finally get it right. Now that they have an iron man like Tingelhoff going into the Hall of Fame perhaps other players who showed up, suited up and played good football for so long, guys like former Viking defensive end Jim Marshall, will begin to get the recognition they are due.
Fans will finally get a chance to see Vikes on Sunday
It will be fun to catch a glimpse of the 2015 Minnesota Vikings this Sunday when they face Pittsburgh in the Hall of Fame matchup.
The last time the two teams met was at Wembley Stadium in London during the 2013 season. The Vikes did everything they could to give that game away but luckily they could not get the job done. They beat the Steelers 34-27 for their first victory of the season.
Pre-season games are really for the rookies and free agents trying to make the team. The old saying "you don't buy a horse until you ride it" is always going to apply in the NFL. You have to really ask yourself how insecure these NFL coaches are. The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl last February and yet their training camp is jammed this week with guys hoping to make the team. What do the Patriots have to fear? They might have to replace a retiring player or one that suddenly comes up lame but otherwise they have a lot of talent. This year they could probably skip camp altogether and just line up on Sept. 16 for their first regular season game
What weighty decisions do the Vikings have to ponder? They might keep around six or eight free agents or draftees. Trae Waynes, Eric Kendricks and Danielle Hunter made the team last spring. The Vikes drafted Waynes and Kendricks out of need and Hunter because they want a good understudy for Brian Robison. Kendricks is the only one of the three who is looking at a starting job right away.
With the return of Adrian Peterson, the Vikes will have one of their best backfields for quite a spell.
A lot of people think Peterson has lost a step but so what? He still figures to be the team star.
Of course what a lot of us want to know is how good will Teddy Bridgewater be?
Bridgewater came in to understudy Matt Cassel last year. Then a not-so-funny thing happened. Instead of carrying a clipboard around and playing a quarter or a half of the game from time to time, the Louisville standout was thrust into the starting lineup as a starter just three weeks into the regular season. Most people will say Bridgewater went on to do a decent job for a rookie. What he did not do was generate a lot of offense - which really should not come as a surprise to anyone.. The Vikes were 27th in yardage and 20th in points scored.
Zimmer is going to want his defense to carry most of the load again this fall but offensive production has to be an area where the Vikings improve - especially with the offensive weapons that Green Bay, Detroit and Chicago can field.