Tuesday, February 25, 2020

I Have the Traveling Reggie

Back in July of last year, a TCDB member decided to start a fun challenge that involves a 1983 Donruss Action All-Stars Reggie Jackson visiting every state in the US. The challenge was to include it as part of a trade package, not just send it along to somebody else. It has been slow going for Reggie since then, but he has done a bit of traveling.

Last week, I received a message from TCDB user cl_kyle asking if I'd be interested in a trade--and in taking the Traveling Reggie in. I was all over it.

We put together a trade, each sending roughly 20 cards, and Utah became the next stop on Reggie's tour.

Some of the cards I received included some BYU alumni, like John Beck and Jeremy Guthrie

Others were some chromed up Rookie of the Year winners. There are several variations of Scott Williamson's Bowman rookie card. Also, an original 1950 Bowman Don Newcombe rookie! Look at those sharp corners! The centering! The shine...wait, what are you saying?! It's not an original 1950 Bowman? This is also a 1998 Bowman Chrome, like Scott Williamson? Oh, okay.

For those among you who are eagle-eyed experts, besides the obvious chrome, what else is a dead giveaway that this is not a 1950 Bowman, from seeing this scan alone?

And here is Reggie! As you can see, this is the seventh state he has visited.

I didn't know before I received this trade that the Traveling Reggie was an oversized card. In fact, this trade brought several different sizes to me, which made it pretty unique, I think.

We have Reggie, and you can see his size here above a 1975 Mini, a standard-sized 2001 Upper Deck Decade, and a 1986 McDonald's Kenny Easley with the original tab. I don't think I've ever received four different sizes of cards at one time.

Sunrise over Mt. Timpanogos, west side of the Wasatch Range. Yes, we're in the Rockies. I know you can't see the card, but the card isn't really the point here, is it?

While Reggie was visiting, I wanted to take him somewhere fun. All of my favorite touristy places in the state are in southern Utah, however, and I don't have any plans to head that way until April. I was thinking about posting a poll in the sidebar and having readers vote on where I should take him, but I don't want to keep him longer than necessary. So I just decided to let him enjoy the view from where he is. Welcome to my neighborhood, Reggie! I hope you enjoy your brief stay in Utah. Now I just need to find the next state to send him on to.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Shining Like Diamond(back)s in the Night

It's not every day I get a package from a legend like Night Owl. In fact, we've never officially traded. I once claimed some Dodgers dupes he was trying to give away, and I think I sent him a PWE one time. So imagine my surprise when I saw his name on a bubble mailer last week. Inside was a team bag of cards and a half-apologetic note for the sudden influx of Diamondbacks. Wait, Diamondbacks?

Now, I don't collect D-backs. But I have mentioned a couple of times that my oldest offspring is a Diamondbacks fan. Am I to assume that the great Night Owl has paid enough attention to my blog to remember that detail? I don't know if that is the case, but I'll flatter myself that it is. Or maybe he is just a Dodger fan wanting to unload some hated D-backs and thought my western address was close enough to Phoenix. Either way, a good part of this stack is going to an 11-year-old who roots for Arizona.

Some cards he sent were 21st-century cards masquerading as something older. Mark Grace is still my favorite player, and I'm glad he got a ring with Arizona, but I wish it would have been Chicago. I think I'll keep the Gracie for myself. Maybe the card of Greinke homering will stay with me, too. But the rest of these cards are going to my boy.

Night Owl sure sent a lot of shiny, like Black Diamond, Certified, Fire, and Rainbow Foil. AJ Pollock was my son's favorite D-back until he departed last year.

Now he tends to root for David Peralta. Well, my boy, Night Owl has you covered. More shiny here, in the form of a Jarrod Parker auto. Parker made only one appearance for Arizona before being traded to Oakland. He was a pretty good pitcher for a couple of years before two Tommy Johns did him in after his second full season in the Majors.

I've now received 2 packages from Greg. Interestingly, the contents of both packages went to kids--one to an aspiring Dodgers fan in my nephew, the other to a young D-backs fan in my son. Yes, Night Owl is part of the effort to build a rising generation of collectors. I'll get a return package put together sometime in the near future, Greg. Thanks for the surprise!

