Former Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff stood at the podium as his presenter and former teammate, Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton, delivered his long-time friend’s acceptance speech.
Tingelhoff’s health issues, which include memory loss, coupled with the exhaustion of a busy week in Canton, led Tingelhoff’s family to decide against having Mick read even a brief speech.
“Mick’s a man of little words, but a lot of action,” Tarkenton said while speaking for only 1 minute, 14 seconds. “He’s so proud to be in this class of 2015. He waited 37 years to get to the Hall of Fame.”
At that point, Tarkenton choked up and started to cry. The crowd gave them a standing ovation that lasted about 25 seconds.
“He wanted me to tell all of his teammates who are here and thank them for being here. Our great coach and fellow Hall of Famer Bud Grant. All the Viking fans who came from all over the country. And all the rest of you fans, and even you Steeler fans who beat us in that Super Bowl. Thank you.”
Tingelhoff then waved to the crowd before he and Tarkenton walked off.
In his 32nd year of eligibility, Tingelhoff was enshrined alongside seven classmates inside Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium next door to the Hall of Fame. Of the 295 Hall of Famers in the NFL’s 95-year history, Tingelhoff is the ninth center, 16th undrafted free agent and 13th player who spent the majority of his career as a Viking.