The team spans the generations and includes Jared Allen, who has only played three years with the Vikings – a standout achievement considering the players who didn't make the team.
How does one define greatness? The Vikings didn't count down like Casey Kasem from No. 50 to No. 1. They were simply listed alphabetically. Given 50 years to decipher where greatness with the Vikings lie, the best way to do it is to divide the 49 players – Bud Grant was the coach named to the 50-man squad. A game-day roster has 48 players. How would these 49 fare? Let's look at the roster broken down by position.
Coach – Bud Grant.
Quarterbacks (3) – Daunte Culpepper, Tommy Kramer, Fran Tarkenton.
Running Backs (5) – Bill Brown, Chuck Foreman, Dave Osborn, Adrian Peterson, Robert Smith, .
Wide Receivers (7) – Anthony Carter, Cris Carter, John Gilliam, Randy Moss, Ahmad Rashad, Gene Washington, Sammy White.
Tight Ends (2) – Steve Jordan, Stu Voigt.
Offensive Linemen (9) – Grady Alderman, Matt Birk, Steve Hutchinson, Tim Irwin, Randall McDaniel, Mick Tingelhoff, Ed White, Ron Yary, Gary Zimmerman.
Defensive Linemen (11) – Jared Allen, Chris Doleman, Carl Eller, Gary Larsen, Jim Marshall, Keith Millard, Alan Page, John Randle, Doug Sutherland, Henry Thomas, Kevin Williams.
Linebackers (5) – Matt Blair, Wally Hilgenberg, Jeff Siemon, Scott Studwell, Roy Winston.
Defensive Backs (6) – Joey Browner, Bobby Bryant, Paul Krause, Carl Lee, Ed Sharockman, Antoine Winfield.
Kicker (1) – Fred Cox.
What seems clear is that, while all positions needed to field a team (except punter) are represented – surprisingly close to the numbers that would actually be kept on a 48-man roster, it has proved what many have said over the years. Minnesota appreciates the guys that get dirty in their jobs. They like the guys in the trenches. Of the 49 players, 20 of them toiled in the trenches. With 11 defensive linemen and nine offensive linemen, it would seem clear that the dominance of the Vikings historically is based on the players who worked on the lines. Considering the potentially brutal conditions that tonight's game will be played under, having as many tough guys in the middle of the action will be needed. It would seem that those are the players that, as a group, have captured the hearts and minds of Vikings fans.