Saturday, February 15, 2020

An Eclectic Sportlots Lot Brings Me Cards, Trade Bait

There is a seller on Sportlots who goes by the handle AAAVINTA. He often has lots of random cards for sale, usually about 40 cards large with titles that only mention a couple of the big-name players who are to be found in the lot. I took a chance on a couple of these lots a year or two ago and was quite pleased with what came my way. So I decided to do it one more time. Apparently, more people have picked up that this is a pretty good seller because I had other people bidding against me this time. So I didn't get all of the lots I wanted because I don't like to get into bidding wars. But once again the cards I did receive were a fun pick-up and interesting to add to my collection.

Let's start with a pair of inserts and a couple of really cool brands of Kirby Puckett. Not only is Puckett an all-time great, but he is also always welcome in my collection due to his being an All-Star MVP.

Here we have another Hall of Famer that I like to collect. The thing I like about these cards is that they are all from his playing days, even if they are from the later years. I find it interesting that the 1982 Fleer and the 1982 Topps In Action cards feature the same photo. In the days when not all cards used action shots and there weren't 30 different products out there, I just didn't expect to see the same image twice.

Now here's somebody who very well could be in the Hall of Fame, if not for his connection to PEDs. I'm not a huge Rocket fan, but he did win an All-Star MVP early in his career, so all of these cards will have a place in my collection. These are mostly pretty cool inserts, so that's a plus. The 1992 Donruss in the middle is a set issued by McDonald's.

Speaking of guys linked to PEDs...I present Jose Canseco! Bash Brother #1 probably wasn't going to make the Hall of Fame anyway, but the specter of steroid use has most definitely killed off any hope he might have had. Once again, we have a player that fits my collection (AL ROY 1986) with some pretty cool cards in the lot. I don't know which of the top row cards I like most, though. I think the Pro Visions card has the edge, even though it is the only one of these four I had seen before.

A couple more Rookie of the Year players from the Steroid Era, but two that already have busts in Canton. And once more, the seller included only inserts. I like Piazza and Bagwell much more than Clemens and Canseco, too. I don't know how much I care for Piazza's "Game Face," though.

To cap off the baseball lot, I have some trade bait. The Gold Rush Score and Upper Deck Special Edition Gold are very shiny and very cool, but I don't need them. I don't remember ever seeing the Upper Deck Special Edition Gold ever before, but apparently, they commanding a much higher price on COMC than I would have expected. The cheapest one is $.99, which surprised me to learn. Nevertheless, I'm not too interested in holding onto Mike Greenwell or Chuck Carr, so all you see here is available for trading.

The football lot I picked up from the same seller had some pretty big names, too, albeit fewer keepers. These four are all players that I collect and new to me. I received this package and scanned these cards the day before Chris Doleman passed.

More inserts, all from 2006 Ultra, and all players from the All-2000s Team. I wasn't collecting in 2006, but one thing I've noticed from the middle part of this century's first decade is a trend to design cards with the memorabilia swatch in mind. There is far too much empty space with an odd shape in the middle, obviously meant to look good when there is a jersey swatch filling it.

More inserts from 2006 Ultra, obviously designed for a memorabilia card. All of the cards above are trade bait.

Along with these . . .

and these. I like the Award Winners cards best, and I briefly thought about chasing down the rest of the set, but I'm really trying to stay focused on the myriad goals I already have at hand.

From these Campus Classics cards, I'm keeping Heisman winner Charles White, but the other two former Jets are up for grabs.

The impetus behind the two random lot purchases was one that wasn't so random. I first bid on an auction for 200 2010 Topps 206 cards and added the other lots for discounted shipping. This wasn't really a need, but, for the price, I thought it was a good opportunity to get a good number of cards I didn't have without breaking the bank.

As I was going through the box, I didn't love the look of the cards, so I was thinking that I would have a lot of good trade bait. Now seeing a 3x3 scan, I'm thinking that this set could look pretty good in a binder. Now I'm seriously considering building this set. I'm about 2/3 done with the base set, not counting the SPs, which I wouldn't chase anyway. The biggest challenges will probably be Strasburg and Posey rookies. I have already traded a couple of cards away, so what will probably happen is that I decide to build the set and Nate McLouth will haunt my wantlist forever after I once had it. For now, I'm going to sit on the cards while I consider if I want to add another older set to my waitlist.

For any of the other cards I posted as traders, let me know if you want to swing an exchange for them. Thanks for looking!

