Eller Gets Call to the Hall

While he is already being overshadowed by the fellow members of his class, Carl Eller has seen a long, drawn out journey to the Hall of Fame come to a happy end.

It's been 20 years since Carl Eller was eligible to be in the NFL Hall of Fame. When he had his first chance in 1984, he thought he would go in quickly. Instead, he learned what many have learned since -- without a Super Bowl title, getting Vikings into the Hall of Fame will take work.

That process will end at noon today when Eller takes the podium with John Elway, Barry Sanders and Bob Brown as the Class of 2004 -- the first time all the players in the class were first-round draft choices.

Eller has already been overshadowed by Elway and Sanders, who both enter the hall on their first year of eligibility. But few fans who were around during Eller's hey day with the Vikings from 1964-78 can argue that he did as much for his position as either Elway or Sanders did for theirs.

Eller was a dominant defensive end and, teamed with Jim Marshall and Alan Page, created one of the most feared defensive fronts the game has ever seen. After being a finalist 12 times, a campaign spearheaded by Red McCombs got former players and Hall of Fame members to push the selection committee to pick Eller.

While he will likely be forced to take a backseat to Sanders and Elway, Eller likely won't mind. He is in the Hall of Fame -- where he belongs.

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