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Other Former Vikings - 9/2/2007 4:06:50 PM   
Duane Sampson

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I see Stuessie is on IR - could be it for him....

< Message edited by Toby Stumbo -- 12/21/2007 1:38:08 PM >
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RE:Other Former Vikings - 9/2/2007 8:17:29 PM   
Duane Sampson

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Status: offline Former Vikings quarterback Wade Wilson, who is now the quarterbacks coach for the Dallas Cowboys has been suspended by the league for five games for taking HGH to help him treat his diabetes. Wilson spent 11 seasons (1981-91) with the Vikings. Wilson will also be fined $100,000 as a result of an “uninformed decision.” The whole thing sounds pretty harsh. Wade is and always was one of the good guys when he was with the Vikings.
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RE:Other Former Vikings - 9/2/2007 11:08:40 PM   

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[quote="Duane Sampson"] Former Vikings quarterback Wade Wilson, who is now the quarterbacks coach for the Dallas Cowboys has been suspended by the league for five games for taking HGH to help him treat his diabetes. Wilson spent 11 seasons (1981-91) with the Vikings. Wilson will also be fined $100,000 as a result of an “uninformed decision.” The whole thing sounds pretty harsh. Wade is and always was one of the good guys when he was with the Vikings.[/quote] I don't get it. Why should they care if a coach takes "performance enhancing" substances? It isn't like they are out on the field, actually performing. The only reason I could see is that they are in contact with players, but then they should be needing to prove they provided HGH, steroids, etc.
Post #: 3
RE:Other Former Vikings - 10/5/2007 2:52:23 PM   
Duane Sampson