Saturday, February 8, 2020

The Franchise 9: Chicago Bears

What do you think of when you think of the Chicago Bears? If you thought of defense and the Monsters of the Midway, you probably weren't alone. The Bears ended up as one of only three teams with no quarterback among their Franchise 9. In fact, they were missing a representative from all offensive positions except for running back. Just as it has for so many games at Soldier Field, the Bears' defense dominated here as well.

1. Matt Forte, RB (2012 Topps)

This was probably the most surprising player to make the cut, at least to me. Throughout his entire career, I always felt that Forte was underrated. I didn't expect it to play out that he was one of the top nine players for Chicago in the Super Bowl Era. But after eight years in Chicago, Forte left the Windy City as the franchise's 2nd-leading rusher. Rushing was only half of his value, however, as he is also 7th on the receiving yard list. In all, Forte gained 12,718 yards from scrimmage and scored 64 times. He also has two Pro Bowls to his name. He may not have put together a Hall of Fame career, but he was productive for nearly a decade.

2. Walter Payton, RB (1985 Topps)

All Walter Payton did was act as the heart and soul of the Bears' offense for 13 years, becoming the NFL's all-time leading rusher and touchdown scorer in the process. His touchdown record has since been broken, but the rushing record stands. Like Forte, Sweetness was also good out of the backfield, and ranks fourth on the club's all-time receiving yardage list. Sweetness was a nine-time Pro Bowler, five-time All Pro, and NFL MVP. His name should be on everybody's short list for best running back ever.

3. Gale Sayers, RB (2015 Topps Heritage)

Of all the people I wish I could have seen play, Gale Sayers is near the top of the list. He had a remarkably short career, but befitting his nickname, it was like a comet--shining brightly and over in a flash. The Kansas Comet played only seven seasons, but was named 1st Team All Pro in five of them. An outstanding runner and returner, Sayers led the league in all-purpose yardage three times and rushing twice. He scored 54 touchdowns, including 6 on returns. He became a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1977.

 4. Lance Briggs, LB (2009 SP Authentic)

Any time a guy spends 12 years with the same team, he is probably going to get consideration as a franchise great. Briggs did just that, from 2003-2014. During his career, he registered 1,174 tackles and 97 tackles for a loss. Both rank as the second-highest mark in franchise history (keeping in mind that tackles have only been counting since 1994). His greatest strength was his playmaking, though. He scored 7 defensive touchdowns, good for third on the franchise's list, and the most by a linebacker. From 2005-2011, Briggs made 7 straight Pro Bowls.

5. Richard Dent, DE (1990 Score)

With 124.5 sacks, Richard Dent is far and away the franchise leader in sacks. His best season was 1985, when he was a one-man wrecking crew. That year, he recorded 17 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, and the only pick-six of his career. Not surprisingly, the Bears boasted arguably the best defense this planet has ever seen that same year. They won the Super Bowl on the strength of that defense. And Richard Dent was named Super Bowl MVP.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2011.

6. Dan Hampton, DT (1990 Topps)

Dent's linemate, Hampton, was no slouch himself. Although he played fewer games in his career, Hampton's Pro Football Reference Approximate Value is higher than Dent's. He ranks 3rd on the Bears' all-time list with 57 sacks from his defensive tackle position. Hampton was a four-time Pro Bowler and an All-Pro. He was also named to the All-Decade team for the 1980s and was a member of the 2002 Hall of Fame class.

 7. Dick Butkus, LB (1989 Swell Football Greats)

I don't think there's anyone I would like to face in a dark alley less than I would like to see Dick Butkus. The man brought the "monster" to "Monsters of the Midway." His Hall of Fame career was 9 seasons long, resulting in 8 Pro Bowl and 5 All Pro nods. When Butkus was in the middle of the field, the Bears' defense was considerably better. During his career, the Bears finished with a top 10 defense 4 times. In his last season, Butkus played in only 9 games. For the first time in his career, the Bears finished outside of the top 20 that year. They would finish outside the top 20 in 2 of the next 3 years. He was a true difference-maker.

 8. Mike Singletary, LB (1988 Topps)

Six All Pro seasons in row, and seven in eight years. That's a long time to be considered the best at one's position. That's the kind of dominance that Mike Singletary displayed. Singletary ranks second in Bears' history in AV, trailing only Walter Payton. After spending his entire career as the elite of his position in NFL, he was a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee.

