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Lunchbreak: Jim Marshall (Still) Belongs in Hall of Fame


Stop me if you've heard this one before: Jim Marshall belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

A member of the Vikings Ring of Honor and cemented in Vikings lore as part of the Purple People Eaters, Marshall started 270 consecutive games, a then-NFL record, for Minnesota. The record was later broken by quarterback Brett Favre.

Year after year, the case is made for Marshall to be enshrined in Canton alongside defensive linemates Carl Eller and Alan Page.

View photos of former Vikings defensive end and Ring of Honor member, Jim Marshall, who celebrates his birthday on Dec. 30.

CBS Sports' Bryan DeArdo recently tabbed each NFL team's best player who hasn’t yet made it to the Hall of Fame, and he spotlighted Marshall for Minnesota. DeArdo wrote:

A valued member of Minnesota's "Purple People Eaters" defensive line, Marshall holds numerous NFL records that include the most seasons played by a defensive player (20, along with Junior Seau and Darrell Green), most consecutive games by a defensive player (282), most consecutive starts by a defensive player (270), and most career fumble recoveries (30). Marshall, who was still a starter at age 42, helped the Vikings win three NFC titles along with the NFL championship in 1969.

DeArdo made a secondary case for Vikings Legend Chuck Foreman, who in seven seasons with Minnesota recorded 1,533 carries for 5,887 yards and 52 rushing touchdowns. In addition, he totaled 336 catches for 3,057 yards and 23 scores through the air.

Another Viking who played during Marshall's era, running back Chuck Foreman, was also considered. The 1973 Offensive Rookie of the Year, Foreman – way ahead of his time in terms of his versatility – led the NFL in receptions in 1975 with 73.

Field Yates: Cousins will be Vikings starting QB in 2021

Every year there's plenty of speculation around the NFL's "quarterback carousel" and which teams will change up their starting passer. And for good reason, as often times there are a number of swaps around the league at that position.

View the best photos of Vikings QB Kirk Cousins from the 2020 season.

It seems likely, though, that the Vikings will have consistency there with Kirk Cousins. Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said earlier his month on Good Morning Football, "Kirk's our guy," and ESPN's Field Yates sees no reason to debate that.

Even as we're a month out from the start of the new league year on March 17, we've already seen quarterback movement and have speculated endlessly on others. Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff swapped jobs in a blockbuster trade. Carson Wentz was dealt to Indianapolis. Dak Prescott and Cam Newton are [scheduled to become] free agents. Deshaun Watson wants out of Houston.

He said the following of Minnesota:

Cousins' future has generated conversation for about five of the past six offseasons, but I really do take the Vikings at face value when they state their support of him for 2021. He's a solid starter, and the Vikings likely feel internally that fixing their defense will go a long way toward pushing them back to the playoffs in 2021.

How about the rest of the NFC North?

As stated earlier, the Lions moved on from Stafford when they traded him to the Rams and received Goff. Yates tabbed Goff as a "capable starter whom the Lions can turn to for a bridge season or two."

Yates expects Aaron Rodgers to stay right where he is, despite the QB's ambiguous comments following the Packers NFC Championship loss.

The Packers are adamant about not trading Rodgers, which is logical given that he's the reigning league MVP. He described his future following the season as a "beautiful mystery," but a raise on the remaining three years of his current deal feels far more likely than a trade.

Things could get interesting when it comes to the Bears, Yates said.

Chicago played both Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky during the 2020 season, but Yates doesn't believe either one will be the Bears starter in 2021. Rather, he opined that Chicago will trade for Jets QB Sam Darnold.

The Bears need to win right away or organizational changes seem imminent, and while Darnold has much to prove, he has supporters within the NFL that could create a trade market.

Why would Chicago be willing to commit to Darnold in a trade and (likely) a fifth-year option when the Jets wouldn't? Simple. Bears [General Manager] Ryan Pace has to be much more focused on 2021 than life beyond it. Darnold represents a likely upgrade over what the Bears have in place, and there's certainly a chance he could rise under different circumstances than what he had in New York. But honestly, it's hard to peg the Bears next starter.