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Notebook: Former Vikings Tearing It Up By Tim Yotter Posted Oct 5, 2007 While the current Vikings enjoy the bye week, former Vikings around the league are enjoying a resurgence in their careers with some very impressive performances (an unlikey one even doing good off the field). Plus, we look at Tampa Bay’s moves since reports of interest in trading for Mewelde Moore and look at a record Adrian Peterson is on track to break. While the Vikings enjoy their bye week, former Vikings around the league are preparing for another week of bumps and bruises in the NFL, some of them with changing roles and others coming off of impressive performances last weekend. On the field, former Vikings receiver Randy Moss leads the league with 505 yards receiving and seven touchdowns. Off the field, however, Moss has a chance to make a big impact as well. Long considered one of the bad boys of the game, Moss does appear to have a soft spot for kids. This week, Moss was announced as the official spokesperson and advocate for American Youth Football. His Grabman clothing line, which will be unveiled in December, was also named the official uniform supplier of the youth group. Moss is also launching Deep Threat Equipment, “which will include receiver gloves, compression garments, skins, skullies, headbands, wristbands and more,” according to a published report. "Giving back has always been important to me and this is an opportunity for me to make a real difference in the lives of young people, and contribute to youth football on a national level," Moss said. "AYF continues to demonstrate their commitment to children and I'm just excited to partner with them." CULPEPPER COMEBACK Daunte Culpepper’s motivation against his former team, the Miami Dolphins, may have been high, but his production was even higher. Culpepper started the game last weekend for the Oakland Raiders, and while his completion numbers weren’t all that impressive, his overall performance was incredible. Culpepper completed 5 of 12 passes for 75 yards, but two of his completions went for touchdowns – of 7 and 27 yards, and both to Jerry Porter – and he had a 102.4 quarterback rating, surpassing the 100 mark that hasn’t been reached by a Vikings quarterback yet this season. Culpepper’s ground presence also would seem to indicate his surgically repaired knee is doing fine. He rushed seven times for 28 yards and a whopping three touchdowns, meaning he accounted for all five touchdowns in Oakland’s 35-17 win over the Miami Dolphins. His 27-yard touchdown pass also demonstrated his ability to improvise and read a defense, something he was criticized for in Minnesota. "I'd like to take credit for that pass and say I drew it up that way, but I really didn't," coach Lane Kiffin said. "Daunte told J.P. (Porter) in the huddle, 'If they give you a certain look, go up.' It had to be a great throw. It was either going to be a pick or a great throw, and he nailed it. I guess he's going to want to be offensive coordinator, too." Said Porter: "It was something we had worked out based on the defense they were throwing. It was a tendency breaker." The Raiders rushed for 299 yards against the Dolphins, limiting the need for Culpepper to throw more than 12 times. FREROTTE BACK IN ACTION Former Vikings quarterback Gus Frerotte will start Sunday for the St. Louis Rams, who are also getting a new play-caller, as head coach Scott Linehan, the former Vikings offensive coordinator, is resuming those duties. Last year, Linehan stopped calling the team’s offensive plays in November, and the Rams won four of their last six games. This year, however, the Rams are 0-4 with what is considered a potent offensive lineup. Linehan said offensive coordinator Greg Olson, who had been calling the plays, will assist him in calling the game. “I think it'll be an even better situation now that we have the familiarity after working together now for a year and a half,” LInehan said. “He knows exactly what I'm looking for. He did an outstanding job for me and is an outstanding coordinator and play-caller.” Linehan also indicated that changing the play-calling duties sends a message to players that everyone is accountable, including those on the coaching staff. “I think sometimes the urgency of our offense has to improve. It's not Greg's fault, it's not the quarterback's fault, it's all of our (faults). I think when you are willing to address that as the head coach and the person that's primarily in charge of the offense, it does get the attention of the other players,” he said. “What I want them to see is a different urgency from our group – tempo and everything." Linehan said the move to start Frerotte was because starter Marc Bulger had been playing injured. "I watched the pass plays, and there was no way in my mind that some of the throws Marc missed, he would miss in his sleep," Linehan said. "I truly believe that. I don't want to be stubborn about it and stick with him. I'm very protective about Marc Bulger and what he can do. I know what he's going to do for our football team. I think it's my responsibility to see and act upon a position that's not performing at the level we expect it to perform and find out the reason why. There is no question in my mind that it's because he's in extreme discomfort as he's trying to throw and move in the pocket." ANOTHER DUTY FOR BURLESON? Former Vikings receiver Nate Burleson, who has 12 catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns for the Seattle Seahawks so far this season, could get even more action in the return game this weekend. He has 14 punt returns for 145 yards to date, but only two kickoff returns. That could change, as the Seahawks are looking to change up their kickoff return men and Burleson appears to be a prime candidate. PETERSON’S PLACEMENT Vikings rookie running back Adrian Peterson is the conference’s top rusher and aims to be the first rookie to lead the NFC in rushing yards since Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders did it in 1989 with 1,470 yards. Peterson currently has 383 yards in four games, which projects to 1,532 yards through 16 games. ABOUT THOSE RUMORS Reports of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers inquiring about a trade for Mewelde Moore may decrease, depending on the Bucs’ performance this weekend. They already were making contingency plans after the loss of Carnell “Cadillac” Williams for the season. The Bucs this week signed running back Kenneth Darby from their practice squad and replaced him on the practice squad with another Moore – running back DonTrell Moore. BRETT’S BALL Brett Favre’s record 421st touchdown pass, a 16-yard completion to Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings against the Minnesota Vikings, has made its way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, where it is displayed in a specially prepared exhibit case. The ball is displayed in the Hall’s “Pro Football Today” exhibit. ROSTER MOVE The Vikings released cornerback Mike Hawkins from their injured-reserve list.
Post #: 4
RE:Other Former Vikings - 10/5/2007 3:45:49 PM   
John Childress

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We could have used Nate Burleson this year instead of Ferguson.
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RE:Other Former Vikings - 10/5/2007 4:42:32 PM   
Lynn G.

