Vikes Honor Eller

At a time when Minnesotans are being asked how much they care about the Vikings, the team took a moment to honor one of the greats of Viking lore Wednesday.

For years, Carl Eller wondered if he would ever be in the NFL Hall of Fame. After producing numbers and memories equal or surpassing many of his peers from the 1960s and 1970s, Eller took a chance to reflect Wednesday at Winter Park -- as the Vikings honored Eller and his Hall of Fame induction.

In front of a throng of local media and teammates including Alan Page, Jim Marshall, Gary Larsen and Bob Lurtsema (the Purple People Eaters' Fifth Beatle), Eller gave thanks for an honor many felt was overdue, but, like a fine wine, perhaps even better with age.

Eller, who dominated the game from his defensive end post, would very likely have been in the Hall of Fame years ago if not for never winning a Super Bowl title. Paul Krause and Ron Yary also took too long for their recognition. Marshall and Mick Tingelhoff have yet to taste it. A shame? Yes. An ongoing problem? Yes.

For his part, Eller was proud, yet humbled by the experience. In the end, he felt like he got what was coming to him...even if a bit late.

"I think I earned my right to be in the Hall of Fame," Eller said. "And you earn it on the field."

For those who played with Eller -- or just watched him from the stands or on TV -- he did earn his right to the Hall of Fame on the field. And then some.

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