Player Spotlight Three: Leroy Hoard

September 15, 2022
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“If you need one yard, I’ll give you three. If you need five yards, I’ll give you three.” One of the more memorable quotes from my childhood is this one, uttered by bruising running back Leroy Hoard. For our next player spotlight, I could have chosen one of the Vikings’ 9 Pro Bowl players from the near-Super Bowl season of 1998-99. Instead, I could not get this quote out of my head and felt like there’s never a wrong time to celebrate Leroy Hoard.

Don’t Forget Leroy Hoard Contributed In ’98

I was in fifth grade when the Vikings were amidst their storied 15-1 season. My naive football mind at the time saw nothing but deep throws from Randall Cunningham to Randy Moss. We had a star-studded roster with experienced players as well, from Randall McDaniel and Cris Carter on offense to John Randle and Ed McDaniel on defense. But for me, I always hearken back to the Thanksgiving Day game against the Cowboys. Randy Moss had three catches, three touchdowns, and gained 163 yards. Cris Carter added 135 receiving yards, and our offense torched the Cowboys, leading us to a 46 – 36 victory.

But I am appalled at myself that I did not remember Leroy Hoard in this game. I mentioned at the onset of this article that his quote has stuck with me for years, but I guess I haven’t been able to place it for a while. Leroy Hoard had this 50-yard rumble on that fabled Thanksgiving Day, and John Madden is heard stating the quote. I don’t know if this is the first I’d heard it, but regardless, it remains one of my favorite Vikings memories. Hoard also tallied a 12 yard touchdown rush in that game, and he only had five total carries! Hoard finished the season with 479 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns, as the RB to get the tough yards and spell Robert Smith.

https://www.pntrac.com/t/4-412448-279750-203365

Let The Highlights Back Him Up

Naturally, the above quote is what helps keep Leroy Hoard fresh in my mind. But it’s his style of running that should really be remembered. Further, the quote would not be nearly as great if Hoard didn’t actually have the capability of proving it time and time again. This article from Browns Nation gives a much more comprehensive look at Hoard’s career and highlights how he was known for his personality as well as his beastly running.

But there is really no better proof than watching him run yourself. If you haven’t done so recently, check out this video by Vike Fans. It is brilliantly titled, “Did Leroy Hoard lie to broadcasters?” And it shows the full skill set of Leroy Hoard, the runner. He had all of the power and tenacity you could hope for, and then you’d see him execute an extremely graceful spin move. He finished runs, always fought for more yardage, and even converted a 3rd & 37!

If You Need One Stat, I’ll Give You Three

  1. Leroy Hoard earned his only Pro Bowl nod in the 1994 season, when he played for the Cleveland Browns. He totaled just over 2200 rushing yards in six seasons with the Browns.
  2. He was named MVP of the 1989 Rose Bowl, in which he rushed for 142 yards and two scores.
  3. Leroy Hoard had 15 career receiving touchdowns. While not the most impressive stat in the world, it is still noteworthy to me. For a power-runner who was at times playing a lot of FB, I think he proved his athleticism and versatility in this regard as well.

I Need To Fact Check All Of My Childhood Memories

Ok, maybe that’s too lofty of a goal; but seriously, in researching Leroy Hoard I learned how scattered my young mind was. I remembered the quote, but not his contributions in 1998. I remember he was billed as a short-yardage specialist. While true, I completely forgot how many big runs he ripped off for the Vikings.

I guess my point is that I am feeling the need to spend hours on Youtube watching Vikings highlights from my childhood. I clearly need to refresh my memory, though I will probably avoid that one championship game from my fifth grade year; I’m in a good mood right now and I don’t want to ruin it. Regardless, hats off to Leroy Hoard! Even I didn’t remember him as well as I should have, he clearly made an impact in his few seasons as a Viking, and I am grateful.

Who else should we do a player spotlight on? Which Vikings’ players come to mind when you think of your youth and Vikings fandom? Let me know, @Jlime8 on Twitter! You can also follow The Daily Skol on Twitter, and be sure to keep up on all our Vikings content!

Last, make sure you check out our previous player spotlights on C.J. Ham and John Randle!