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Long considered one of the bad boys of the game, Moss does appear to have a soft spot for kids.
You think so? We've known about that for years - how can someone just be discovering this about him?
Post #: 6
RE:Other Former Vikings - 10/5/2007 6:09:46 PM   
Jeff Jesser

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[quote="Lynn Garthwaite"]

Long considered one of the bad boys of the game, Moss does appear to have a soft spot for kids.
You think so? We've known about that for years - how can someone just be discovering this about him? They've chosen to ignore it. Heck, Fox did a special report about it while Moss was still "good". Then he became evil but now he's on the he's good again.
Post #: 7
RE:Other Former Vikings - 10/6/2007 1:16:52 AM   
Easy E


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[quote="Jeff Jesser"][quote="Lynn Garthwaite"]

Long considered one of the bad boys of the game, Moss does appear to have a soft spot for kids.
You think so? We've known about that for years - how can someone just be discovering this about him? They've chosen to ignore it. Heck, Fox did a special report about it while Moss was still "good". Then he became evil but now he's on the he's good again. It's because Randy doesn't play the media game. It's one thing I really like about him. It goes to far and he at times got to much credit for it, like the whole smokin herb thing, but by and large he doesn't care what "they" think of him. He's a real person with real flaws, but with a good side too.
Post #: 8
RE:Other Former Vikings - 12/1/2007 4:56:40 AM   


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We just saw "Benchwarmer" Bob at the bookstore. We didn't know he was going to be there; we just showed up and he happened to be there promoting a Purple Pride book with the author. He left a great impression on me as a genuinely friendly guy who's great with kids. He was supposed to be doing a drawing, and he would find out what number a kid had then root around in the jar for that ticket. Nobody complained. Everybody was completely charmed by him. My joke was that all the kids would go home thinking they'd seen Santa Claus, but he'd shaved.
Post #: 9
RE:Other Former Vikings - 12/1/2007 4:59:08 AM   
Lynn G.

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I've met Bob a couple of times too Kurtis, and he's a hoot. He's definitely the essence of a former player who continues to promote and serve the community in the name of his former team. Proud that he wore purple.
Post #: 10
RE: RE:Other Former Vikings - 1/30/2008 7:43:38 AM   
Duane Sampson

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Foreman never regrets 3 Super Bowl losses
The former running back sees the Vikings' 3 Super Bowl defeats as life lessons he won.

Andrea Adelson | Sentinel Staff Writer
January 27, 2008
You probably think Chuck Foreman has terrible Super Bowl memories. As a running back with the Minnesota Vikings, he lost all three times he made it to the biggest game in football, and the Vikings were labeled the ultimate losers.

Foreman sees things differently. He is proud to have played in three Super Bowls, proud of his teammates for the hard work they put in getting to the game, proud of his three NFC Championship rings.

"It's a once in a lifetime thing," Foreman said from Minneapolis, where he lives. "We got to do it three times. We didn't win it, but I came away a winner with lessons in life."

The Super Bowl madness started as soon as Foreman entered the league as a first-round pick out of the University of Miami in 1973. The Vikings made it to Super Bowl VIII against the Miami Dolphins, who went undefeated a year earlier.

Foreman will never forget walking into Rice Stadium in Houston as a rookie, playing in the biggest game of his life.

"Getting ready to play the game and being introduced, I don't know how to describe it, it's like your first Christmas," Foreman said. "It's a wonderful feeling."

Foreman knew the Vikings had a tough task ahead of them. The Dolphins rarely made mistakes, and they made hardly any in the game. Miami won 24-7 to take its second straight Super Bowl. Foreman was held to seven carries for 18 yards, and five catches for 27 yards.

He calls that Dolphins team, "the best one I ever played against." But still, losing the Super Bowl is tough, no matter who you play.

"I was disappointed. I gave it all I could give, and it was devastating to me. It was something I wanted really bad and I didn't get it," Foreman said.

The Vikings had another chance the following season, making Super Bowl IX against Pittsburgh in New Orleans. Minnesota kept it close, trailing 9-6 in the fourth quarter. But the Vikings' offense was shut down for most of the game, and Terry Bradshaw threw a touchdown with 3:31 left to seal a 16-6 Steelers win.

Pittsburgh held Minnesota to 119 yards of total offense, including a Super Bowl-low 17 yards rushing. Foreman had 12 carries for 18 yards, and led the team with five catches for 50 yards.

He got one more shot at the biggest victory of them all, going to Super Bowl XI against the Raiders in 1977. Oakland blew them out 32-14 in Pasadena. Foreman ended with 44 yards rushing and 62 yards receiving.

