The Vikings defense during the iconic Purple People Eaters era will be difficult to ever replicate.
The revered linemen, however – Alan Page, Carl Eller, Jim Marshall, Gary Larsen and Doug Sutherland – like what they've seen from Minnesota's defense to start the 2016 season.
The five were present for the Vikings home opener against the Packers. Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press talked to the alumni about the current defense and asked if they believe the 2016 team could reach the Purple People Eaters caliber.
"They're off to a tremendous start," Page told Tomasson. "(Hall of Fame coach) Bud Grant used to say that offense sells tickets and defense wins championships. They've been able to get off to a phenomenal start (that) I don't think anyone would have anticipated after the injuries they've had on offense."
Page said he likes what he's seen so far and hopes Minnesota's defense can continue to perform the way it has to start the season.
Eller said matching the play of the storied defensive line would be "a tremendous task."
"I'm not saying they can't, but it would be great if they did," Eller told Tomasson. "That's a good goal for them to shoot for. It's a proud history. They're definitely on a mission, and that's great."
Everson Griffen respected by Giants
As the Giants prepare to face the Vikings tonight for the second time in as many seasons, one player on Minnesota's defense specifically catches their eye: Everson Griffen.
ESPN's Jordan Raanan wrote about the Giants' respect for Griffen. The defensive end leads the team with 4.0 sacks through three games and is the reigning NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
[Griffen] may be underrated around the nation, but not inside the Giants locker room. They know what kind of player they're about to face in a raucous atmosphere at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Raanan said that Griffen will match up primarily against Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, but added that the second-year pro is likely to receive help.
*It's not just Flowers who will be tested. The Giants' entire offensive line faces a massive challenge on Monday night. *
If Griffen wasn't playing in Minnesota, you'd probably know more about him, one Giants player suggested. He wouldn't fly under the radar as just another good player on a dominant Vikings defense.
New York Daily News: Giants will have their hands full
According to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, the Giants will have their hands full facing the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium tonight.
While both teams have experienced a number of injuries thus far, Leonard emphasized the Giants slim secondary in facing Sam Bradford. Leonard said he expects Kyle Rudolph to be a big weapon for Bradford on offense.
Leonard also said that the Giants have struggled with penalties and committing turnovers; conversely, Minnesota's defense has created turnovers for its opponents.
The Giants (2-1) have to play their best game of the season Monday night to win. They have given themselves a chance to win in each of their first three games, which have been decided by a total of six points.
But Minnesota (3-0) is the baddest team they have faced yet. Forget the noise level in the new stadium. Even if they were playing this game in a vacant public park, beating the Vikings would be a tall task.
Chad Greenway signing autographs for scholarship fund
The Iowa Hawkeyes will be in town for the Gophers-Hawkeyes game this weekend, and Chad Greenway will join fellow Iowa alum Chuck Long in signing autographs at Bar 508 in Minneapolis on Friday night from 5 to 7 p.m.
Admission is $10, and all proceeds will benefit the Brett Greenwood Scholarship fund. Greenwood was a standout safety at Iowa. In 2011, he collapsed during a routine workout and suffered an anoxic brain injury caused by heart arrhythmia. The scholarship will be presented annually to an Iowa student-athlete who best exhibits the determination and strong will displayed by Greenwood