EAGAN, Minn. — The late Dennis Green will be inducted to the Vikings Ring of Honor, the team announced on Monday.
who passed away in July of 2016 at the age of 67, was the Vikings Head
Coach from 1992 to 2001. He won 97 regular-season games with Minnesota,
which ranks second in franchise history.
Green’s teams won division titles four times and advanced to the NFC Championship Game after the 1998 and 2000 seasons.
Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf and Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf delivered the news to Green’s widow, Marie, in a surprise announcement Friday morning at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.
Marie let out a gasp and simply said, ‘Wow!’ when the Wilfs told her the news with her daughter, Patti, at her side.
“[It’s] very emotional, clearly,” Green said with a laugh and some tears in her eyes. “I’m so honored for my husband, and this is an honor that is well-deserved. I just wish he could have accepted it himself.
“I think that he would be very humbled. And he would be extremely proud of how the franchise has progressed to an amazing facility like this,” Green later added. “I think he’d be really honored and very proud to be in the Ring of Honor.”
Green will be the 24th member of the Vikings Ring of Honor, and will be inducted at halftime of Minnesota’s Week 3 home game against the Buffalo Bills at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Wilfs made the announcement in the lobby of TCO Performance Center as they gave a tour of the facility to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who was also on hand for the news.
“We wanted to thank you for coming to Minnesota on this special day,” Zygi Wilf told the Greens. “Our ownership group and the Vikings organization has great respect, appreciation and admiration for your late husband. He made his mark beyond coaching.”
Mark Wilf added: “Coach Green was really a special role model for our players. He was a father figure and paved the way for future African-America head coaches. He implemented the ‘Community Tuesday’ program, and we’re very proud of his great legacy in the NFL. Both on the field and off the field, he’s such a special part of our family. He’ll forever be synonymous with the Minnesota Vikings.”
Green became the second African-American head coach in the modern NFL and third overall when he was hired in 1992. He will be the third former head coach in the Vikings Ring of Honor, along with Bud Grant and Jerry Burns.
Green made the playoffs in eight of 10 seasons in Minnesota, with his most memorable campaign coming in 1998.
The Vikings went 15-1 that season and reached the NFC Championship as Minnesota’s offense racked up 556 points, which set an NFL record at the time.
“This kind of took me by surprise today. I had hoped that someday this would happen,” Marie Green said. “Of course, this is the 20th anniversary of his most successful season, being 15-1.
“In my mind, it made sense, and I’m just so glad that the Vikings agreed,” Green added. “It’s very exciting, and I’m beyond happy and honored.”
Green won double-digit games five times while with the Vikings and captured four division titles along the way.
But Marie Green said her late husband’s philosophy was more than wins and losses, noting that he always enjoyed the journey along the way.
“He really loved to teach. I know that he took a lot of pride in coaching the scout team … that was kind of his thing,” Marie Green said. “It was a great way to get to know the guys at that level and really make an impact and teach them and get them to the next level. That was really his favorite part.”