Rashad, Randle join college H.O.F.

Former Vikings John Randle and Ahmad Rashad were among 20 inductees into the 2008 class of the U.S. College Football Hall of Fame Saturday, a final stop for a couple of players few thought would have great NFL careers.

A pair of former Vikings legends were inducted in the U.S. College Football Hall of Fame Saturday in South Bend, Ind., as Ahmad Rashad and John Randle, both of whom came from humble beginnings to become great pros, were among the new members enshrined.

Rashad, who retired as the Vikings' career leader in receptions for a wide receiver with six straight seasons of 50 or more receptions in an era when running the ball was viewed as the way to win games, was known as Bobby Moore when he played running back at the University of Oregon. He seemed to have his career come to its end when he was awarded to the Seattle Seahawks in 1976 expansion draft. Rashad refused to play for the expansion Seahawks and was traded to the Vikings for our own fearless leader Bob Lurtsema – a trade that Lurts still maintains Seattle got the better of.

Rashad made one of the great catches in Vikings history on Dec. 14, 1980, when he caught a Hail Mary pass as time expired against the Cleveland Browns at Met Stadium to give the Vikings a 28-23 win that won the NFC Central Division title – the last division title the Vikings would win for nine years.

The fact that Rashad was so successful was something of a shock given the condition of his knees. In the era before arthroscopic surgery, Rashad had undergone surgery on both knees during his career before coming to Minnesota and his knees resembled a lumberjack that had taken a couple of swipes from a chainsaw.

Trainer Fred Zamberletti said Rashad's will to play outweighed his injuries and that he was something of a medical marvel.

"To look at his knees, you wouldn't have thought he could walk, much less play football," Zamberletti said in an interview with VU. "He couldn't have played in the NFL in this era, because, with his knees, there was no way he would have ever passed a physical.

Randle faced long odds of his own. At Texas A&I – a school that no longer has that name – he was an undrafted defensive lineman coming into the NFL. That year, more than 70 defensive linemen were drafted, including the likes of former pro wrestling champion Bill Goldberg, but nobody wanted to take a chance on Randle, despite the draft being 12 rounds long in 1990 when he came out.

Randle told the audience Saturday that he was deemed too small to be a major college defensive lineman and that he wouldn't succeed. No major colleges offered him a scholarship and he ended up attending Texas A&I.

"I was a guy everyone overlooked," Randle said. "No one thought I could put the weight on. Getting to Texas A&I gave me a chance to do it."

The Hall of Fame inducted 20 new members in all Saturday, including coaching legend Joe Paterno and quarterback Doug Flutie.

SUNDAY NOTES

  • Former Viking Nate Burleson is going to have to shoulder a bigger portion of the passing load for the Seahawks. It appears as teammate Deion Branch will open training camp on the physically unable to perform list and it is unclear whether he will be ready for the start of the season. Branch suffered a torn ACL in the playoff loss to the Packers last January.

  • As expected, Brett Favre didn't answer questions about his rift with team management at the Packers Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Favre presented offensive lineman Frank Winters, who was a roommate of Favre on the road for 11 seasons.

  • You can tell that Adrian Peterson is becoming a megastar. As he was preparing to board a plane at LAX Thursday to return to Minnesota for a youth football camp, he was beset by paparazzi flashing his picture. Video of the incident is being highlighted on the website TMZ.com.

  • The Vikings held the 14th Annual Ride For Life Motorcycle Rally Saturday to benefit the Vikings Children's Fund. The rally was dedicated to the memory of Frank Foster, a former St. Paul police officer and Vikings security official who died of a heart attack last August during training camp in Mankato.


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