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Lindsay Whalen: 'We Had the Star of the League'

Posted Sep 6, 2017

Before Lindsay Whalen became a three-time WNBA champion and three-time All-American at the University of Minnesota, she was actually a star wide receiver.

Well, kind of.

When the Minnesota native and Minnesota Lynx guard recently recalled memories of backyard football games, the noted Vikings fan said there was one player she tried to emulate more than any other.

“I was always a big fan of wide receivers, but once we got Randy in 1998 he was pretty much my favorite player,” Whalen said. “I’ve always been a big wide receiver fan … that was the position I played in the backyard.

“Just the fact that Randall Cunningham could go back and throw it as far as he could, and Randy Moss would go get it,” Whalen added. “With the Vikings, we had the star of the league.”

Whalen’s basketball exploits are well known around these parts.

Whalen starred for the Golden Gophers from 2000-2004, leading Minnesota to a Final Four appearance in her final season. Whalen’s No. 13 jersey is retired, and she is second in scoring in school history with 2,285 career points.

But if there was an equal passion for basketball when Whalen was growing up in Hutchinson, Minnesota, it was being a Vikings fan.

Especially when Whalen was a teenager and the Vikings used the 21st pick of the 1998 NFL Draft to select a wide receiver out of Marshall University.

“It was an unbelievable year to be a Vikings fan,” Whalen said of the 1998 season in which the Vikings went 15-1. “I was a sophomore in high school, so there were Randy Moss jerseys everywhere. Everybody was watching every Sunday.” 

Like Moss, Whalen would eventually go on to become a professional athlete in Minnesota, too.

The guard has played for the Lynx for eight of her 14 seasons and has racked up more than 2,200 career assists.

Whalen said she’ll be resting for the WNBA playoffs and won’t be able to make Moss’ induction into the Vikings Ring of Honor on Sept. 11.

But as a professional athlete herself, Whalen said she more than appreciates the career of her childhood idol.

“We’re all getting older,” Whalen said with a chuckle. “I grew up watching him, and now this is the 14th year in my career … it’s fun to reflect on the really good times I’ve had being a Vikings fan.”