Three former Vikings Hall of Fame finalists

Cris Carter and Randall McDaniel are back among the Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists, to be decided on Jan. 31, and they are joined this year by John Randle, who is in his first year of eligibility.

Last year, Vikings fans were encouraged to see a pair of players that spent the majority of their careers in Minnesota as Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists. This year, they have three potential Hall of Famers.

The NFL announced the 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Tuesday and included on the list are Cris Carter, Randall McDaniel and John Randle. For McDaniel, it will be his third shot at the Hall, while it will be the second chance for the Carter and the first for Randle.

Randle was one of just four first-year-eligible players to make the final cut of 15 potential Hall of Fame members – joining DE Bruce Smith, CB Rod Woodson and TE Shannon Sharpe. The initial list of 133 potential inductees was reduced to 25 in November and pared to 15 Tuesday.

The list includes a pair of first-time finalists in DT Cortez Kennedy and center Dermontti Dawson. The other finalists include WR Andre Reed, DE Richard Dent, guards Russ Grimm and Bob Kuechenberg, LB Derrick Thomas, former commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson. In August, the NFL Senior Committee voted to select Atlanta DE Claude Humphrey and WR Bob Hayes as its two inductees in the Class of 2009.

The final vote will take place Jan. 31 in Tampa among the 44-member Hall of Fame panel of voters. As few as four candidates or as many as seven will be selected for enshrinement. You can bet that if more than one Vikings player is selected the 2009 Vikings will open their preseason with the Hall of Fame Game in August to start the preseason slate of games, which would end up giving the Vikings five preseason games next season.

WEDNESDAY NOTES

  • Adrian Peterson finished tied for second in the voting for the Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year, which was announced Tuesday. Saints quarterback Drew Brees won the award with a total of 22 votes. Peterson finished tied for second with Peyton Manning, who received nine votes. Last week, the AP announced that Manning was named the 2008 Most Valuable Player, which precluded him in the minds of many voters of winning both awards. The awards are voted on by a 50-member panel of sportswriters and broadcasters that cover the NFL.

  • Leslie Frazier is scheduled to meet with the Denver Broncos today concerning their head coaching vacancy. He is also scheduled to meet with the Detroit Lions Friday. The St. Louis Rams haven't scheduled a meeting with Frazier yet, but were granted permission to interview him for their head-coaching position. As of now, the Jets, another team rumored to be interested in interviewing Frazier, haven't asked permission from the Vikings to set up a potential interview.

  • While Frazier will interview today in Denver, the Broncos are said to have a lot of interest in Cowboys assistant head coach Jason Garrett.

  • The Rams conducted an official interview with interim head coach Jim Haslett Tuesday. Haslett took over the team after former Vikings assistant Scott Linehan was fired during the season. Another former Vikings assistant coach, Ray Sherman, is also scheduled to interview for the Rams job.

  • The Vikings signed a pair of defensive backs to futures contracts Tuesday – safety Roderick Rogers and cornerback Marcus Walker. Both players ended the 2008 season on the Vikings practice squad. Earlier in the week, the team signed RB Albert Young, WR Jaymar Johnson and OG Brian Daniels, also members of the Minnesota practice squad, to futures contracts.

  • With LaDainian Tomlinson hobbled with a groin injury and Darren Sproles not viewed as a player ideally suited for 20-25 carries, the Chargers expect former Viking Michael Bennett to get a lot of carries when San Diego goes into Pittsburgh for their divisional playoff game. Bennett was signed by the Chargers in what many believe was more to keep Denver from being able to pick him up than any wish for him to see playing time. He didn't see his first action with San Diego until last Saturday's win over the Colts, in which Bennett ran four times for 24 yards and caught one pass.

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