"That was probably the game that I hurt most from because I didn't think we played up to our ability," Foreman said. "I thought Oakland was a good football team, but not one that could beat us like that. I don't know as a team if we were on the same page."

Foreman retired in 1980, after spending his final season in the league with New England. He made the Pro Bowl five straight years, from 1973-77, and led the league in receptions in 1975. Foreman also ranks second in Vikings history with 5,879 career yards rushing, behind Robert Smith.

After leaving football, he stayed in Minnesota. He currently works as a teacher, owns a janitorial company and runs a program called Sound Advice for Life, where he works with at-risk kids. His years in the NFL will always stay with him, and so will those Super Bowl memories.

"I don't describe our success based on one game," he said. "Those of us who have played or given all we could give, there's no possible way you can look down on yourself because you lost."

Andrea Adelson can be reached at
Post #: 11
Other Former Vikings - 4/9/2008 10:13:17 AM   


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This is disappointing...

It's not the first time, either. I think Carl needs help, and I hope he gets it.
Post #: 12
RE: Other Former Vikings - 4/15/2008 9:23:44 AM   
Duane Sampson

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Personality disorder threatened Walker's life
Ex-UGA star recalls playing with loaded pistol while dealing with disorder
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 04/14/08

Herschel Walker, a Georgia football legend, successful businessman and father of one, said in his book "Breaking Free" and during an interview with ABC's "Nightline" that he nearly took his own life and the lives of others as he struggled with Dissociative Identity Disorder.
In the "Nightline" interview, which is scheduled for Monday night, Walker talks about playing Russian roulette with a loaded gun at his kitchen table shortly after his retirement from football in 1998.
"To challenge death like I was doing, you start saying, there's a problem here," Walker said in the interview.
The interview coincides with today's release of Walker's book, which chronicles Walker's lifelong struggle with DID and his therapy since being diagnosed in 2002. Since that time, Walker has worked with Dr. Jerry Mungadze to understand the disease, in which alternate personalities aid a person who is dealing with traumatic events.
In the prologue of Walker's book, he describes how a business deal over the delivery of a car so enraged him that he checked his glove box for his Beretta while driving to the meeting.
"The logical side of me knew that what I was thinking of doing to this man — murdering him for messing up my schedule — wasn't a viable alternative," Walker wrote. "But another side of me was so angry that all I could think was how satisfying it would feel to step out of the car, pull out the gun, slip off the safety and squeeze the trigger.
"It would be no different from sighting on targets I'd fired at for years — except for the visceral enjoyment I'd get from seeing the small entry wound and the spray of brain tissue and blood — like a Fourth of July fireworks — exploding behind him."
His former wife, Cindy Grossman, told ABC how Walker put a gun to her temple.
"There was somebody there that was evil," Grossman told ABC.
Walker, 46, started writing the book three years ago as a way to reach out to others with DID. Before word started to leak about the impending publication of "Breaking Free," friends and family were unaware of Walker's diagnosis. And the diagnosis is somewhat controversial. Many in the psychiatric profession feel alternative personalities can be implemented by therapists as way to mask other feelings.
"My goal is to help bring freedom to the lives of those who have it and understanding to those who have never experienced it," Walker said.
Those who have DID have experienced a traumatic event or events in their lives, such as abuse. Walker makes it clear in his book that he was never physically, mentally or sexually abused as a child in his home. He was bullied at school and made fun of for a speech impediment and being overweight as a child.
Walker will be at the UGA Bookstore on Friday from 12:20 p.m.-2 p.m. for a book signing.
Post #: 13
RE: Other Former Vikings - 4/30/2008 7:10:55 AM   
Duane Sampson

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Jerry Burns Tirade
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RE: Other Former Vikings - 7/29/2008 9:33:34 AM   
Stacey King

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DENVER (AP) — When John Elway finally hoisted a Super Bowl trophy in the twilight of his career, much of the credit went to running back Terrell Davis.

Yet the one protecting Elway's blind side and anchoring the stellar offensive line that opened all those holes for Davis was Gary Zimmerman, who will join Elway in the Pro Football Hall of Fame with his induction Saturday.

