Alan Page and Carl Eller Compare Current Vikings’ Defense to Purple People Eaters

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Entering Week 17, the Vikings lead the NFL in both scoring and total defense. The last time MN finished a season atop both of those categories was 1970.

During the late 1960’s and throughout the 70’s, Minnesota was spearheaded by the notorious Purple People Eaters. Two LEGENDS from that defensive front, Alan Page and Carl Eller, recently compared their stout Viking defenses to today’s version.

If it’s anything #Skol related from prior to 1998, I’m pretty uneducated. That’s a flaw I’m working on eliminating. However, even novice Vikings historians like myself, are familiar with the Purple People Eaters.

It doesn’t take a football savant to realize how impressive it is to reach four Super Bowls in eight years. Even though they didn’t win any, the thought of even appearing in the big game is goose-bump worthy, for a fan who has two decades of tenure, like myself.

Alan Page and Carl Eller are both enshrined in Canton. Here is what the two Hall of Famers said when likening Minnesota’s 2017 defense to theirs:

Alan Page on leading the league in both scoring and total defense (Pioneer Press):

“I think it puts them in the same category [as the Purple People Eaters]. “That’s just an amazing accomplishment.”

“When you have a defensive team that does that well, good things happen, and a lot of success that the team has had this year is in large measure due to that.”

“That’s a pretty exciting prospect [playing in this year’s Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium]. I think of what it would mean in the context of this community and what it would mean for the state and for [the Twin Cities]. It would be a great thing. … The defense is doing great, but the whole team is doing great.”

Page (72 years old) played for Minnesota from 1967-78. He was a 9x Pro Bowler and won NFL MVP in 1971, before going on to be a Supreme Court Justice

Carl Eller on the same subject (Pioneer Press):

“I think they compare well with the Purple People Eaters. It’s quite an achievement [being the top-ranked defense]. Teams in the past have had a really hard time living up to the Purple People Eater legends, and that’s been very difficult, and they’re the best ones to really do that. So my hat’s off to them.”

Eller (75 years old) played for Minnesota from 1964-78. He was a 6x Pro Bowler and 5x All Pro.

Is that the proverbial passing of the torch? It feels like it. A prime example of real recognizing real.

Something similar to this will probably happen when Jimmy Garaoppolo takes over for Tom Brady in New England or possibly Kevin Garnett’s hand-off to KAT in a handful of years.

In closing, I love the current Vikings but they’re not the Purple People Eaters. Two (should be three) out of the four members are HOF. We’re not to the point of putting any members of this year’s defense in a Gold Jacket conversation.

Well, not yet…. But, we’ve got some time.





Johnny Minnesota @TheJohnnyMN
Minnesota Sports Fan MinnesotaSportsFan.com

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