Vikings TE Jim Kleinsasser was one of two former University of North Dakota standouts who were inducted into the North Dakota Sports Hall of Fame. Kleinsasser and DeWayne "Dewey" King received the Cliff Cushman Award as they were inducted into the NDSHF at a banquet last Saturday at the Gladstone Inn & Suites in Jamestown, N.D.
Kleinsasser, a Carrington, N.D., native, attended UND from 1995-98, leaving the school as one of the most decorated football student-athletes in history. The tight end ranked in the top 10 in receiving yards and touchdowns at the end of his career. He was a three-time All-North Central Conference selection, and earned All-American honors in 1997 and 1998. Kleinsasser also played basketball his freshman (1995-96) season.
Kleinsasser was considered one of the top tight ends in the country, and played in the Senior Bowl that season before being drafted in the second round (44th overall) by the Vikings.
A Carrington, N.D. native, Kleinsasser enters his tenth season in the NFL. Only Steve Jordan has started more games at tight end for the Vikings. He is the only remaining Viking from his 1999 NFL Draft class that included Daunte Culpepper and Dimitrius Underwood in the first round.
Kleinsasser is optimistic about the team's chances this coming season: "We've had some good teams in Minnesota," Kleinsasser told the Jamestown Sun. "But this team has a ton of talent. The big thing is we have the right type of guys - good teammates, guys who are willing to put the work in, sacrifice for the team. That's huge, that cohesiveness and playing well together."