"Gary was the best left tackle I ever saw play the game," Elway told The Associated Press. "His strength and athleticism were exceptional. He understood the game and was as tough as I have ever seen, also.
"He practically played his last year one-armed because of a bad shoulder. He was a classic left tackle and very deserving of his election to the Hall of Fame."

Zimmerman will join Elway as the only Broncos enshrined in Canton, Ohio. Hall of Famers Tony Dorsett and Willie Brown played in Denver, too, but they had their best seasons elsewhere.

Zimmerman began his career with the L.A. Express of the USFL before reporting to the Minnesota Vikings, where he began a streak of 169 straight starts that lasted until 1996, when surgery sidelined him. He was traded to Denver in 1993 and retired after helping the Broncos win the Super Bowl following the 1997 season.

He was one of just a handful of players chosen for two NFL all-decade teams, the 1980s and 1990s; earned first- or second-team All-Pro honors eight times; and was selected to play in seven Pro Bowls.

At the team party following the Broncos' 31-24 Super Bowl win over heavily favored Green Bay, owner Pat Bowlen asked Zimmerman if he'd be back the next year to help defend the title.

"He said, 'No, Mr. B., I'd be stealing your money. I don't feel I can play anymore. I'm retiring,'" recounted Bowlen, who will present Zimmerman into the Hall.

"It was kind of a storybook ending there for me," Zimmerman said.

Going out on top, champagne and the Vince Lombardi trophy in hand.

"I thought I could change his mind," Bowlen said.

Nothing doing, Zimmerman retired to his land near Bend, Ore., to enjoy his family, the outdoors and all the memories of so many Sundays making sure his quarterback didn't get dirty.

"His man never touched the quarterback. That makes you a great player," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "He just took great pride in not allowing his man to make plays. His man never did. He was just tough, he was hard-nosed, he loved to play the game."

Shanahan said he remembers Zimmerman separating a shoulder against the Raiders one time and refusing to come out of the game.

"He said, 'When No. 7 comes out, I'll come out,'" Shanahan recounted. "Old school, tough guy, never said anything to anybody, but just worked his rear end off."

"Gary was the consummate pro," Bowlen said. "He brought a discipline in here to the offensive line that we'd never seen before. He was the mainstay of that offensive line that won Super Bowl XXXII."

Zimmerman was one of the original quiet men on Denver's offensive line who vowed to let their play on the field do the talking. Which makes it ironic that Zimmerman is having a hard time trimming his acceptance speech.
"For the first time in my life I have too much to say," he said.

Brian Habib, a former offensive lineman who played alongside Zimmerman in Minnesota and Denver, said Zimmerman had a rare combination of superb athleticism and an unrelenting work ethic.

"There are guys who try hard, like me, and I was relentless, but I wasn't a good athlete," Habib said. "And there are guys who rely on their talents, but don't try hard to get better. Gary had more talent than anyone and also outworked everybody. That's what separates guys like Gary from the rest of us."

Randall McDaniel, who played with Zimmerman on the Vikings' heralded lines of the late '80s and early '90s, called Zimmerman "a technician. He did everything right. He wasn't the biggest tackle, but he did everything right."

Not in Zimmerman's mind.

"I hear people who are bulimic, they see themselves as fat. When I was playing, I saw myself as not good enough, so I always tried to be better," Zimmerman said. "I could watch people and think they did a good job but then watch myself, and I was like kind of embarrassed, so I tried to work harder."

That's what paved his road to greatness.

"When you have that different mind-set that you've got to go out and prove yourself every day because you are such a perfectionist, it gives you a chance to get better," Shanahan said. "You get an overachiever with great ability, and then you've got a Hall of a Fame player, and that's what we've got."

Although Zimmerman played more seasons in Minnesota, he declared, "my loyalty is to the Denver Broncos."
He felt the Mile High City was a breath of fresh air after toiling for the Vikings' old 13-member ownership group, an awkward setup that fostered a less-than-friendly relationship with the hired help. Zimmerman thought it was that way everywhere until he landed in Denver with its frenzied football fan base and an owner who took the time to forge a friendship with his players.

