Over the 50-plus seasons of Viking football, we’ve witnessed some fantastic performances from players who are truly gifted in athletic ability. But which player had that perfect blend of speed, strength, balance and determination to make them the most versatile ever? Our Fan Forum answers covered a wide spectrum.
Fan Forum Question: Which Vikings player had the perfect blend of skills?
“I think you’d have to say Adrian Peterson. Ever since he’s come to our team, he’s changed the whole level of excitement. You can always count on him. He can break a play at any moment. He’s a hard worker and has become the face of the franchise. With his touchdowns and his running capabilities that allow him to break a long one at any point, it’s certainly changed the way defenses play us. He’s become a real impact player.”
– Mark Schelling, Grand Forks, N.D.
“Randy Moss. I always liked him. He was one of the best. Whether he was running the ball or taking off after the catch, you always knew something was going to happen when he had the ball in his hands.”
– Tony Oye, Savage, Minn.
“Definitely Fran Tarkenton. He took us THERE at least three times. He made the Vikings go back then and we haven’t been back to the Super Bowl since.”
– Brock Bermel, Chaska, Minn
“That’s an interesting question. I liked David Palmer in that spot as being pretty versatile. He could line up under center or in the backfield. He played wide receiver. He played quarterback in college. On that 1998 team, he was a pretty versatile player. You could put him in a lot of different places offensively. Percy Harvin could do a lot of stuff too so maybe they’re 1A and 1B.”
– Trent Bernstein, Anoka, Minn.
“I’d have to give the nod to Percy Harvin. They used him as a running back, a slot receiver, he could get downfield. I just think he did so much for the team. When Adrian Peterson was injured few years ago, his versatility in the offensive game helped out a great deal.”
– Pete Youngberg, Minneapolis
“This might seem a little weird because he was a defensive player but I’m going to say Matt Blair. He was really effective at stopping both the run and the pass because of his size and athleticism. But where that combination was really lethal was in special teams and his ability to blocked kicks – and when I say kicks, I mean all of them – punts, field goals, and extra points. I still think he holds the Viking team record for blocked kicks. He was a really talented player.”
– Marcus Dodd, Cedar Falls, Iowa
“Probably Percy Harvin. He did it all with the ball – special teams, running back, and as a receiver, he just made things happen.”
– Pat Harrington, Carroll, Iowa
“I always thought Anthony Carter was an extremely versatile player. His receiving ability was top notch, but I always thought they should have used him more on reverses. He always came up with big yardage on those plays. We could have also used him more in the return game. Carter literally beat New Orleans and San Francisco in back-to-back playoff games back in the late ’80s.”
– David Anderson, New Hope, Minn.
“Jim Kleinsasser. He wasn’t the best Viking but he came in as a fullback and then they moved him to a tight end. Of course, you have to mention Percy Harvin. He caught the long ball and he was a force with the returns. Darrin Nelson was also used in a lot of different spots.”
– Steven Sanchez, New Brighton, Minn.
“In my day and age, I’d have to say David Palmer. He kind of reminded me of a Darren Sproles-type of a player when Palmer played. That kind of a small, sort of multi-purpose special teams gadget player is what’s in vogue right now and Palmer was one of the first to do it back in his time.”
– Paul Sisk, Eagan, Minn.
“I’d go with Percy Harvin. You could put him in in all different situations. I know we even had him at a running back for a few games at one time. You could put him pretty much everywhere and that was with an offensive line that was crumbling. It didn’t matter which quarterback we had in there, they were running for their life. You could put him in the slot, as a deep wideout, you could put him in at the running back. He was great in the under-routes, could run with the ball, and he was always a threat in the return game.”
– Adam Lundstrom, Aberdeen, S.D.
“I definitely think Percy Harvin. He played his heart out each and every game. He went through so many injuries, yet he kept on playing at a high level no matter where they asked him to line up.”
– Daniel Hall, Austin, Minn.
“Jim Kleinsasser was my favorite Viking for a long time because he was your versatile working man. He was a great fullback, a tremendous blocking back, and he could catch the ball and run with it if he had to.”
– Ed Donnelly, Rockford, Ill.
“It’s got to be Percy Harvin. He took handoffs, he played the slot and the wideout, plus all he did returning kicks. I mean, I’m a huge Randy Moss fan and he did some punt and kick returns in the day. But when you start taking handoffs as a running back, playing the slot and going into motion, returning both punts and kicks, he’s got to be the right answer.”
– Kyle Bradt, Chatfield, Minn.
“Fran Tarkenton was obviously a versatile player. Adrian Peterson has done some amazing things. It’s got to be one of those two players for me.”
– Darren Severson, Las Vegas, Nev.
“My favorite player was Fran Tarkenton so that’s a bias answer. That’s the first guy that comes to mind so he’s my pick. He was so entertaining. He could scramble and he could do it all. He didn’t have the greatest arm but he still could find targets.”
– Jeff Kellogg, Sioux Falls, S.D.
“The most versatile player would have to come down to Darrin Nelson, Rickey Young or Percy Harvin. Rickey Young led the NFL in pass receptions one year. Darrin Nelson was undersized and we gave up getting Marcus Allen for him, but I loved that old Statue of Liberty play with Tommy Kramer. You never knew what was going to happen when Nelson was on the field.”
– Chad Devorak, Overland Park, Kan
“I’m going to go back to the first years when training camp was in Bemidji and I’ll say Tommy Mason from Tulane. Of course, Darrin Nelson was always a threat running with the ball and catching the ball out of the backfield.”
– Marty Tester, Waconia, Minn.
“I’ll go with Fran Tarkenton. He was a tremendous player, and beyond that he was a great leader. The team believed in him and you could see that in every game.”
– Connie Bergquist, St. Paul, Minn.
“My answer might be a little bit different, but I’m going to say Mick Tingelhoff. He was extremely versatile. He always played even when he was injured, and he played for a lot of seasons.”
– Evan Holst, Dexter, Minn.
“Growing up, I loved to watch Chuck Foreman. He was so elusive whether running out of the backfield or gaining extra yards after the catch on some of the little dump passes he’d get from Fran Tarkenton. There were many years that he either led the Vikings in both rushing and receiving or was second in one of those categories. He was a perfect double threat.”
– Trent Solomon, Iowa City, Iowa
“I’d go with Chris Doleman. He had the ability to play both defensive end and linebacker and he played them well.”
– Michael Miller, Mankato, Minn.
“Scott Studwell or Chris Walsh. Studwell was a middle linebacker, which is a meat and potatoes position. You’re constantly hitting hard all game and he played for many years at a high level without missing anytime because of injuries. Chris Walsh was good as a receiver, better at special teams and he played with a broken jaw. How much more versatile than that can you get?”
– Jeff Hoffman, Duluth, Minn.