Vikings players have a well-earned off-day from training camp Wednesday (that's also part of the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement). The lull, however, makes it a good time to revisit players who rarely, if ever, took a day off.
With Mick Tingelhoff, who never missed a start in 17 seasons with the Vikings (240 regular season games), set to be enshrined at the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Mark Craig of the Star Tribune took a look at other ironmen who have worn the Purple for all or parts of their careers.
Craig caught up with quarterback Brett Favre via email to ask the one statistic "he treasures most" during his 20 seasons in the NFL.
"Consecutive starts by far means the most," Favre said. "Without it, the others never would have happened."
On the NFL's list of consecutive regular-season starts, Favre ranks No. 1 at 297. He will live the rest of his life insisting the record book should read 321 because of the 24 additional starts he made in the playoffs.
*That's an NFL ironman for you. Never willing to give away a start. *
Thirteen players in NFL history started at least 200 consecutive regular-season games. Five of them are former Vikings, including Favre, the Packers great whose final 28 starts were posted in purple from 2009 to '10.
Jim Marshall (270) and Tingelhoff (240) rank second and third on the consecutive starts list, and Alan Page (215) and Randall McDaniel (202), who both visited Vikings training camp this week, rank sixth and 13th, respectively.
"You look at the numbers that Brett and Mick and Jim Marshall put up and shake your head," Vikings center John Sullivan, the team's current leader in consecutive starts with 57, told Craig. "It's amazing that they were able to play like that week in and week out because it's not like they weren't getting hurt. They were getting hurt, but they were just playing through it."
Craig noted that Sullivan's streak could lead all NFL centers across the league if former Texans center Chris Myers (128) remains unsigned when the season opens.
"Those streaks happen on their own," Sullivan told Craig. "Sometimes there are injuries that you just can't play through and it's actually better for the team if you do miss time. And better for you personally."
The Uniqueness of Charles Johnson
According to Pro Football Reference, there have been five players named Charles Johnson to log seasons in the NFL, including the one that's an emerging playmaker at receiver for the Vikings. Johnson arrived at training camp in a smart car, and ESPN.com's Ben Goessling noted that Johnson has used different modes of transportation since arriving and Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Instead of the mountain bikes available to all players, Johnson borrowed a fixed gear bicycle from a member of the Vikings staff and has been seen scooting around campus on a mini-motorcycle.
Johnson's winding path to Minnesota, where he landed last season, took a circuitous, five-state route, but Goessling wrote Johnson is comfortable with his individual differences.
*And yet here Johnson is -- with dyed blond hair, nose ring and painted toenails -- poised for a breakout season with the Vikings and not at all concerned with what you think of him. *
"I like to tell people, 'It's OK to be different. You don't have to be like everybody else,' " he said. "What they think is cool doesn't make it cool. I pride myself on being different. Being like everybody else, you're only going to get overshadowed."
Click here for the full story on Johnson, who had 31 catches for 475 yards and two touchdowns last season.
1500ESPN.com's Andrew Krammer took a look at 26-year-old rookie Leon Mackey.
A fantasy football preview* *from Sports Illustrated's Michael Beller.