Teerlinck coached the Vikings defensive line from 1992-94, which coincided with Randle's key developmental years in the NFL. Teerlinck saw something in the undersized defensive tackle and believed he could be something special. He was right and Randle became not only a solid NFL player, but a Hall of Famer.
Teerlinck's time with the Vikings was short, especially given his own Hall of Fame resume – which includes 22 seasons that included six conference championship game appearances and four Super Bowls. But the impact he made with Randle's development is one of his greatest achievements.
The impact Teerlinck made on Randle became obvious this week, as Randle selected Teerlinck to be his Hall of Fame presenter when he joins the Class of 2010 at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony Aug. 7. Despite having many influences that made him a top pro, Randle selected the one person who, without his eye for talent and ability to turn potential into production, may have contributed the most to Randle's professional career.
"I've been an assistant coach for 22 years," Teerlinck, now with the Indianapolis Colts, told the Pro Football Hall of Fame. "I've coached in 31 playoff games, six championships, and four Super Bowls. This tops them all. This is the biggest honor for an assistant coach."
Randle is one of a star-studded cast in the Class of 2010, which includes first-time nominees Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice. Casual fans may not know who Teerlinck is, but, thanks to Randle, many more may learn more about the coach who took a chance on an unproven, undrafted rookie and helped open the door to stardom.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.