Tingelhoff Humbled By Jersey Retirement

Former center Mick Tingelhoff said he was honored that the Vikings retired his jersey Sunday night, and Fran Tarkenton said Tingelhoff deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Each thanked owner Red McCombs for remembering the alumni.

Former Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff had his No. 53 retired by the team at halftime of the Sunday night game against the Bears.

The ceremony came less than a week after the organization retired the jersey of the late Korey Stringer.

Tingelhoff became the Vikings' starting center during his rookie season in 1962. He played in four Super Bowls and went to six consecutive Pro Bowls. He also was elected an All-Pro for a team-record seven consecutive seasons.

However, the most impressive thing about Tingelhoff's career was his durability.

During his 17-year career, which ended after the 1978 season, Tingelhoff never missed a game, playing in 240 in a row. That is the most by an NFL offensive lineman. It is the second-most consecutive starts in Vikings history, trailing only Jim Marshall's 270.

Among those in attendance at the Metrodome to honor Tingelhoff was former Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton, who made a push for Tingelhoff to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

"He is truly one of the great players in the history of the league," Tarkenton told the crowd during the ceremony. "And this man truly belongs up there on the ring of honor, but he also belongs in Canton, Ohio, in the Hall of Fame."

Tingelhoff was humbled by the Vikings' decision to recognize him.

"It's a great honor and it's kind of the final step in all of the years I have been with the Vikings," he said. "It started in 1962 through (Norm) Van Brocklin and the early years, and of course Bud (Grant) came and really established the team and got it going very well.

"Red McCombs bought the team and he kept the old retired players and the old alumni really in touch with what is going on and kind of kept the Viking family together. He has really done a great job. So, this is really a great honor for me and kind of a climax to being a Viking. It means a lot."

Tingelhoff's jersey was the fifth retired by the organization. The list includes Tarkenton (No. 10), Alan Page (No. 88), Marshall (No. 70); and Stringer (No. 77).

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