Jim Marshall’s confounding exclusion from the Hall of Fame is a source of frustration for Minnesota Vikings fans. And Marshall’s former teammate — a Hall of Famer himself — Fran Tarkenton believes his purple running mate should be granted entry into the prestigious club.
Marshall and Tarkenton were teammates in Minnesota for 13 seasons (1961-1966, 1972-1978).
Tarkenton tweeted on Tuesday, “Jim Marshall deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. He’s more deserving than any other Vikings player to be in there. He never missed a game in 19 years! He never missed a practice or had a down day! A truly incredible player.”
Indeed, Marshall played in 282 career games, the most by a defensive lineman in NFL history. That alone — even if Marshall was a mid-tier performer — should merit Hall of Fame kudos. But Marshall wasn’t a “mid-tier” performer. His resume is as follows:
- Most Games Played by a Defensive Lineman in NFL History
- 270 Consecutive Starts (Second-most in NFL History)
- 130.5 Sacks (22nd in NFL History)
- 3-Time All-Pro
- 2x-Time Pro Bowl
- NFL Champion (1969)
- Collegiate National Champion (1957, Ohio State)
- 4 Super Bowl Appearances
- Most Consecutive Games Played With One Team
- Most Consecutive Starts by a Defensive Lineman
In July, Marshall was again considered for the Hall of Fame, only to get mind-bogglingly denied. Instead, the NFL tabbed these 12 men as finalists:
Marshall’s former coach, Bud Grant, is equally confused as Tarkenton about the ongoing denial. Grant told the Star Tribune in January, “If you put out a magazine on the 50 greatest Vikings, Jim Marshall would be on the cover. He is the greatest Viking of all time, and not just because he played all the time, but how he played. On Tuesday, he might have an ankle so swollen you were surprised he was able to walk, and on Sunday, he would play, and play well.”
Grant also uplifted the gridiron inequity of Marshall’s HOF omission, “I would say it’s an injustice that Marshall’s not in the Hall of Fame, but it goes way beyond that.”
Marshall’s resume is Hall of Fame-worthy, especially if longevity is embraced, but it is unclear if he’ll ever receive the nod from Canton. Tarkenton and Grant’s endorsements haven’t worked so far.
He’ll turn 85 in December.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).