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A Golf Shot & Family Influence Fueled John Randle's Foray into Food Biz

View images of John Randle's new sports bar "Randle's" in downtown Minneapolis.

John Randle hit a great shot and decided to give something else a try.

Randle was on the golf course with Twin Cities restauranteur Michael McDermott and put the ball on the green from 240 yards out. Prior to the backswing, thump and follow-through, he told himself it would be the perfect time to partner with McDermott, if the golf shot was good.

The partnership between Randle and McDermott for Randle's Restaurant and Bar was born, and they began working on revamping the former Ling & Louie's on Nicollet Mall, which will be the scene of multiple events for Super Bowl LII.

"Through our relationship with John Randle and the Minnesota Vikings, we have created a premium sports bar in downtown Minneapolis," McDermott said. "Randle's will be in the heart of Super Bowl Live during the week of Super Bowl 52."

Randle isn't the owner of Randle's, but he does carry an owner's pride and a domain name, johnrandles.com. The Hall of Fame defensive tackle works with McDermott on marketing, food offerings and décor.

The restaurant partners with KFAN 100.3-FM to host Monday Night Football watch party events, and Randle's is planning a variety of events with the Vikings during Super Bowl LII.

While the timing of the decision was prompted by performance on the links, the desire to have the family name on the restaurant is rooted in Randle's youth in Texas.

"One of the reasons I did this was because of my mom, who was one of the greatest cooks in the world," Randle recently told Vikings.com. "When we had time to kill, she was great about using her imagination. She would talk about if she had a restaurant, what she'd do with it. Not so much about the food. She was talking about having her name on the restaurant.

"As a kid, my mom was my idol. This is more or less for her," Randle added. "To have our name on a restaurant means so much to me and my two older brothers. For a lady who was so great, who made the best meals out of literally nothing; this goes to my mom."

Randle's decision was encouraged by his daughter.

"She told me, 'Dad, you should do it. You've got a lot of extra energy and you need to take some of your energy from the golf course and put it other places,' " Randle said. "My daughter is such a gifted athlete, but she's also such a gifted artist. I could see her having some paintings in the restaurant. She's so gifted and reminds me of my mom."

Randle initially tried out with the Buccaneers, for whom his brother, Ervin, played six seasons after his selection in the third round of the 1985 NFL Draft. John wound up signing with the Vikings in 1990 as an undrafted free agent and recorded 114 of his 137.5 career sacks in 11 seasons with Minnesota, including 9.0 in 22 games against Tampa Bay.

He was surprised to learn that the 2017 Vikings roster includes 20 players who entered the league as undrafted free agents. Randle said not being drafted fueled him, and he thinks that can help other players who were undrafted.

"A lot of times for undrafted guys, it's a quality that makes you play harder," Randle said. "You feel that nobody thought you were good enough to be in the NFL. So free agent guys carry a chip on their shoulders and play extra hard."

Randle wasn't driven by obtaining accolades such as the Vikings Ring of Honor or Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he does appreciate both designations.

"To be in such gratitude to the organization that you played so hard for, to be recognized for all of your honor and hard work, it's a special treat because you're doing it in front of all your fans," Randle said. "I'm almost getting teary-eyed thinking about it."

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