"When I went to Denver it's like the dog who gets put to the pound and you get a new owner and the loyalty is to that new owner and the owner treats you good," Zimmerman said. 

< Message edited by Stacey King -- 7/29/2008 9:46:29 AM >
Post #: 15
RE: Other Former Vikings - 8/25/2008 2:13:43 PM   
Lynn G.

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In the playbook that is on each Metrodome seat for every game, they always feature a Viking player and give a little peek into his home life, hobbies, etc.

In the issue for the Pittsburgh preseason game last Saturday, they featured FORMER Viking Robert Griffith and titled the article "Coming Full-Circle."  I had been glad to hear that he wanted to retire as a Viking, and was especially pleased by the following excerpt:


After his contract expired following the 2001 season, Griffith became an unrestricted free agent and signed with the Cleveland Browns, where he played for three seasons before finishing out his playing career for two years with the Arizona Cardinals and Coach Green.  He played his last NFL game on December 31, 2006.

"In hindsight," Griffith said, "I never should have left Minnesota if I could do it all over again."

Griffith was able to correct that situation by signing a one-day contract with the Vikings this past June and officially retiring the next day, symbolically finishing his career in the place where it all began.

I always love to hear when players speak well of their stint with the Vikings.


Put our country back in the hands of people who actually want to do things to help everyday citizens. Elect Democrats.
Post #: 16
RE: Other Former Vikings - 9/23/2008 2:44:42 PM   

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# 58
Rest in Peace.
You were a True Viking
One of my all-time favorites.
Post #: 17
RE: Other Former Vikings - 9/23/2008 2:58:48 PM   
Lynn G.

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Very sad, the loss of Wally Hilgenberg.

There was a good interview with him this summer in which he showed a very upbeat attitude in spite of the Lou Gehrig's disease.   The good thing is that many of his former teammates spent a lot of time with him in recent months and years.   They seem like a close-knit group.


Put our country back in the hands of people who actually want to do things to help everyday citizens. Elect Democrats.
Post #: 18
RE: Other Former Vikings - 9/23/2008 8:58:38 PM   
Duane Sampson

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# 58
Rest in Peace.
You were a True Viking
One of my all-time favorites.

Well said, my brotha.... peace WH. You rock!
Post #: 19
RE: Other Former Vikings - 9/23/2008 9:02:51 PM   
Duane Sampson

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Hilgenberg dies; tribute revisited

Wally Hilgenberg
By Tim Yotter
Posted Sep 23, 2008

Former Vikings linebacker Wally Hilgenberg died Tuesday morning at his home surrounded by family. In January, Hilgenberg testified publicly about his faith while battling ALS. We revisit that story.

Former Vikings linebacker Wally Hilgenberg knew in January that it would be a matter of months or maybe even a year before a terrible disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, would take his life. On Tuesday morning that happened at the age of 66.

Just over nine months ago, Hilgenberg addressed a crowd of about 1,000 people in an Edina ballroom and talked of his deep faith while dealing with the disease. What follows is a story that ran on in January detailing Hilgenberg’s passionate and sometimes emotional address to the audience. We hope you see this as a tribute to the man that Wally Hilgenberg became after his playing career.

Hilgenberg testifies during trying times
By Tim Yotter
Jan. 17, 2008

Former Vikings linebacker Wally Hilgenberg relied on the toughness he learned as a football player to sustain him Thursday morning while he talked about his faith in the face of his terminal disease.

Wally Hilgenberg stood tall on Thursday morning even though he never left his wheelchair. Hilgenberg, the former number 58 for the Minnesota Vikings, was honored at a Search Ministries breakfast for his courage on the football field in the 1960s and ’70s and his more recent courage and conviction of faith while dealing the debilitating and terminal illness ALS.

In a two-hour event emceed by former Vikings linebacker Jeff Siemon, a handful of Hilgenberg’s former teammates presented video highlights of his career and regaled the approximately 1,000 people in attendance with stories of old No. 58 while he and his teammates spoke of their faith.

