Today, at approximately 6:00 PM Central time, the National Football League will formally announce it's Hall of Fame Class of 2011. Two players whose names are synonymous with Minnesota Vikings football are among the 17 finalists. . .one of whom should have been in a couple of years ago, and another who has reached this stage of the voting for the first time.
When we talk about players that should already be in, you know we have to be referring to wide receiver Cris Carter. This is Carter's fourth chance at enshrinement in Canton, and the fact that he's not already in the Hall of Fame is regarded by some. . .me, in particular. . .as a joke. When Carter retired from football, he had more receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns than any receiver in NFL history not named Jerry Rice, all while never really playing with an elite quarterback. He's still third in NFL history in receptions, eighth in receiving yardage, and fourth in receiving touchdowns, despite having been out of the league for nearly a decade. He's easily the top wide receiver candidate in this year's class, and this should be the year that he gets in. . .although he should have gotten in on the first ballot and didn't, so I suppose anything is possible.
The other Viking with a chance at immortality today is defensive end Chris Doleman. Doleman, selected by the Vikings out of the University of Pittsburgh with the fourth overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft, is one of the NFL's all-time great pass rushers. His 150.5 career sacks was second in NFL history when he retired and, despite being out of the league since 1999, he still ranks fourth all-time on that list behind only Bruce Smith, Reggie White, and Kevin Greene. He had 21 sacks in 1989, which is the third-most in a season all-time. The Vikings as a team had 71 sacks that year, which ranks as the second-most for a team in a season in NFL history (the 1984 Chicago Bears had 72). His chances to get in, at first glance, don't look to be as good as Carter's. . .then again, many people said that about John Randle last season, too.
Again, the official announcement will take place at 6:00 PM Central time on the NFL Network, though leaks will surely happen before that.