Cris Carter Elected To Pro Football Hall of Fame

Posted Feb 2, 2013

More Coverage
Video: Carter's Career Highlights >>
Photo Gallery: Carter's Career As A Viking >>
Blog: Fellow Hall Of Famers, Peers Respond To Carter’s HOF Induction >>
Blog: He’s In! Cris Carter Elected To Hall Of Fame >>

Cris Carter dazzled NFL fans for 16 seasons (1987-2002) with sensational one-handed grabs, clutch first-down receptions and breath-taking touchdowns. His ability to consistently perform at a high level allowed him to accumulate legendary statistics, and now also has him placed among the NFL’s immortals.

On Saturday in New Orleans, site of this year’s Super Bowl, Carter was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013. Joining Carter in the 2012 class are: Larry Allen, Curley Culp, Jonathan Ogden, Bill Parcells, Dave Robinson and Warren Sapp.

Carter will join 11 other former Vikings in the Pro Football Hall of Fame at his induction ceremony, which will take place in Canton, Ohio on August 3, 2013. This is the second consecutive year and the sixth in the last eight years that the Vikings have had a former player elected to the Hall of Fame (Cris Carter-2013, Chris Doleman-2012, John Randle-2010, Randall McDaniel-2009, Gary Zimmerman-2008, Warren Moon-2006).

“The Vikings are thrilled that Cris has been selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” said Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf. “For over a decade Cris entertained Vikings fans with his trademark great catches and competitiveness, as he became one of the most beloved players in franchise history. Cris represented the Vikings organization in a first-class manner both on and off the field. We appreciate his place in Minnesota Vikings history, and we look forward to seeing him enshrined in Canton later this year.”

A fourth-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1987 supplemental draft, Carter’s early career was tumultuous. He was productive on the field – 89 receptions for 1,450 yards and 19 touchdowns in three seasons with Philadelphia – but found adversity off the field, leading the Eagles to cut Carter just before his fourth season.

The Vikings quickly claimed Carter in early September of 1990 and the rest, as they say, is history. While in Minnesota, Carter turned his life and career around and eventually became the team’s leader. He was a recipient of the Byron “Whizzer” White Award from the NFLPA and he was also named the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 1999.

“Cris Carter was as productive as any receiver in the mid-90s and his numbers prove that,” Tony Dungy said. “He played the slot position as well as anyone. In terms of purely catching the football, I haven’t seen anybody in my time better than Cris Carter.”

Opposing players had similar respect for Carter.

“Cris is one of the best receivers to ever play our game,” fellow Hall of Famer Deion Sanders said. “His hands, route running and big play ability separated him from others at his position. It was always a challenge physically and mentally to play against him.”

Carter spent 12 seasons (1990-2001) with the Vikings and crafted a brilliant career that ultimately earned him a place with the NFL’s other greats in Canton, Ohio. He was a part of Vikings teams that suffered losing seasons only twice in 12 seasons, made the playoffs eight times in his final 10 Vikings seasons, and his teams were 76-29 (including playoffs) in games in which he caught a touchdown.

Although the team’s results fluctuated during Carter’s tenure with the Vikings, his production remained consistent. Carter played in 188 games as a Viking, starting 177 of them, and he played in all 16 games of a season 11 times in 12 seasons with the Vikings. He was named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team, earned eight straight Pro Bowls from 1993-2000 and was selected as an All-Pro four times. Carter also helped three quarterbacks earn Pro Bowl berths – Randall Cunningham, Warren Moon and Daunte Culpepper – and he made the playoffs eight times with seven different passers in Minnesota.

“I played with a lot of prominent receivers, but Cris Carter was by far the most talented and competitive,” Moon, also a Pro Football Hall of Famer, said. “Having Cris was like having another quarterback on the field. He was such a great student of the game and knew defenses and routes better than anyone I played with. He was able to take advantage of opponents because of how much work he put in during the week. He wanted the ball in clutch situations and made big plays when they counted most.”

Carter’s unmatched skills, durability and tireless work ethic allowed him to re-write the Vikings record book and establish marks that won’t be challenged for years to come. He is the franchise leader in receptions (1,004), receiving yards (12,383) and receiving touchdowns (110), and he set a franchise record with a reception in 111 consecutive games. Carter caught 122 passes in consecutive seasons (1994 and 1995) and holds the Vikings record for career 100-yard receiving games with 40. He was inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor and had his #80 jersey retired on September 14, 2003.

For his career, Carter totaled 1,101 receptions for 13,899 yards and 130 TDs. His receptions and touchdown totals still rank him fourth all-time and his eight total Pro Bowl selections are tied for second-most all-time. No one had more receptions (779) or touchdowns (90) from 1993-2000 than Carter and only Tim Brown had more receiving yards than Carter’s 9,456 during the same time period.

Known for his durability, Carter played full 16-game seasons in 13 of his 16 years in the NFL, had 10 or more touchdowns in a season six times and led the NFL in receiving touchdowns three times (1995, 1997, and 1999). He recorded 70 or more catches in a season 10 times and had 100-yard receiving games 42 times during his career.

Fittingly, Carter’s first career reception in the NFL was a 22-yard touchdown. The phrase “All he does is catch touchdowns” was often associated with Carter during his playing career and it’s a mantra that remains attached to Carter to this day. When he retired, his 130 touchdowns were second-most in NFL history. Scoring touchdowns turned out to be something for which Carter became known during his NFL career, and it will surely become that for which he is remembered now that he’s deservedly placed among the NFL’s all-time greats at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Carter's Career Milestones

  • Carter was a part of teams that suffered losing seasons only 2 times in his 16 NFL seasons
  • The Vikings made the playoffs 8 times in his final 10 seasons with the team
  • Carter’s teams were 76-29, including playoffs, in games when he caught a touchdown
  • 1st NFL game, catch and TD- 11/1/87 at St. Louis; 22-yard TD reception from Randall Cunningham
  • Caught 100th career TD- 12/20/98 vs. Jacksonville; 1-yard TD reception from Brad Johnson
  • Caught 1,000th career pass- 11/30/00 vs. Detroit; 4-yard TD reception from Daunte Culpepper
  • Named 1999 Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner and 1999 Byron “Whizzer” White Award winner
  • Honored as Athletes in Action Bart Starr Award winner in 1997 and True Value Man of the Year runner-up
  • Named to NFL’s Team of the Decade for the 1990s with fellow WRs Jerry Rice, Michael Irvin and Tim Brown
  • Selected to 8 consecutive Pro Bowls following the 1993, ‘94, ‘95, ‘96, ‘97, ‘98, ‘99, ‘00 seasons
  • Helped 3 QBs earn Pro Bowl berths - Randall Cunningham ‘88, ‘89, ‘98; Warren Moon ‘94, ‘95; Daunte Culpepper ‘00
  • Inducted into Vikings Ring of Honor and had #80 jersey retired- 9/14/03 vs. Chicago