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The Hall Will Soon Have Another Viking

Former Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff – an elite performer with historic durability – richly deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He’s not there quite yet, but it’s only a matter of time now.
Image courtesy of Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Just over a year ago, as Cris Carter was about to enter the Hall, I wrote a post for VikesCentric at StarTribune.com pleading the case for Tingelhoff to be the next Viking to be enshrined. It’s no coincidence then that the HOF Senior Selection Committee suddenly now, 36 years after Tingelhoff retired and 12 months after my VikesCentric post that six people probably read, has made Tingelhoff their lone candidate for the 2015 class. Connect the dots for yourself.

Apparently I can be pretty convincing.

Maybe Mick will thank me during his acceptance speech in Canton… because that’s where this is heading, folks. Tingelhoff is about to become the first Minnesota Viking to be voted into the Hall of Fame by the Senior Selection Committee. For the sake of review, and because it’s always enjoyable to reminisce about legendary Vikings, the first 12 Hall of Famers who were Vikings for most or all of their HOF careers: the aforementioned Carter, Chris Doleman, Carl Eller, Paul Krause, Randall McDaniel, Alan Page, John Randle, Fran Tarkenton, Ron Yary, Gary Zimmerman, Jim Finks and of course Bud Grant.

(Tangent: who’s on your Mount Rushmore of all-time great Vikings? Tell us here.)

Not surprisingly, Tarkenton tweeted that he thinks Mick should join him in Canton.
Attached Image: Tingelhoff 03.PNG

I mean, he really thinks he should be in the Hall.
Attached Image: Tingelhoff 02.PNG

And then Fran said this… so I stopped paying attention:
Attached Image: Tingelhoff 04.PNG

Anyway, I’d be stunned if Tingelhoff gets rejected now that he’s made it this far. The voting will take place the Saturday before Super Bowl XLIX (Jan. 31) and he needs 80 percent of the vote for induction. The data is in his favor, as the vast majority of Senior Selection Committee candidates gain enshrinement on either their first or second time on the ballot.

As I’ve said before, there aren’t many well-known stats for deriving the effectiveness of an offensive lineman, and it’s especially difficult to measure or recognize the greatness of those on the interior of the line. You can, however, use Tingelhoff’s accolades and accomplishments as proper metrics for comparing him to other Hall of Fame centers.

Tingelhoff was a five-time AP All-Pro selection and has seven All-Pro selections when you include non-AP selections from Pro Football Weekly, the Pro Football Writer’s Association and UPI. As of right now, Tingelhoff remains the only center with more than four All-Pro selections not in the Hall of Fame. Oh and he also made the Pro Bowl 13 times.

That’s a pretty good resume.

He was also durable. Absurdly durable. Only 10 players in NFL history ever started more games than Tingelhoff, who started all 240 games he played for the Vikings between 1962 and 1978. Plus he started 19 postseason games. And the legend goes he never missed a practice. By the way, he never missed a game in high school or college either.

I am working to confirm he never missed one in junior high, but it’s safe to assume.

It’s finally time for the Hall of Fame voters to stop holding four Super Bowl losses against one of the greatest players at his position in football history.


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6 Comments

It was reported in the Tribune in Sid's column that Jim Marshall can no longer get in via the Senior Committee. I believe is false. He played a year longer than Tingelhoff. Both are deserving. Congrats to Mick!

Bo Mitchell
Aug 23 2014 11:33 AM

I would suggest that Tingelhoff is more deserving than Marshall. Regardless, Mick will get his gold jacket soon. Next Vikings player in the HOF? Randy Moss?

ItsAFumblebyForeman
Aug 24 2014 06:20 PM
The Vikings Super Bowl futility has kept these guys out. No doubt in my mind Jim Marshall deserves to be in the Hall
Bo Mitchell
Aug 25 2014 11:10 PM

Sadly, I'm going to have to side with the Hall of Fame voters and respectively disagree on Marshall. I know that's not a very popular opinion here. I think he's a borderline Hall candidate.

 

He was one of the most durable players of all time and had a nose for the football (29 fumble recoveries) but was never dominant in the way Page and Eller were. Zero career All-Pro honors and two Pro Bowl appearances are an indication he was "only" very good, not one of the all-time greats. For comparison, Eller was a six time Pro Bowler and five time All-Pro and it took him more than two decades to make the Hall of Fame.

 

And, yes, I watched them all play so I'm not just going off stats and awards.

 

I will say that had Marshall's Vikings teams won one or two Super Bowls and had Marshall made big plays in said games he might have been viewed a little differently. The Steelers certainly benefited from all those Super Bowl wins when it came time for Hall of Fame votes... but deservedly so.

John Bonnes
Aug 26 2014 06:17 AM

The All-pro argument is a compelling one, but it's worth noting that voters tend to have a knee jerk reaction against starting too many players from the same team and area in the Pro Bowl. "The Vikings already have two guys - they don't need a third" is what the little voice in the back of a voters head can say. This might be a good debate for another time.

 

I wonder if Tingelhoff isn't also hurt that his best years did not align with the Vikings best years. His peak (or at least his All-pro seasons) happened 1964-1969. The Vikings were good, but not the recognized power they would be in the 70s. Tingelhoff was still the starting center for those teams, but maybe not as likely to be recognized without the accolades that accompany a Pro Bowl honor. 

 

I notice that on Pro-football-reference.com, Tingelhoff's career most closely resembles that of a number of Hall-of-Famers. But the one that it resembles most closely is that of that of Mike Kenn, the Falcons left tackle who career ended in 1994. He also had a long career and had five pro bowls. I wonder if he is considered to be a lock to get in too?

Who is eligible first - Zimmerman or Moss?    If Zim gets in does he go as a Bronco where he won a SB or with the vikings where he played longer?


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