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Patrick Reusse wrote a nice column about two of my childhood sports heros, Fran Tarkenton and Chuck Foreman.
The reason for the column, of course, is that Foreman will be inducted into the Vikings’ Ring of Honor today. The Ring of Honor is basically the Vikings’ own Hall of Fame.
Foreman came out of college as a wide receiver and a cornerback. His receiving skills would be on display his entire career because Tarkenton threw to him often. The Vikings would get him out in the flat, or underneath, or in the soft spots of zone coverage to get him in one-on-one situations, where he was virtually unstoppable. They even sent him deep like a wide receiver.
For three years during the mid-seventies, Foreman was the best running back in the NFL. In 1975, Foreman led the NFC in receptions (73), touchdowns (22!), and came in second to Jim Otis in rushing yards with 1,070, six yards short of the Triple Crown.
During the last game, at Buffalo, a fan threw a snowball at Foreman that hit him in the eye and he had to be pulled from the game as a result because he couldn’t see. That fan probably cost Foreman the rushing title that year.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Foreman recently and not solely because of his pending induction. I’ve been thinking about him because Adrian Peterson reminds me a lot of Foreman. Peterson appears to have the same combination of skills and attributes that Foreman had: Speed and quickness, but also the power to run over people and the moves to make people miss coupled with good hands.