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Lunchbreak: CBS Sports Makes Case for Vikings 'Franchise 5' Icons


The Vikings are scheduled to play their 60th season in the NFL this fall, a stretch that has seen the franchise establish itself as one of the most consistent teams across the league.

Minnesota's all-time record is 488-403-11 in regular seasons for a win percentage of .547 that ranks seventh among all 32 teams.

Hundreds of Vikings players and coaches have contributed to that success, but a few stand out among the rest. Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports recently put together the ‘Franchise Five’ for the Vikings, which is a coach, quarterback and three other players who were the most impactful in team history.

Benjamin's list was made up of head coach Bud Grant, quarterback Fran Tarkenton, wide receiver Randy Moss, running back Adrian Peterson and defensive tackle Alan Page.

Benjamin said Grant's leadership helped form the culture of the franchise in its formative years. The Hall of Famer went 158-96-5 in his 18 regular seasons in Minnesota.

View photos of the top 10 receivers of all-time for the Vikings.

Benjamin wrote:

There is absolutely no competition for Grant in this department. A local guy who graduated from Minnesota, he went straight from a playing career to a head coaching role in 1957, with the Canadian Football League's Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and rivaled his pristine CFL record running the Vikes for the better part of two decades.

After a 3-8-3 debut, Grant led the team to 11 NFC Central titles in 13 years, establishing the Vikings as a true conference power. Four Super Bowl appearances in his first nine seasons couldn't net him a ring, but his teams' remarkable annual consistency is comparable to what Andy Reid did in Philadelphia and Kansas City decades later, making him one of the most accomplished coaches in football history.

Page was the lone defensive player on the list, but he was also the first defensive player to ever win the NFL MVP award. Page was also a four-time NFC Defensive Player of the Year.

View photos of the top 10 rushing leaders of all-time for the Vikings.

Benjamin wrote:

One of just 11 Vikings to [help the Vikings] appear in all four of the team's Super Bowls, Page is best known as one of the defining members of the "Purple People Eaters," the 1960-70s defensive line that helped fuel Minnesota to NFC dominance. A nine-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro honoree, he's also a two-time Defensive Player of the Year recipient and one of just two defenders to win NFL MVP since 1971.

Unofficially credited with six different double-digit sack seasons and 238 straight game appearances, Page went into the Hall of Fame in 1988 and is still regarded as one of the best interior D-linemen to ever take the field. As a bonus, he remains a staple of the Minnesota community, serving as a state Supreme Court judge from 1993-2015.

View photos of the Vikings top defensive tacklers of all-time.

Moss is perhaps the most electrifying player on the list, as he ranks second all-time with 156 touchdown catches. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018.

Moss wasted no time carving out a career as one of the best deep threats of all time, averaging a whopping 19 yards per catch while scoring a league-leading 17 touchdowns as a rookie, then proceeded to post five more 1,200-yard seasons in the next five years.

Moss led the NFL in TD catches two more times with Minnesota, including during a 111-catch, 1,632-yard showcase in 2003.

Benjamin noted that Tarkenton "was one of the biggest reasons for the Vikings' 1970s surge, not to mention one of the league's first dominant dual-threat QBs." And he added that Peterson "wasn't just the best Vikings RB of all time but one of the best to ever play the game."

Cris Carter, Randall McDaniel, Carl Eller, John Randle and Paul Krause were listed as honorable mentions.

Zimmer Foundation makes special donation

The Mike Zimmer Foundation was created to honor the life of Zimmer's late wife, Vikki, who passed away unexpectedly in October of 2009 at the age of 50.

Vikki would have celebrated her 61st birthday on Tuesday, and her family chose to honor her with a special donation.

The Mike Zimmer Foundation has given back to the Twin Cities community in various ways throughout the years, including youth football camps, holiday shopping sprees and hospital visits.

The foundation also recently announced the 2020 Mike Zimmer Foundation MVP scholarship recipients, as three Minnesota high school seniors will receive a $10,000 (one-time, non-renewable) scholarship toward postsecondary education.