Randall represents as newest Viking in Hall

Randall McDaniel was one of five former NFL players to make the final cut to the Hall of Fame, a voting process that was well-deserved for McDaniel but left Cris Carter and John Randle waiting for future votes.

The 2009 Vikings dodged a bullet Saturday when Randall McDaniel was only Viking to be named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The conventional wisdom heading into the vote was that first-year eligible players Bruce Smith and Rod Woodson were close to being locks for the Hall and that Cris Carter was a favorite among those already Hall-eligible.

When the ceremony announced that Bob Hayes, a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960s and 1970s, had been voted in as the veteran's committee inductee, it didn't look as good for C.C. However, when performing their version of "Hall of Fame Survivor," all three Vikings candidates – McDaniel, Carter and John Randle – were in the top 10, it looked as though the Vikings could have at least two if not three members voted in. As it turned out, neither Carter nor Randle were among the final five – all of whom were voted in.

"It is shocking. I assumed (Carter would get in)," McDaniel said. "You just never know how they are going to vote. Everyone on that list was deserving of being there. Like you said, he has the numbers; he and Johnny (Randle) both are very deserving. They both have the numbers. They both had the careers that you would assume would have got them in."

When the final results were announced, two members of the Buffalo Bills – Smith and owner Ralph Wilson – were among the inductees, along with the late Derrick Thomas of the Chiefs. As a result, the Bills had the most inductees with two.

Within minutes of the official announcement of the Class of 2009, the league announced that the induction ceremony will take place as part of the Hall of Fame Game – the 2009 preseason opener – Aug. 9 at Canton, Ohio. The teams? Buffalo and the Tennessee Titans.

As often happens, the team most strongly represented in the Hall of Fame class takes part of in the Hall of Fame Game. The only problem with that is that those two teams don't get a week off during the preseason. They play five games. No coach wants five preseason games. Not only does it make training camp longer, but it adds to the potential for injuries, whether to the starters making cameo appearances or the backups fighting for roster spots. The chance of losing players is always a concern in the preseason, but playing an extra game is viewed by many as playing Russian Roulette and having to take an extra turn.

While Vikings fans would have been ecstatic if the Vikings had put two players in the Hall and likely would have traveled extremely well next August to induct McDaniel and Carter, perhaps the current Vikings regime is quietly thankful it didn't happen.

For McDaniel, it's the icing on a career that featured 12 Pro Bowl appearances and garnered respect from his teammates, opponents and Hall of Fame voters.

"I can take a little breath for a while now. But, as Zim (Gary Zimmerman) said to me, ‘Now you got to write a speech and go up and speak to a bunch of people,'" McDaniel said.


  • Things won't get any easier for Carter next year. If the Hall of Fame voters continue their recent trend of no more than one wide receiver per induction class, C.C. may have to wait another year. In 2010, Jerry Rice becomes Hall eligible and there is no question that both he and fellow first-timer Emmitt Smith will be solid choices.

  • All of us at Viking Update would like to congratulate McDaniel, whom many believed should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer. His 12 straight Pro Bowls is a record that may never be broken and, as great as he was on the field, he was even better off the field as a role model and mentor to youngsters in the Twin Cities area. The Hall of Fame got itself an inductee they can be truly proud of.

    "My parents instilled hard work and good values. That's what I did," McDaniel said. "We didn't have much growing up. I remember my folks, whatever job it was, moving one place to the next, from one apartment to the next. My mom and dad always worked hard. They always said, "As long as you work hard, bust your butt and do the right things, good things will happen in the end." So I got to give a lot of credit to my mom and dad, for everything they've done for me along the way, and that never-give-up attitude."

  • McDaniel becomes the ninth player who spent the majority of his career with the Vikings into the Hall of Fame. He joins Frank Tarkenton (Class of 1986), Alan Page (1988), Bud Grant (1994), Jim Finks (1995), Paul Krause (1998), Ron Yary (2001), Carl Eller (2004) and Gary Zimmerman (2008).

  • Hopes that Vikings fans may have had in acquiring Donovan McNabb from the Eagles would appear to be dwindling. After a successful late-season run all the way to the NFC Championship Game, it would seem the Eagles want McNabb back. McNabb told reporters at the Super Bowl that he wants to retire an Eagle, which, given his strong performance in the playoffs, seems exponentially more likely that it did in mid-November when he was benched for poor play.

  • Commissioner Roger Goodell said that, for 2009 anyway, the Lions will keep playing on Thanksgiving Day. However, he said that could be subject to change. Detroit has played on Thanksgiving Day at home since 1934.

  • Jailed QB Michael Vick is set to be released from prison as early as this week and will be assigned to a halfway house. It is uncertain whether he will become available to return to the NFL in 2009, but it's clear his services will no longer be needed in Atlanta with Matt Ryan entrenched as the starter. With a culture of accountability, it's not very likely the Vikings will make a strong push to sign Vick – or whether the league will even welcome him back.

  • Due to the extremely weak economy, Goodell was asked if the league would retain its strict blackout rule for games that don't sell out. He said the league intends to keep its blackout policy into the future.

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