The NFL lists and rankings keep whetting the football appetite in a dry offseason.
After NFL Network named Vikings running back Adrian Peterson the No. 3 overall player for the upcoming NFL season, FOXSports.com is getting more localized.
The web site is asking fans to select the greatest player in the team's history. For the Vikings, the options include defensive tackle Alan Page, defensive end Carl Eller, quarterback Fran Tarkenton, wide receiver Cris Carter and defensive tackle John Randle. As of Friday afternoon, when the poll was quickly approaching 5,000 votes, Fran Tarkenton was the leader with almost half the votes.
The leader isn't too surprising, given that most fans associate a team closely with its quarterback and Tarkenton was the first player mainly associated with the Vikings to be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Here is the summary on each of the Vikings' candidates:
Fran Tarkenton (48 percent of the votes)
Tarkenton was the first quarterback the Vikings drafted, in their inaugural year of 1961, although he didn't begin the season as the starter. It didn't take him long to claim the starting job – coming off the bench to throw four touchdowns in the first game – and quickly earn his stripes as "Scramblin' Fran." He was the quarterback for three of the Vikings' four Super Bowl appearances and was the league's MVP in 1975. By the time he retired, he owned most of the significant career quarterbacking records, many of which have since been eclipsed.
Featured fan comment: "This was really hard because I have enormous respect for Alan Page. But Tarkenton made a good team great. He is the greatest Viking (until someone leads us to a Super Bowl win).
Alan Page (28 percent)
But for this writer's money, it's the man currently at No. 2 in the voting that should be No. 1, but because he wasn't a quarterback, running back or wide receiver, Page is likely getting shorted his due. Page was actually the third of three first-round draft choices in 1967 and was the first of only two defensive players to be named the league's MVP (Lawrence Taylor was the other). Simply put, Page was as dominant as defensive linemen come, as witnessed by his nine straight Pro Bowls and six first-team All-Pro selections.
Featured fan comment: "No one else who has played for the Vikings has had a greater influence on the game while playing. The opposing teams spent half of their time game-planning on how to stop Alan Page from destroying their quarterback."
Cris Carter (13 percent)
Carter is waiting for his Hall of Fame induction, but his day will likely come. The player the Vikings acquired for a $100 waiver claim in 1990 after Eagles coach Buddy Ryan famously said, "All he does is catch touchdowns" did catch touchdowns and a lot more for the Vikings. Carter had eight straight Pro Bowls and eight straight seasons with at least 80 catches and 1,000 yards. Despite the shorter run of Randy Moss as a Viking (the fact he's not on the list has some fans irked), Carter still holds franchise marks for receptions (1,004), touchdowns (110) and yards (12,383).
Featured fan comment: "Had the best hands in the game."
John Randle (7 percent)
The featured fan comment below might be a little strong (see: Page, Alan before even giving Randle the title of best defensive tackle on the team), but there is little doubt Randle dominated once the Vikings recognized what they had in their undrafted rookie from 1990. His non-stop motor and incredibly quick spin move allowed him to compile 10 or more sacks eight straight years, and he was named to the Pro Bowl six straight seasons (1993-98). The 2010 Hall of Fame inductee is sixth on the NFL's all-time sacks list with 137.5.
Featured fan comment: "Undrafted free agent to Hall of Famer – the best DT in NFL history."
Carl Eller (4 percent)
The man teammates called "Moose" was a bull of a defensive end. He made it to six Pro Bowls and was selected to five first-team All-Pro honors. As with Page and Tarkenton, Eller represents the early years of the Vikings in the Hall of Fame after a 16-year career that included one season of being named the league's defensive MVP.
Featured fan comment: "I remember Eller controlling games. BUT if Randy Moss played back then, Vikes would have won a couple SB easy!"
To enter your vote or comment on the FOX poll, click here.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
FOX asking fans for Vikings' franchise player
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