Three longtime Vikings are among the list of finalists – Cris Carter, John Randle and Randall McDaniel – and a case could be made for all three for induction. There was something of a furor among analysts last year that Carter, who ranks second to Jerry Rice in just about every receiving category, was kept out of the Hall while veteran Art Monk finally got in. Because of that backlash from last year, Carter seems like a near lock to be inducted this time around.
McDaniel has been a curious case. He still holds the record for most Pro Bowl starts and was about as dominant a guard as there was during his era. The Hall of Fame typically takes at least one O-lineman per year and some believe McDaniel simply had to wait his turn behind others who had been finalists before. There is a decent possibility that, after having to wait like Carter, McDaniels' time might arrive this time around.
Randle is clearly the longest shot of the three to make it this year, but his inclusion as a finalist in his first year of eligibility is a strong indicator that, even if he doesn't get in immediately, there is a good chance he will be inducted at some point.
Randle was one of just four first-year-eligible players to make the final cut of 15 potential Hall of Fame members – joining DE Bruce Smith, CB Rod Woodson and TE Shannon Sharpe. The initial list of 133 potential inductees was reduced to 25 in November and pared to 15 earlier this month.
The announcement of who is in and who has to wait will be made Saturday. Although the Vikings players and coaches won't be in Tampa to play in the Super Bowl, it seems clear that there will be a Vikings presence as part of the proceedings, as at least one of their former stars gets the call to the Hall.