Dan Wiederer began covering the Vikings in 2011, enthusiastically delivering insight on the team across the Star Tribune's print and digital products. Prior to joining the Access Vikings team, he spent seven seasons covering ACC basketball at The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer. He also covered the Chicago Bears in 2003 and 2004. Follow him on Twitter @StribDW.
Mark Craig has covered football and the NFL the past 20 years, including the Browns from 1991-95 and the Vikings and the NFL since 2003. Since 2008, Craig has served as one of the 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. He can be followed on Twitter at @markcraignfl.
Four Vikings -- Randall McDaniel, John Randle, Chris Doleman and Cris Carter -- have been selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the past five years. There are no other eligible modern-era Vikings beating on the door to the Canton shrine at this time, but that doesn't mean there won't be yet another Viking to reach the Hall a year from now.
Former Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff will be strongly considered by the Hall's nine-member Seniors Committee later this year. Tingelhoff's resume -- six Pro Bowls, five first-team All-Pro honors, four Super Bowls and 240 consecutive games from start to finish in a 17-year career (1962-78) -- warrants further consideration by the Seniors Committee, which has discussed him before. Also helping Tingelhoff's case is the fact the Vikings are one of only two teams that haven't had a player chosen by the Seniors Committee and presented for a vote by the Hall's full 46-member selection committee.
On June 1, the Seniors Committee will receive its preliminary list of players whose careers were completed at least 25 years earlier. That list will be reduced to 15 finalists by a mail vote of the members of the Seniors Committee.
Five members of the Seniors Committee will then meet with two Hall of Fame consultants -- players who were contemporaries of the finalists -- to select the two Seniors Committee nominees. Those two players will then be discussed by and voted on by the full selection committee the Saturday before Super Bowl XLVIII. It takes 80 percent of the full selection committee's vote to be selected to the Hall of Fame.
Cris Carter is one of 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The committee, which includes Mark Craig of the Star Tribune, meets Saturday in New Orleans. The inductees will be announced around 5 p.m. Saturday.
The committee can induct no more than five modern-era players from a pretty impressive list. There are also two senior candidates, and the 46-member selection committee votes thumbs up or thumbs down on those two. (Important to remember: the senior candidates do not compete with the modern candidates. In years past, people have been critical of senior candidates getting in "ahead" of players like Carter, but they are in two separate categories. A senior player being selected does not take the spot of a modern era candidate.)
What do you think about Carter's chances? Here is the list of finalists and, as always, it's pretty impressive.
MODERN ERA CANDIDATES
Larry Allen: Guard for the Cowboys (1994-2005) and 49ers (2006-07). First team All-Pro seven consecutive seasons. Played every offensive line position except center. On NFL all-decade team of the 1990s and 2000s. Super Bowl XXX champion.
Jerome Bettis: Running back for the Rams (1993-95) and Steelers (1996-2005). Rookie of the Year in 1993 when he was second in the league in rushing. Led the Steelers in rushing eight seasons. Fifth in career rushing yards (13,662) when he retired. Two-time All-Pro, six-time Pro Bowler.
Tim Brown: Receiver and return man for the Raiders (1988-2003) and Bucs (2004). Led NFL in receptions in 1997. When he retired, his 14,934 receiving yards were second in NFL history, 1,094 catches were third and 100 TD catches were tied for third. Had four return TDs. Nine-time Pro Bowler.
Cris Carter: Receiver for the Eagles (1987-89), Vikings (1990-2001) and Dolphins (2002). Had more than 1,000 receiving yards in eight consecutive seasons. Set then-NFL record with 122 catches in 1994. Ranked second in receptions (1,101) and receiving TDs (130) when he retired. Eight-time Pro Bowler.
Edward DeBartolo Jr: Owner, 49ers (1977-2000). From 1981-98 team averaged 13 victories per season. Won 13 division titles and won five Super Bowls. Served on realignment and expansion committees.
Kevin Greene: Linebacker/defensive end for Rams (1985-92), Steelers (1993-95), 49ers (1997), Panthers (1996, 1998-99). First-team All-Pro with three different teams. His 160 sacks were third in NFL history when he retired. Had 26 fumble recoveries and five interceptions.