9. Brian Urlacher, LB (2011 Prestige)

Singletary is 2nd in AV. Another middle linebacker, Brian Urlacher, is 3rd. His 1,354 tackles are the most in team history. Like Singletary, Urlacher dominated his position in his career. He made 10 Pro Bowls and 4 1st Team All Pro teams in 13 seasons. If you're counting, in the 48 seasons from 1965 to 2012, the Bears had the league's top middle linebacker 15 times. In 34 of those 48 years, and in all of the 15 All Pro years, Butkus, Singletary, and Urlacher were manning the middle.

This is certainly one of the more interesting teams. With only 9 spots to fill, running backs took 3 and middle linebackers took 3. Thats 2/3 coming from 2 positions! It's incredible to me that through 50+ years of history, this franchise has maintained an identity and strength so consistently. When I think of the Chicago Bears, I think of hard-fought football between the hash marks. Three RBs, three MLBs, and a trio of DL certainly seem to bear that notion out, no pun intended.

Some notes on this series:
  1. This includes Super Bowl Era players only.
  2. The "nine" in Franchise 9 is to fill a page in a binder. There is no intent to fill a roster or even a starting lineup.
  3. A player can represent multiple teams.
  4. I tried to find a balance between steady producers with longevity and explosive players with shorter careers. Time with the team does count for something, as does impact with the team.
  5. For a link to Franchise 9 lists that I have already posted, click here.
  6. This is all subjective, so I'd love to hear whom you would choose!

Monday, February 3, 2020

My Second Oldest Card is Suddenly a Hall of Famer

In commemoration of the league's 100th anniversary, the NFL had a special expanded Hall of Fame class for this year's induction. Twenty individuals, including coaches, players, executives, and contributors, have gotten the call to Canton in the past month.

The inductions were kicked off as Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson received the news on live TV as they worked the playoff games in January. The rest of the class consists of three contributors: Steve Sabol, Paul Tagliabue, and George Young; ten senior selection committee players: Harold Carmichael, Jimbo Covert, Bobby Dillon, Cliff Harris, Winston Hill, Alex Karras, Donnie Shell, Duke Slater, Mac Speedie, and Ed Sprinkle; and five modern-day players: Isaac Bruce, Steve Atwater, Edgerrin James, Steve Hutchinson, and Troy Polamalu.

Honestly, there were some players I had never heard of before, like Slater or Sprinkle. A couple like Hill and Harris, I had heard of, but I was surprised to hear they were elected. Speaking without actually having seen them play, I maybe would like to have seen Cliff Branch or Drew Pearson in at receiver over Harold Carmichael. But I can't claim to know as much about football's history than those voters who put them in.

The most interesting name to me was Bobby Dillon. Dillon spent the breadth of his 1952-1959 career with the Packers. I had heard of him, but I didn't know much about him. So I looked him up. It turns out, he was a really good player on some pretty bad teams. During his first seven seasons, the Pack went 26-56-2, good for a win percentage of .317. In today's terms, that equates to an average record of 5-11, almost certainly good enough for a top 10 pick in the draft. Dillon can hardly be blamed for these horrendous records, though. In those 84 games, Dillon picked off 51 passes and took five of them back for touchdowns. That's a rate of .621 interceptions per game! For reference, here is the interception rate of the top five DBs in the Hall of Fame before him (Source).

PlayerCareer Interception PercentageINT/GPPositionsYears Active
Jack Christiansen.51746/89S1951-1958
Jack Butler.50552/103CB/S1951-1959
Emlen Tunnell.47379/167S1948-1961
Dick Lane.43368/157CB1952-1965
Lem Barney.40056/140CB1967-1977

Bobby Dillon is now at the top of that list--and by a pretty wide margin, too.

Besides the fact that previously unheralded, but apparently deserving, Packer got a call to the Hall, I have another interest in Bobby Dillon. It has to do with this 1959 Topps card.

This is the last card made of his playing days, as Dillon hung up his cleats at the end of the 1959 season. But this card is the second-oldest card in my collection, and one of only 3 football cards I own from the decade my parents were born.