Hilgenberg was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease in November 2006.

The linebacker, known for his immense toughness on the field during the Vikings’ glory years and four Super Bowl runs and his clothesline tackles, said his diagnosis “was a blindside for me,” but Hilgenberg didn’t make the appearance to be honored as much as he did to profess his faith in God even while his body fails him.

“He is the author and he is the finisher of every good thing,” Hilgenberg said from a wheelchair on the stage of the packed ballroom. “My heart is still good and my heart is still strong for the Lord.”

During his playing days, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound right linebacker registered 748 tackles in 157 games for Minnesota. For 18 years, he held a franchise record with 13 assisted tackles in 1972 that stood until Scott Studwell matched it.

Hilgenberg’s determination on the field was remembered by those in attendance as well. Some attended the breakfast as part of regular attendance for Search Ministries while others were there to honor the linebacker while thinking of their own loved ones affected by ALS. Hilgenberg’s toughness during his playing days no doubt helped him to share his thoughts in the face of a terminal disease.

“This is different than a heart attack,” he said. “You’ve got time to think about your mortality. You’ve got time to think about your relationships. … It’s not so important when you go, but where you go.”

Hilgenberg, who even off the field made a point to line up with his linebacker teammates in the same order they appeared on the field, said he went duck hunting last year with Roy Winston and Lonnie Warwick. He joined those two in the Vikings’ starting lineup in 1968 and spent three years with all three of them together – numbers 58 (Hilgenberg), 59 (Warwick) and 60 (Winston).

Before the disease had robbed him of so many of his physical abilities, the three set out on their hunting trip. Throughout the trip, his former teammates expressed their concern over his physical condition. When he returned, it was Hilgenberg who said he made the call to Warwick to express his concern about his teammate’s spirituality, saying he wanted numbers 58, 59 and 60 to spend eternity together.

Hilgenberg said the outpouring of support has been incredible, not just from the Vikings – with a surprise call from former owner Red McCombs – but also from past rivals like Mike Ditka, Lem Barney and Jim Otto.

Siemon did a video interview with Hilgenberg days before Thursday’s event because they were unsure if old number 58 would be in a condition to speak much during the live event. He was, and he was inspiring. The tough old linebacker was able to talk through most of his emotions without a tear running down his face or a crack in the voice – until it came to discussing the most difficult part of the disease.

“The hardest thing for me right now is that I can’t stand up and hug (my wife Mary) with a masculine hug,” Hilgenberg said, pausing during that sentence to compose himself.

ALS has robbed him of full use of his arms, but it was Mary who helped him to faith, which was the focus of much of this event. During the twilight of his career, he recalls re-entering Met Stadium shortly after a win that helped get the team into the playoffs once again. Forty-five minutes previous, he said the stadium was so lively and now when he went back to sit in the bleachers to think about the win, the stadium was not just cold and empty.

“I looked at my wife and said, ‘That’s a lot like my life,’” Hilgenberg recalled.

Mary said she had been trying to tell him that feeling was because he was missing Christ in his life. She had come to faith six months before and prodded him to start thinking about it. Wally recalled sitting in a hotel room during a road game and finally getting out his King James Bible and started to really feel connected to his faith.

That’s now something he leans on heavily.

“Being in a wheelchair is an inconvenience,” he said. “Not knowing Christ is a handicap.”

And there was a significant portion of his playing days when he was more concerned with football and the fame it brought than he was about faith. Hilgenberg was known as a hellion for much of his time with the Vikings, from 1968-79, after spending two seasons with the Detroit Lions and a non-playing stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“Wally was the one I learned the most from because he was a cheap-shot (artist),” said running back Chuck Foreman, who claims he learned to avoid tacklers because of the hard-nosed defense he faced every day in practice.

And now? “Wally Hilgenberg is one of the finest men I’ve had the privilege to be associated with in my life. He’s a great man,” Foreman said.

Foreman also recalled Hilgenberg being a reason the running back got sick one night before training camp after a bit too much carousing. Linebacker Matt Blair, who joined the Vikings in the middle of Hilgenberg’s career, remembered old number 58 as a jokester.