Charles Haley: Defensive end/linebacker for 49ers (1986-91, 1999) and Cowboys (1992-96). Only player in NFL history to be on five Super Bowl champions. Had 100 career sacks. Two-time NFC defensive player of the year. All-Pro at both positions.
Art Modell: Owner, Browns (1961-95) and Ravens (1996-2011). Won NFL championship in 1964 and Super Bowl XXXV. NFL president during NFL-AFL merger. Integral in getting NFL television deals. Died last September at age 87.
Jonathan Ogden: Offensive tackle for Ravens (1996-2007). Super Bowl XXXV champion. All-Pro six times, made Pro Bowl 11 times. Dominant left tackle in run-blocking and pass protection for 177 games.
Bill Parcells: Coach for Giants (1983-90), Patriots (1993-96), Jets (1997-99) and Cowboys (2003-06). Regular season record was 172-130-1, postseason was 11-8. Won Super Bowl XXV with Giants, took Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI. Two-time NFL coach of the year.
Andre Reed: Receiver for Bills (1985-99) and Redskins (2000). His 951 catches were third in NFL history when he retired. Seven-time Pro Bowl player, had 85 catches for 1,229 yards in postseason. Helped Bills to four Super Bowls, but they lost all four.
Warren Sapp: Defensive tackle for Bucs (1995-2003) and Raiders (2004-07). Despite playing on interior line, had 96.5 career sacks. 1999 NFL defensive player of the year. Won Super Bowl XXXVII. First-team All-Pro from 1999-2002, made seven Pro Bowls.
Will Shields: Guard for Chiefs (1993-2006). Never missed a game in 14 seasons. Chiefs were in playoffs six times during his career. Chosen for 12 consecutive Pro Bowls, was first-team All-Pro three teams and second team four times.
Michael Strahan: Defensive ends for Giants (1993-2007). Had 141.5 sacks in 15 seasons. Was first-team All-Pro five times. Set single-season sack record (22.5 in 2001). Won Super Bowl XLII in his final game.
Aeneas Williams: Defensive back for Cardinals (1991-2000) and Rams (2001-04). Played cornerback for 12 seasons and safety for two. Made Pro Bowl at both positions, eight times overall. Had 55 interceptions, 807 yards and nine touchdowns.
Curley Culp: Senior candidate. Defensive tackle for Chiefs (1968-74), Oilers (1974-80) and Lions (1980-81). Won Super Bowl IV. NFL defensive player of the year in 1975. Six-time Pro Bowler.
Dave Robinson: Senior candidate. Linebacker for Packers (1963-72) and Redskins (1973-74). Won three consecutive NFL championships (1965-67) and two Super Bowls. Had 27 interceptions, was chosen for three Pro Bowls.
NEW ORLEANS -- Is Randy Moss the greatest receiver in NFL history?
Probably not, but he's close. And he's definitely the only one brave enough to sit in a 49ers jersey at Super Bowl media day and proclaim that he is.
"I really do think I'm the greatest receiver to ever play this game," he said Tuesday during media day.
Somewhere, Jerry Rice had to be wondering if Moss realizes he's more likely to rank No. 2 all-time on his own current TEAM.
Rice works as an ESPN analyst (who doesn't?). So he had this to say: "I let my career speak for itself."
This is new ground for Rice, although this isn't the first time Moss has said he thinks he's the best receiver to play the game. Since the late 80s, it's been pretty much universally accepted that Rice is the best receiver in NFL history.
Moss wasn't disrespectful to Rice. He was engaging, honest and entertaining while answering more than 70 questions during the one-hour interview period.
"I like to keep it real," Moss said.
That included his reasoning for thinking he's had a bigger impact on the game than Rice. Moss is generally credited for the evolution of the two-deep safety alignment that's been termed the "Tampa 2."
"I think back to when Jerry was playing -- and no disrespect to Jerry Rice because he's arguably the greatest -- but for me to revolutionize the game, that's what I really put my hat on," Moss said.
I asked Hall of Fame receiver James Lofton, now a member of the media, how Moss will be remembered. He said Moss was the best "deep" threat in NFL history, but puts him in his top five in no particular order, other than somewhere behind Rice.
The other five are former Packer Don Hutson, former Colt Raymond Berry and former Charger Lance Alworth.
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