It was exciting to hear of another Packer's induction into the Hall of Fame. It's even more exciting to have one of my oldest cards suddenly become a Hall of Famer. Building a Hall of Fame collection of vintage cardboard by collecting cards and waiting for the player to become a Hall of Famer may not be the most efficient way to do it, but it certainly was a fun surprise.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Kick or Keep: 7 Complete 2019 Football Sets

In a recent post, I mentioned that in my quest to complete one measly 200-card set, I purchased seven complete sets from the 2019 football year. Whoops. But, hey, the price was good (less than $10 per set, shipped) so I have no regrets. I was going for the Absolute set, but I wasn't sure which of the other sets I would keep and which I would add to my trade boxes. Now that I have made my decisions, let's examine the non-Absolute sets of my purchase.

Unparalleled is a definite keeper. I've never bought anything of it before--only picked up singles here and there--so I wasn't aware of how the set is structured. In fact, I've been far more likely to mock the set that is called Unparalleled, but seems to have an endless number of parallels. But when I saw the set as a whole, it won me over. Not only is it eye-catching and sparkly, the set is driven to feature players who don't get as much cardboard love. Take the trio above, for example. Former BYU Cougars Taysom Hill and Kyle van Noy are building successful NFL careers in their own ways, and they appear in several (if not all) base sets this year. But the third name there is Southern Utah University alum James Cowser, who is making his first cardboard appearance after spending three years with the Raiders.

2019 rookies weren't part of my purchase. But I still came away with plenty of rookie cards. Each team in the set includes two veterans with the "RC" logo. It feels like Panini is saying these guys have finally earned their stripes, and it feels kind of special. Never mind that I normally wouldn't care to collect a card of a long snapper (Kameron Canaday), in this set, it feels like we're celebrating a rite of passage. Za'Darius Smith earned his card with an outstanding 2018 season in Baltimore, which he parlayed into a free agent contract and his first Pro Bowl appearance this season in Green Bay. Matt Judon replaced Smith for the Ravens and earned a Pro Bowl nod for himself. And how about Randy Bullock, who has been kicking! around the league since 2012?

The backs of these cards are just plain awesome. We get to read about a highlight reel catching going for the first TD of a young receiver's career, an unsung DT who has managed to stick with the Jags much longer than many more well-known teammates, or the son of former NFLer Don Beebe making his own way through special teams. I like to see the stats of a Lawrence Guy who made 59 tackles to earn his way to cardboard immortality.

I also decided to keep the entirety of the 2019 Prizm set. I put together the 2013 version of Prizm and, after seeing it all together in a binder, decided that I wasn't the biggest Prizm fan. This year's offering, however, is much better-looking than that 2013 set. It's brighter, not so silvery-metallic, and it has a cool watermark-like design on it. But the deciding factor here was the size. With 300 cards in the base set, it includes some players (particularly defenders) that I would have missed out on in 2019 if I had only kept the smaller Absolute and Unparalleled sets.

Once again, this purchase did not include the rookies. But the base set is loaded with some big-name retired stars. Truthfully, I think I'd prefer to chase a set that left retired legends out of the base set, but with them all together already, I'll hold onto them.

Even though I just said I somewhat prefer no retired players in the base set, I decided to keep only the legends from 2019 Playoff. Ironic, I know. Actually, Playoff checks a few boxes for me. The design looks nice. The set is already numbered how I sort sets, anyway! In case you're wondering, I group them by division, starting with the AFC East, and sort the divisions by record of the previous year (the season with its stats displayed on the back). This set came in a box perfectly pre-sorted for me. But I decided not to keep it all, for a number of reasons. First, while I kind of like the design, it's not quite up to the standard I feel that Playoff has created for itself over the past few years. Second, it didn't include the rookies, so it lost out to Absolute. It didn't have the great first-time cardboard appearances that Unparalleled has. And it wasn't as inclusive as Prizm. Since I didn't want to keep all four of those sets, Playoff was squeezed out.

The inclusion of legends in the set created some strange little anomalies. For one, we have Adrian Peterson and Drew Brees, who are both part of the checklist for their current team and are a legend for their former teams. That's two active players who are sporting a different uniform in this set.