Paul Krause recalled their days together at the University of Iowa, where both of them started out as quarterbacks. But “I couldn’t throw and he couldn’t run,” Krause quipped.

Hilgenberg’s running days are over, but Thursday morning he was running with an opportunity to promote the faith he embraced about 30 years ago, encouraging others to join him for one final party after his life is over.

“That banquet table is going to be a lot better than those losing Super Bowl parties,” he said. “Don’t miss that party because it’s going be pretty good and it’s going to be pretty long.”
Post #: 20
RE: Other Former Vikings - 9/24/2008 1:12:47 AM   
Wally Hilgenberg graduated from the same HS I did....

I seem to recall he held a record in shot put...


I am collecting for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in memory of my fiance who passed away on 9/9/2006. If anyone would like to donate just go to Any and all donations will be greatly appreciated.
  Post #: 21
RE: Other Former Vikings - 9/24/2008 10:40:18 PM   

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Great stuff from Reusse on Wally.....

And in all of Wally's 131 starts (including playoffs), the man lined up in front of him at end was Jim Marshall.
Last weekend, Marshall was married and many teammates as well as coaches (including Bud Grant) were in attendance. Three days after that festive event, Marshall received the call that his partner from the right side of one of the NFL's greatest defenses had died.
Marshall answered the phone at midafternoon. He was inconsolable and asked a reporter to call back.
Later, the NFL's all-time ironman said: "We lined up together for every game, and for every practice, for all those years. We relied on each other on the field, but it was in our personal lives where we were close.
"I'm always linked with Alan [Page] and Carl [Eller], as it should be, but Wally was as close a friend as I had with the Vikings. Our lives were intertwined. Those Vikings teams ... our families grew up together."
There weren't many players as unpopular with opponents as Hilgenberg. He was always looking to take the extra shot.
Marshall laughed when this was mentioned and said: "He would always come out fired up, ready to lead us into a fight. Or start one."
Winston said, "The tight ends would shift over to my side of the field and would say, 'Why don't you tell your buddy to play fair?'
"The one hit I've never forgotten involved Charlie Sanders, the great tight end in Detroit. He was going across the middle and I saw Wally running from the other side. My reaction was, 'This isn't going to be pretty.'
"Wally clotheslined him. Poor Charlie was knocked out and Wally was standing there, yelling, 'Lights out, you son of a gun,' although what he really said wasn't that nice."
Post #: 22
RE: Other Former Vikings - 10/29/2009 1:37:48 PM   
Lynn G.

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Joined: 7/15/2007
Status: offline
Another former Viking in a tough medical situation:


Ex-Viking's dying wish: Return home one last time

My most distinct memory of Earsell Mackbee is of the comically awful job he did in tv ads. He was SO bad reading the cue cards (pre-teleprompter days) that he couldn't even read his own name without the help:

"My name is Earsell ...

(eyes move to the next line on the cue cards)

... Mackbee."

I hope he is able to get home again.


Put our country back in the hands of people who actually want to do things to help everyday citizens. Elect Democrats.
Post #: 23
RE: Other Former Vikings - 10/29/2009 2:10:21 PM   
Tim Cady


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I caught a snipet on WCCO last regarding Orlando Thomas and possibly that he is dead or missing. I have been away from computers and news today, anyone hear anything about this?
Post #: 24
RE: Other Former Vikings - 10/29/2009 2:21:15 PM   
Lynn G.

Posts: 32538
Joined: 7/15/2007
Status: offline

Orlando Thomas has been suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease for a number of years and, according to reports, is in very bad shape. Yesterday there was an erroneous report that he had died, but it was corrected later. He has not died, but continues to be in the advanced stages of ALS.

According to the guy on who first reported his death - they had gotten their information from Thomas' alma mater. It's unclear how HE got it wrong, and it was an embarrassing mistake.

< Message edited by Lynn G. -- 10/29/2009 2:28:05 PM >


Put our country back in the hands of people who actually want to do things to help everyday citizens. Elect Democrats.
Post #: 25
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