Is there anything better than Thanksgiving Day? Family, food and football. It doesn’t get much better than that.
In Minnesota the turkey day talk will certainly hover around the Vikings. Will they make the playoffs? What do you think of Christian Ponder? What did you think of that John Carlson signing?
While many of us will get a chance to enjoy the day with family and friends, have you ever thought about this: If you could have Thanksgiving dinner with any five Minnesota Vikings players or coaches, past or present, who would it be?
We all have favorites who immediately come to mind, but narrowing the list is tougher than it seems. What works for you may be completely different than another Viking fan. And that’s what’s great about the list, everyone has their own reasons for each selection. That being said, here are five Vikings I’d like at my Thanksgiving Day dinner and why I’d want them to join me:
5. Gary Anderson
A kicker or punter invited to a Thanksgiving Day dinner? And not named Chris Kluwe? Anderson had the greatest NFL season ever by a kicker in 1998 when he made all 39 field goal attempts and all 67 extra point attempts. But it was the one he missed – the 38-yarder late in the 1999 NFC Championship game loss to the Atlanta Falcons – that Vikings fans will never forget. Why invite him? To let him know finally, I can forgive him. I think.
4. Adrian Peterson
When all is said and done the current Viking and leagues leading rusher could rank among the all-time NFL greats. He also ranks as one of the current good guys in the sport. Having him around the Thanksgiving Day dinner table would provide some levity among this group – and a chance for everyone in attendance to see just how firm that famous handshake really is.
3. Jerry Ball
Here’s a fact most NFL fans will be surprised to hear: Jerry Ball went to Southern Methodist University in 1983 – to play fullback. At the time he was 6-1, 232 pounds. He grew, and grew and grew, to a menacing 6-1, 330 pound nose tackle who played 13 NFL seasons, including 1997-1999 with the Vikings. Ball has an engaging personality – and a big appetite, a perfect recipe for Thanksgiving.
2. Tommy Kramer
Two-minute Tommy. Touchdown Tommy – Kramer had his share of nicknames. And some may even come in the forms of expletives from Vikings fans frustrated at his play during his career with the Vikings from 1977-1989. But Kramer could play pretty good at times and was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 1986 season. But it’s not the on-field accomplishments that would make Kramer the perfect guest. Kramer was known to have a good time off the field – too good according to some. But you can never have too good of a time at Thanksgiving and Kramer would definitely keep the party going.
1. Jerry Burns
Burns coached the Vikings to a 52-43 record from 1986-1991, but he was known more for his legendary expletive-laden press conferences. Called Uncle Burnsy by fans, everyone needs a character like Burns at Thanksgiving Dinner – just make sure there are no children around when he gets going.
There are hundreds of players to choose from and everyone has a different person and reason why they would pick their five. Who are your five and why?
Matt Krumrie is a lifelong Minnesota Vikings fan who has suffered through four NFC championship game losses, but still holds out hope that one day the Vikings will finally, somehow, make and win the Super Bowl.