Apparently, the Panini's pool of retired greats was pretty shallow. These three players all represent the legend for two different teams. The same goes for Brett Favre, Kurt Warner, Randy Moss, and Tony Gonzalez. The Strange Case of the Playoff Legends Checklist goes on, too. Rob Gronkowski, in what is technically his sunset card, shows up as a Patriots legend. Most teams have 2 legends at the end of the team set--except for 8 random legends numbered 193-200 after the final team set. Why tack them on again at the end of the set, instead of with their teams? Some teams didn't even get two: the Bengals and Jaguars only have one apiece, while the Texans don't even get one. Then there is the matter of Eric Reid in the legend spot for the Panthers. I'm confused. Is an active player who hasn't made the Pro Bowl since his rookie season considered a legend for the Panthers? Or did they just mis-number this and include him after the legend for his team, breaking up the current player team set with one retired guy? For my set collecting purposes, I didn't count Reid as a legend, I kept only the former team cards of Brees and Peterson, and I'm even keeping the hideous Brett Favre Viking card.

Another more comprehensive set that includes a retired great for each team is Donruss. This set was voted Football Set of the Year on TCDB, but it's not my favorite. I have to admit that I like it a little more each time I see it, but I've decided to move most of it to the trade boxes. I'm keeping the Packers, any Heisman winners, and some other cards that I like, such as the Quenton Nelson above. As with other Panini sets this year, there was one head-scratcher with this checklist: every team set is grouped together. Except Washington. The Redskins are dispersed seemingly at random between other team sets. What?

I'd like to point out that when I was selecting cards to scan, I tried to find a good representation of a variety of teams, and I had to pay respects to recently retired Eli Manning.

Also, respects to Luke Kuechly, who also just retired. 2019 Elite posed an odd dilemma for me. As usual, the cards look fantastic. For three years in a row now, I've some way or another come across enough Elite to make an argument that I should try to build the set. I always pass. And now here is the entire veteran base in my possession...and I'll pass again. I just don't want to keep that many sets from one single year. It seems inevitable that one year I'll choose Elite. Or maybe this was its last, best chance and it didn't make it.

Finally, we have Prestige. Prestige has taken on a flagship-type role for Panini in my eyes over the years. Its design usually good-if-not-wonderful and its price point and availability usually draw me in and often wind up building the set. This year, though, I had already decided to chase Absolute and never opened any Prestige. And even though it's still a decent, simple set, I'm not going to hold onto any more than my typical Packers, Heisman winners, and a couple of cards that caught my interest like these two:

Darius Leonard is an absolute stud, and not enough people know his name yet. And how about that shot of Greg Zuerlein kicking off. What a great angle!

To recap: I am keeping the entire 2019 Absolute set (vets and rookies, minus autos), the veteran base of Prizm and Unparalleled, and the legends of Playoff. The rest of the Playoff set, along with any non-Packers of Donruss, Elite, and Prestige, is pretty much all available. Some things have been set aside for other people already, and a few have already been worked into TCDB trades, but it's mostly still there. Let me know what you need!

Now, it seems like there was something else to talk about here--something big--but it's just slipping my mind. Oh well. I hope you all find something enjoyable to do this weekend!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Franchise 9: Minnesota Vikings

Like many of the teams I've made, I found a pattern of eras with the Vikings. The Vikes enjoyed a great deal of success in the 70s, not so much in the 80s, some more in the late 90s, and recently. We have a few representatives from the 70s, none from the 80s, some more from the 90s, and one from the more recent teams. It's no surprise that the team success comes when there are multiple franchise greats on the field.

1. Fran Tarkenton, QB (2014 Panini Prizm)

"Fran the Scram" would fit right in in today's NFL. He fits the mold of good passing skills on a fast athlete. When he retired in 1978, he was the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns. He still leads the franchise in both of those categories. He was well-known for his ability to scramble in the pocket and make plays, making him unique in the era of dropback passing. He rushed for over 2,500 yards over his 13 seasons in Minnesota. He also quarterbacked the team to four three Super Bowl appearances.

2. Adrian Peterson, RB (2012 Score)

The Vikings all-time leading rusher, Peterson was an explosive runner every time he touched the ball. In 10 seasons with the Vikings, Peterson put up 11,747 yards and 97 touchdowns. He led the league in the former category three times and the latter twice. After tearing his MCL in December of 2011, Peterson famously returned in time for Week 1 of 2012. That season, he rushed for 2,097 yards and an NFL MVP award. Age has started to slow him down since he left Minnesota, but he is a surefire Hall of Famer and a slam dunk for this team.

