Player Spotlight: Deep Dive On Vikings Great, John Randle

September 9, 2022
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John Randle was undoubtedly one of the greatest pass-rushers of his generation, one of the best trash-talkers of his generation, and is in the conversation for the best undrafted player of all-time. We continue our “Player Spotlight” Series this time with a Hall-of-Famer and one of my absolute favorite former Vikings.

Unorthodox Path To The NFL

The Mumford, Texas native, along with his older brother Ervin, had a long winding road to the League. John Randle began his collegiate career at Trinity Valley Community College before transferring to Texas A&M University-Kingsville, a Division-II football school. As is not uncommon for Division-II athletes, Randle went undrafted; but that wasn’t the only thing he needed to overcome in order to make an NFL roster.

Listed at 6’1″ and just 244 pounds as a defensive tackle, he had trouble even getting invites to camp. He was turned away after a try-out with the Buccaneers, for whom his brother played at the time, before the Minnesota Vikings picked him up. The team’s condition for rostering Randle was that he report for training camp at over 250 pounds.

The rest is history. Continuing his work to put on weight throughout his early years, John Randle spent most of his career playing closer to 280 pounds – and without sacrificing much speed.

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Bursting Onto The Scene

Once a member of the Vikings, Randle let his game do the talki- well actually he did the talking; but his game spoke for itself as he earned more and more opportunities. He posted nine and a half sacks and forced two fumbles in his second season before beginning a stretch that defined his Hall of Fame career.

Randle posted double-digit sacks for eight straight seasons from 1992-1999, forcing a whopping 22 fumbles over that span. Over this stretch, he made six Pro Bowl appearances, earned six AP 1st Team All-Pro nods, and even finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting in 1998 behind only someone named *squints* Reggie White.

John Randle, The Viking

In 11 seasons with the Vikings, John Randle contributed to a competitive culture and buoyed a sometimes less-than-stellar defense to the surface of contention. Tenacious on the field, and never short of motivation, he carved out a career for himself where it did not seem like there was one.

The “undersized” defensive tackle accrued 114 sacks in the horned helmet and the Vikings missed the playoffs just three times during his tenure.

After finishing his career with three seasons in Seattle and one more Pro Bowl, Randle still bleeds purple.

You can see him on Twitter, donning Vikings gear, advertising Vikings-related products or talking Vikings football. Still active with the organization at time, he was even a part of unveiling the 2022 schedule this year, to the thorough enjoyment of real fans.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010, and a shoe-in selection for the Vikings Ring of Honor in 2008, John Randle has all the hardware to certify him as one of the greatest defensive players of all-time.