The NFL announced its list of 26 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Wednesday and three players who had long careers with the Vikings were among the 26 finalists.
Cris Carter, Randall McDaniel and Gary Zimmerman were among the 26 names that was pared down from the initial list of 124 preliminary nominees. Ordinarily, there are 25 semifinalists for the induction process, but due to a tie in the voting for the 25th spot, the list was expanded to 26.
Carter was the face of the Vikings franchise for years in a career that spanned from 1983 to 2002. He spent 1990-2001 as a member of the Vikings and re-wrote every receiving record that existed at the time he was with the team.
McDaniel's career played from 1988-2001 – all but the final two years with the Vikings. He played with the Buccaneers for the final two seasons. He was an 11-time Pro Bowl selection and named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1990s. There was some consternation among area Hall of Fame voters as to how his name was eliminated from the list of candidates last year following 11 straight selections to the Pro Bowl, which typically serves as a entrance card to the Hall.
The third player is Gary Zimmerman, who played with the Vikings from 1986-92 after being traded for during the dispersal draft of the USFL players when that league folded. He spent 1993-97 with the Denver Broncos and retired after the Broncos won the Super Bowl over the Packers following the 1997 season.
The list of 26 will be whittled down to 15 with an announcement made in mid-January. The voting will be done via mail from the Hall of Fame voters. The final ballot will include the 15 modern era players/coaches/contributors and two Seniors Committee nominees – running back Marshall Goldberg (1939-48) and cornerback Emmitt Thomas (1966-78). Thomas coached for the Vikings in 2000-01.
The list of nominees for 2008 enshrinement includes Carter, McDaniel, Zimmerman, Terrell Davis, Dermontti Dawson, Fred Dean, Richard Dent, Randy Gradishar, Darrell Green, Kevin Greene, Russ Grim, Ray Guy, Charles Haley, Lester Hayes, Rickey Jackson, Joe Jacoby, Cortez Kennedy, Bob Kuechenberg, Art Monk, Andre Reed, Ken Stabler, Paul Tagliabue, Steve Tasker, Derrick Thomas, Andre Tippett and George Young.
Once the finalists are reduced to 15, a vote will be conducted Saturday, Feb. 2 before the Super Bowl with a press conference held that same day to announce the Class of 2008.
* As of Wednesday afternoon, there were still 2,800 tickets remaining for Sunday's game with the Lions. The Vikings are expected to ask for an extension from the league. If not, a decision will have to be made by noon today or the game will be blacked out for the first time in the Twin Cities since 1997.
* A pair of Vikings linebackers were honored with awards Wednesday. Chad Greenway was given the Ed Block Courage Award, given annually to the player that exemplifies sportsmanship and courage, in honor of his full-time return to the starting lineup after having his rookie season erased due to injury. Ben Leber was the winner of the Byron (Whizzer) White Award, which honors players for their charitable work. Both awards are voted on by players of the 32 NFL teams and each team names a recipient to each annually.
* Today will be the big day for Adrian Peterson, as the team will check him this morning to see how much if any swelling there is associated with his knee injury. He is expected to split time with Chester Taylor. Peterson worked out during the portion of practice that was open to the media, but was still listed as limited on the team's injury report. Also limited were Matt Birk (knee), Tony Richardson (knee), Troy Williamson (concussion) and Antoine Winfield (hamstring). The only players who sat out practice were Tank Williams (knee) and Kenechi Udeze (personal reasons).
* With Fred Evans serving a suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy, the Vikings signed DT Conrad Bolston off the practice squad. With the vacancy created on the practice squad, the team re-signed DT Alex Guerrero.
C.C., McDaniel Among H.O.F. Semifinalists
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