Doleman joins Vikings’ Ring of Honor

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 28, 2011 - 11:38 PM

Former Vikings defensive end Chris Doleman

Photo: David Brewster, Star Tribune

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Being named to the Vikings Ring of Honor -- something that will happen for Chris Doleman this season -- is the most important thing, he said.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame? He's not holding his breath.

Doleman will be inducted into the Vikings' elite group at halftime of the Packers-Vikings game Oct. 23.

"This is the highest honor you can get being a Minnesota Viking," said Doleman, who had 150 1/2 career sacks, fourth-best in NFL history.

Doleman was the team's first-round pick (fourth overall) in 1985 out of Pittsburgh and switched from linebacker to defensive end for his third season. In 1989, he had 21 sacks -- third-best all-time -- as the Vikings amassed 71, second-highest in league history. The six-time Pro Bowl selection also played for Atlanta and San Francisco before ending his career back in Minnesota in 1999.

"Rushing the passer wasn't that hard," said Doleman, who addressed the Vikings team after practice Wednesday. "When I got a chance to do that, it was a green light for me. I can easily do that, get past this guy to get to that guy. I can do that."

Doleman said his biggest memories revolve around the players he played with and practiced against, such players as Keith Millard, Gary Zimmerman, Randall McDaniel, John Randle and Henry Thomas. "We went out and we played hard, loved hard, fought hard together," Doleman said.

But what about the Hall of Fame? He said his faith and being a father was more important.

"It's not going to define who I am," said Doleman, who lives in Atlanta and runs a business that helps nonprofits raise money through on-line auctions. He has been a finalist for the Hall of Fame the past two years. "It's not the end-all or be-all. If it happens, it happens. But I'm not going to sit up there and hold my breath.

"I'm still waiting. If they call me, and I'm alive? Maybe I'll accept it. Maybe I won't. It might be, 'You should have called me 50 years earlier.' My point is, it's not going to define who I am."

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