McDaniel memories

Randall McDaniel set the record for consecutive Pro Bowls, but in two weeks he'll receive football's highest honor, induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. An ex-teammate, a former personnel director and McDaniel himself all reminisced about his impressive career.

Randall McDaniel, one of the most decorated Vikings in franchise history, will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 8. The league's web site had a couple of odes to the old guard recently.

Former Vikings teammate Gary Zimmerman, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year, was a tackle with the Vikings while McDaniel was the guard from 1988-92.

"Why you're so deserving to be a part of this team is obvious to me," Zimmerman wrote on an NFL.com entry. "I know we've had this talk already, but now it's my chance to personally welcome you again."

"… There are many memories from our playing days together. One of the things I remember is how in the pregame in the locker room you would come in with bags of Halloween candy and sit there and eat candy before the game. It just kind of shocked me that you would eat that much candy and then go out and play like you did. All those bags of candy, and I think Reeses was your favorite. Just sitting there with five or six bags of candy at your locker about an hour before the game.

"I guess it worked. Maybe we all should have been doing that."

McDaniel admitted as much in an online chat at NFL.com.

"My favorite pregame meal – this is what I normally did on game days, for the first nine years – was a pot of coffee, and then whatever the gift shop had in its candy section. I would (eat) a whole box of Nestle Crunch bars, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Milky Ways. I would throw it on the counter and pay for all of that. And then start eating it all in the morning. That was my pregame meal for nine years. I eventually added some bacon to that later on in my career when I decided I needed some more fuel for my body," McDaniel wrote.

"Oh, and I don't recommend that kids try that! This was only for me!"

Zimmerman encouraged McDaniel to relax and enjoy his big weekend, saying he was "all stressed out" last year and didn't enjoy the experience as much as he should have.

"You're being recognized by the writers as being one of the best who ever played the game. You now have that honor, as well as the extra responsibility on you too now that you represent everyone in the Hall," Zimmerman wrote.

"I know this won't be an issue for you because you're a class guy."

Former Dallas Cowboys personnel executive and current NFL.com contributor Gil Brandt also shared his memories of scouting McDaniel during his senior year at Arizona State University when John Cooper was coaching the Sun Devils. After spending time with Cooper watching film of McDaniel, Brandt raised McDaniel's draft grade from a second-rounder to the second-best offensive lineman in the 1988 draft.

"McDaniel proved to be everything Cooper said. He led the toss sweep against a fast Michigan defense," Brandt wrote in his article. "McDaniel lined up at quick guard and pulled as well as anyone you've ever seen. He had tenacity on inside run blocks, was outstanding with hand placement, and very good at pass protection."

The Cowboys selected wide receiver Michael Irvin in the first round that year. As the 19th overall choice in the 1988 draft by the Minnesota Vikings, McDaniel went on to start 170 consecutive games for the Vikings and set a record by starting in 10 consecutive Pro Bowls.

"McDaniel had a bad stance, and he didn't have a sculptured body – he lifted weights and everything, but was not what you would call ‘chiseled.'" Brandt wrote. "Still, he played as well as anyone in the NFL.

"And he got better and better every year that he played."

During his online chat on NFL.com, McDaniel answered questions from fans on a variety of topics. Here are a few of the highlights:

On Pro Bowl guard Steve Hutchinson: "I would say this – he is on his way. I like how he plays. He's old-school, gets after people, and is a hard worker. You have to like that. He's all business and does his job. I love watching him play -- he has a mean streak. I wouldn't want to face him. If he stays on track, he'll be one of the great ones.

On Bryant McKinnie: "I do like what I see. I will say this – I think McKinnie could be even better. I always thought that. I think he can play better than what he's doing now. He just has to put some more effort into it, but he has to make that choice.

On the better player, Randy Moss or Cris Carter: "I'd go with Carter. That's tough. Carter didn't have the speed like Moss, but Cris just wanted the ball. He'd go across the middle, deep, the short routes. The whole package, and a great possession receiver. If the ball was anywhere near, he'd catch it. Moss is great, but I go with Carter. Moss can get the big plays, but I'm going with Carter's hands."

On the dirtiest thing he experienced from a defensive lineman: "It's part of the line play, but probably the dirtiest thing a guy did was to keep grabbing at my face mask during our line stunts. I can't remember the player or the team. He would keep turning my neck. I had that shield, so he was taking his life in his hands with his fingers in there. I never wore a mouth piece, so I clamped down on his fingers one time until the play was over, and he didn't do it again the rest of the game. I warned him about it, too. He screamed and yelled. I told him if he did it again, he wouldn't get them back. True story. But anything that comes in there, isn't supposed to be in there."


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