Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Vikings to Add Blair to Ring of Honor this Season

The Minnesota Vikings–currently preparing to do battle with the tough Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions in the NFC North this season–have plenty of question marks and issues to handle during camp.

Can Christian Ponder carry the heavy load in 2012? Will Adrian Peterson recover from his torn ACL and return to his 2009 All Pro form? Will Percy Harvin finally live up to his expectations and break out as a No. 1 receiver threat? Can Jared Allen continue to slow down the likes of Rodgers, Cutler and Stafford?

Clearly, Minnesota has a lot on its plate in the dog days of summer.

That's why it's so refreshing to hear some positive news out of Minnesota. No, it may not have to do with how the 2012 campaign will unfold, but at least former outside linebacker Matt Blair will have something to look forward to.
On Monday the Vikes announced that during halftime of the October 25 matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Blair, now 61 years of age, will be inducted into the franchise's Ring of Honor.

Blair played all 12 of his professional seasons at outside linebacker for the Vikings from 1974-1985. The speedy Blair, a second round pick out of Iowa State (51st overall in '74 draft), started 130 games and was selected to six straight Pro Bowls in addition to one All Pro team.

Though they were not regarded as an official stat at the time of his career, he finished his 12 seasons with the 1,452 tackles, still ranking as second-most in franchise history.

As a vital part of the "Purple People Eaters" defense in the mid-70s, Blair appeared in two Super Bowls, though they were both losses (to the Steelers and Raiders). Blair's versatility led him to franchise records such as most blocked kicks (20) and most sacks (23) and interceptions (16) by a linebacker.

The stingy defense of the Purple People Eaters was a total team unit, but Blair may have had the most decorated career out of any of the linebackers that have ever put on a Minnesota uniform, let alone the 1970s Vikings.

He will be the 20th former player, coach, executive, etc. to be inducted into the Ring of Honor for Minnesota, and maybe one day he'll get a call from the Hall. He'll have to be in consideration to be selected as a senior member, but at least he'd finally get his shot at Pro Football immortality in Canton.

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