3. Cris Carter, WR (1992 Impact)

Carter spent 12 seasons in Minnesota. In that time, he became the team's all-time leader in receptions (1,004), yards (12,383), and touchdowns (110). I remember him best from Tom Jackson and Chris Berman on NFL Primetime, saying, "All he does is catch touchdowns," every time he scored. And he scored a lot. He led the league in touchdowns on three separate occasions. Carter was named to the All-Decade Team of the 90s and finally got his due in the Hall of Fame in 2013.


4. Randy Moss, WR (1999 Collector's Edge Fury)

Arguably, Randy Moss was the most explosive, dangerous playmaker in NFL history. He led the league in touchdown catches five times in his career, three times while with the Vikings. While he spent only eight years in Minnesota, he made the most of his ability during that time. As a Viking, Moss made five Pro Bowls and received three of his four 1st Team All-Pro nods. He left as the team's second-leading receiver in touchdowns (92). receptions (587), and yards (9,316), averaging 15.9 yards per catch.

5. Randall McDaniel, G (1994 Ultra)

For the 1990s, Randall McDaniel was the offensive guard in the NFL. Need proof? How about 12 consecutive Pro Bowl seasons from 1989 to 2000? Or seven 1st-Team All Pros in nine seasons from 1990-1998. He was widely regarded as the best at his position. It's no surprise that he was named to the All-Decade Team for the 90s, and, later on, the Hall of Fame.

6. Carl Eller, DE (1972 Topps)

Sitting at the top of the Vikings all-time Approximate Value rankings is Carl Eller. Eller spent 15 years with the Vikings, as one of the famed Purple People Eaters. It was Eller and his mates who comprised the backbone of the Vikings squads who made four Super Bowls in the 70s. Though stats for a defender at the time are hard to come by, Eller's achievements speak volumes about his status in the league. He made six Pro Bowls and five All-Pro teams, including four straight from 1968-1971. He was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2004.

7. Alan Page, DT (2011 Upper Deck)

Alan Page, Eller's linemate, made his first Pro Bowl in 1968, the same year that Eller did. While Eller made four consecutive starting then, Page started a string of nine straight.  From 1969-1975, he was named All-Pro six times. To further demonstrate his dominance, Page was named NFL MVP in 1971. He is one of only four defensive players to win the MVP award, and the only defensive tackle to do so. The Purple People Eaters were indeed frightening, and Page most of all.

8. John Randle, DT (1994 Coca Cola Monsters of the Gridiron)

Shown here dressed as a monster, John Randle was probably scarier on the field. With his trademark face paint, Randle harrassed opposing QBs all day long. His 114 sacks pace all Vikings, though that achievement really can't be compared to some of the great defensive linemen of the Vikings' past. Randle played 11 seasons in Minnesota, all through the 90s, and was named to the All-Decade Team. He was also inducted to the Hall of Fame.

9. Paul Krause, S (1978 Topps)

Krause played a decade in Minnesota and retired 40 years ago. In all that time, nobody has surpassed his 53 interceptions for the franchise. He was voted to the Pro Bowl six times and made the All-Pro Team in 1975. That year, he picked off 10 passes and returned them for an average of 20.1 yards. He was a great ballhawk and playmaker, and another integral part of the Purple People Eaters defense.

Defense has been the name of the game for Minnesota. Players that I really wanted to include but couldn't fit in, such as Chris Doleman, Jim Marshall, Joey Browner, and Kevin Williams all played on the defensive side of the ball. Given that Doleman passed away yesterday, I truly would have loved to honor him here. And while he had a Hall of Fame career, he just couldn't get past the high standard his fellow Vikings have set, especially on the defensive line. Looking at the defensive players representing the team's most successful decade, the 1970s, it's easy to see why they were able to win four NFC titles.

Some notes on this series:
  1. This includes Super Bowl Era players only.
  2. The "nine" in Franchise 9 is to fill a page in a binder. There is no intent to fill a roster or even a starting lineup.
  3. A player can represent multiple teams.
  4. I tried to find a balance between steady producers with longevity and explosive players with shorter careers. Time with the team does count for something, as does impact with the team.
  5. For a link to Franchise 9 lists that I have already posted, click here.
  6. This is all subjective, so I'd love to hear whom you would choose!